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"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders


Ed note: After a summer filled with cruising along the Mediterranean and conducting final preparations for their big voyage, Scott and Mary Flanders left September 16th, 2006 for the Canary Islands - the first stop in their great adventure taking them from Gibraltar to New Zealand by way of Cape Horn. After successfully traversing the Horn, the Flanders fell in love with the pristine cruising grounds of the "deep south" and decided to winter in Chile, thus postponing their arrival into New Zealand by a year, but they reached their goal destination in October 2008. Now plans call for exploring the lands of New Zealand and Australia. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised of their journey with weekly log reports.


November 26, 2006

Well. mi amigos, let us give you first impressions of Egret's arrival in Mar Del Plata, Argentina. The dredge was gone, the standing waves left with the northerly winds then we were met by a group of friendly sea lions. One thing our somewhat dated cruising guide was very correct about was the little maneuvering room in the tiny five acre basin housing four yacht clubs. Fortunately there was no wind or current so Egret wandered around with no one answering the radio, sooooo we squeezed in between two poles bow first to the dock. We knew we were in Yacht Club Argentino from the yellow stripes on the dock mentioned in the guide. With help from our new German neighbors we were secure. Soon followed a parade of friendly cruisers and Argentinians all looking at this strange BIG boat. We have never felt Egret was big in fact she is quite small compared to the Ft. Lauderdale boats we are used to. In this marina she towers.

This small group of docks is the home of REAL sailors. The Argentinians themselves in their small day sailors sail through the swing bridge, around the maze of docks, round up, drop the sail and coast into their slip. Half of the boats don't have an engine. Pretty to watch. The southbound boats are the REAL DEAL. All have heavy duty everything, heater chimneys, self steering vanes and are from everywhere EXCEPT the US. The Yacht Club flies flags of every country represented in the marina. The US flag near the top of the masthead represents Egret, something we are proud of. Behind and next to Egret are Swedes, we had Germans over last night for cocktails and dinner, Aussies, Kiwis, Spaniards, French, Danes, etc. All are going south to Chile. All are waiting for the wind to swing to the north more consistently.

A couple left yesterday in their small sailboat heading for South Georgia Island. Incredible!!! S. Georgia is where Ernest Shackleton is buried near an old whaling station located midway between the tip of South America and below Africa at about 50 degrees south. To get there you have to sail SW then pick up the 'screaming 50's' westerlies where full gales roar through every so many hours chasing themselves around the Southern Ocean. Once on that course there is NO turning back. You must either land in South Africa or Australia. Wild!!

The Argentine Peso was tied to the US dollar for years but since their financial troubled times it is now at 3.05-$. Bill Gates move over. Everything is a deal. Yesterday we bought fleece lined waterproof pants, a heavy fleece pull over and heavy rabbit hair socks for a song. We have fleece gloves and a pair of waterproof pants coming for Mary on Monday. This is for hiking in the mountains of the Chilean Canals. We will replace Egret's rock hard dock lines here as well. Unfortunately the lady in the store told us not to go out at night in this part of the city. There is a huge fleet of offshore fishing boats up to 300' docked here with their crews. Apparently the crews like to mix it up at night drinking and so forth.

Across from Egret is a number of small day fishing boats with paying guests that bottom fish close by. When they return they are met by a couple of begging sea lions cruising along behind looking for scraps. Pretty cool for these Floridians and a Coloradoan.

Today, Sunday, is boat chores day. Tomorrow we will finish the customs cha cha then go into the main town to look around. Master Angler Steve was there yesterday returning with bags of 'stuff' he bought for presents.

After a brief intermission for breakfast we're back to sign off. After staring out the pilothouse windows as we write this then enjoying the last of our jungle fruit from Brazil, toasted bread from Argentina, apricot and cherry jelly from Turkey and Starbucks French roast from the US. As my aunt used to say, "sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if this is real". The Egret crew is very, very lucky. Think about this mi amigos. This is not an exclusive club. It is open to all. Ciao.

November 24, 2006

Position: S38 02.44 W57 32.28 (at the berth in Yacht Club Argentino) nm traveled 158.4, Average speed 6.2 knots, NM traveled from Gibraltar 5602.0

Wow!!!! This place is great. Will give a report in time. We ate lunch at the Yacht Club today for lunch. Poached mussles in a cream sauce, calamari, fresh bread, beer, Steve had a huge steak, etc, 30 bucks with tip. My kind of deal! Two locals from the yacht club next door stopped by a second ago. Now we have to go fishing with them. Oh yes, breakfast before at their clubhouse. Life is very good for the Egret crew.

Well, mi amigos, today is arrival day in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, from our departure port of Florianopolis, Brazil. This leg is a 123 hour journey, about 5.12 days. It is just after sunrise with 28.49nm to go. Last evening we watched the front retreat giving the Egret crew a very calm ride in gentle seas. This morning the seas are slick with lazy 2-3' swells from the SW. The coffee carryometer is doing well. As we neared the coast both Mary and Steve on their watches were busy diverting around the local fishing boats on the banks.

Something we have been noticing for days is the brilliance of the sun. In this area of sweeping winds, very few people and no industry there is no haze. Just pure brilliance. For the first time in years both Mary and I were sunburned after a couple hours in the dinghy and visiting the bird sanctuary in the Brazilian offshore national park.

We have made our peace with the albatrosses. Perhaps from feeling guilty from their previous teasing the photographer last evening they put on a show cartwheeling around Egret in multiple pairs along with their jet black cousins. Mary and I watched their aerial display for several hours before dark. We have some great pictures to pass along. Master Angler Steve is making a quick trip to the States while Egret is in Mar Del Plata so he will bring the picture CD's earlier than expected. They will be on the website soon. Included will be the Salvador to Mar Del Plata pictures including the national park and Ilha Grande.

Mar Del Plata and a new adventure begins...more to follow. Today will end Egret's Daily Position Report until departure with occasional updates coming with shore side news.



November 23, 2006

Position: S36 34.87 W54 48.26 Course: 246 degrees M, Average speed: 5.9 knots at 1550 RPMs, Seas: 4-6' NNW, Apparent wind: 11.8 knots NNW, Nautical miles to go: 155.1, Distance traveled from Gibraltar: 5445.78

Tomorrow's daily position report will be sent after Egret's arrival in Mar Del Plata and secure in her berth. On the Google Earth tracking you will be able to zoom in using the slide bar to the left of the overhead picture to see exactly where Egret is berthed in one of the two yacht clubs. Amazing feature!

After writing the introduction to OMNI Bob's Wed (yesterday's) weather forecast and mentioning the building seas, the seas continued to build into quite high little mountains for two hours or so then stayed large but spaced out further and finally diminished into comfortable 4-6 footers. Last night was very comfortable as well. This morning (Thurs) exactly as predicted the wind and waves are clocking around to the northerly quadrants. At this time (0830GMT) the wind is from the NNE at 15.6 knots with building 3-5' waves. The ocean certainly has many different personalities. A good friend e-mailed and asked about the weather Egret had been thru and forecasted nasty weather. We would like to share with you an expanded version of the reply on a separate addendum to today's Daily Position Report. Please take the time to read the addendum as part of Egret's efforts to share with you the hard to find details of long distance cruising life.

A couple of days ago we mentioned Milt and Judy Baker's Yahoo website for next year's Atlantic crossing to the Med. Here is the website open to all. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MedBound2007/ The Egret crew can't recommend enough if you have a capable boat and have done your requisite miles to join this group. Mediterranean cruising is simply fantastic! The Med is one of the most beautiful, historic and simple areas to cruise in the world. During her three season, two-winter Med cruise Egret did not have her stabilizers turned on 60% of the time. The Atlantic crossing is the easiest ocean to cross with the 'connect the dots' (Bermuda, Azores, Gibraltar) itinerary. Take the time to read the information if not for next spring but for the future. Print every page and put them into your 'someday' file.




November 23, 2006

In reply to a NAR buddy's e-mail asking about the nasty seas Egret is forecast to drive through and has driven through recently, we will share with you an expanded version of our reply. First we would like to give you Egret's boating experience and lack of experience to give you a personal perspective.

The Egret crew are relative neophytes to long distance cruising. We owned fishing boats for a number of years spending many hours on the water BUT in short day trips. A few exceptions were Bahamas trips on long weekends. All of these hours DO count in your overall comfort on the water. As the early retirement and cruising bug was germinating - fueled by Cruising World, Ocean Navigator, Passagemaker and other magazines, we took the initiative and first big step buying a small Grand Banks for a real life test, not a theoretical arm chair exercise. Happy to say we passed that test with flying colors. The next big hurtle in Egret's case was to make the decision to sell everything and order what has become our home and transporter to our dream destinations. This small, heavily built white fiberglass little ship through our experiences of the past five years has shown her true colors. We thought we knew when we bought her, now after the miles we do know. So with absolute confidence in our safety learned during 4852.1 hours under way we will address the wind and wave issues.

In a single word comfort at sea is acclimation. Like any endeavor, whether it be a hobby, vocation, skill of any kind acclimation and comfort comes through DOING. Yesterday's large head seas Egret was reporting as sort of ho hum would ten years ago have our eyes out on stalks. No big deal these days. No big deal for you either after putting in the hours and miles. What IS important is knowing YOUR little ship will take care of you.

Here is another important point. When Egret reaches Mar Del Plata, Argentina, tomorrow a boat we met in Salvador, Brazil reported some Southern Ocean Class of '06 boats are congregating in one of the two yacht clubs. This group of intrepid sailors are truly skilled. They NEED to be. (Sadly at this point none are Americans and none are powerboats.) This very moment if Egret were a sailboat we would be on a beam reach getting soaked with very chilly sea water a couple times a minute. Yesterday when Egret was driving through large head seas sail boats would have to be doing long tacks to make headway to windward. For a sailboat to power through that mess would have been nearly impossible. We are standing in the pilothouse braced on the counter in a tee shirt, shorts and barefoot as this is written.

Bottom line: The Egret crew are just plain folks. Any of you reading these lines could travel in your learned comfort and safety in YOUR little ship. If long distance cruising is in your future MAKE SURE your little ship is the RIGHT little ship. Make sure she is as safe as you think she is, not what some salesman tells you she is. You will find as well the sea is your friend. You will become as comfortable as the albatrosses wheeling off Egret's bow at this moment. All you need to do is write the check and put in the hours. It will change your lives.



November 22, 2006

Position: S35 06.29 W52 37.51 (about 100nm due east of Punta del Este (East Point) Uruguay), Course 219 degrees M, Distance traveled past 24 hours 158.7nm, Average speed at 1550 RPM's 6.6 knots, Seas 3-5' and building SW, Wind (true) 14 knots SW, distance traveled from Gibraltar 5305.2nm

Exactly as predicted by OMNI Bob the weather has swung SW giving Egret building head seas in 14 knots (true) of wind. Our downhill sleigh ride with accompanying great speed is over for a while. Our average speed for the past 24 hours is dropping like a rock. Egret's current speed is 4.3 knots. The good news is we will no longer have to anchor off the beach or steam back and forth offshore Friday morning on arrival at Mar Del Plata. The other good news is the tide will be nearly high. Whale Song reported a dredge mid-channel (narrow to start with) at the entrance with breaking waves before and at the entrance. As the C-Map charts show we were advised to stay tight to the northern breakwater.

Lovely. Let's get this right. We have to drive through breaking waves with half a channel staying next to a big pile of grande rocks. Yup we do. At least we will have an additional six feet of water under the keel. We'll see.

The beautiful albatrosses are no longer our friends. Those slime dogs have been teasing mercilessly as the photographer has been hanging on by his eyelashes risking sea water spray on the camera trying to get a picture for you amigos. Last night's sunset and this morning's early illuminating sun, no pity. Feathered pole dancers.

On a more successful note my sweetie performed her own dance this morning making pancakes standing in her bouncing galley. In the 5 years of owning Egret she has only once not fixed meals because of rough weather. That first was last Monday's dinner when the boys were sent off with an apple. An Olympic gymnast could not have made dinner that night. It would have been too dangerous. Soooo, mi amigos, all is well. The sun is shining, the seas reasonable, life is good for the Egret crew.

In the two hours since writing the last weather the wind has strengthened to over 20 knots with still building seas. Both seas and wind are still from the SW. Our turning waypoint in 27nm will put the seas directly on the bow. Sooo it looks like a two-day bounce with some relief when the wind and seas clock to a more northerly direction. We'll see.

A cold front extending NW from a low center near 42S 49W moves north/east along the southern Brazilan coast through the day. The front is expected to weaken as high pressure ridging extends SW across 40S 50W late tonight thru Thur/am. A new cold front is expected to move north/east across Argentina on Thursday then cross the northern Argentina coast by Fri/morning. The front will weaken during Fri/pm as it extends across the Rio de la Plata area. However, a moderately strong high pressure ridge extending from near 36S 90W SE across the southern Chile/Cape Horn area will help maintain a moderate to fresh pressure wind gradient behind the cold front through Friday. We note that observations indicate fresh SW'ly winds of 25-30kts behind the cold front across the coastal Uruguay area. These conditions will tend to ease as the high ridge pattern builds across the area thru tonight. Along the direct coastal route to Mar del Plata expect: Wed/22: SW'ly 22-27kt, SW-SSW 8-10ft gusty west of the cold front thru the aftn, Ease SW-WSW to WNW 15-20kt to 10-15kts thru tonight-overnight. Seas easing SW-SSW 6-8ft thru late aftn, then ease to SW-WSW 3-5ft during Wed/eve-night. Morning clouds, maybe a shower give way to clearing skies.

Thur/23: WNW-NNW 12-20kts, WNW-NW 3-5ft, upto 6ft Thur/am. Freshen NW-NNW 17-25kt, gusty 30kt+ passing the cold front late, NW-NNW 7-9ft during Thu/eve-night. Incr clouds with showers, maybe a thundershower Thu/eve-night.

Fri/24-arrival: SW-SSW 20-27kt, SW-SSW 7-9ft, chance 10ft thru arrival.




November 21, 2006

Position: S32 42.60 W51 12.25 Course 221 degrees M, Average speed 7.0 knots, Distance traveled 345.1nm (past 48 hours), Seas 4-6' NNE, Apparent wind 6.9 knots NNE/ 14 knots true, Nautical miles to go to Mar Del Plata 443.02, Distance traveled from Gibraltar 5145.77

Hola (hello) mi amigos (working on Spanish for Argentina thru the Galapagos). There is very little to report yesterday to today. Egret had a routine day at sea in comfortable 4-6' mostly down sea swells. The sun made an appearance for the afternoon, first in days, and we had a spectacular sunset. Master Angler Steve saw his first green flash. The air is so clean and clear the sun is particularly bright. The albatrosses were out in force with two new species of flying critters making their appearance. Egret was swarmed with big albatrosses just after sunset framing themselves against that beautiful setting. By the time we got the camera out they were gone. Will try again tonight.

We have been working on a star rating harbor/anchorage guide to the Mediterranean as requested by Milt and Judy Baker, Bluewater 47-32, for their upcoming Atlantic crossing spring 07 and subsequent Med cruise. This will be a useful addendum to the three season, two winter Mediterranean cruising itinerary that will soon be available on the Voyage of Egret website. Milt and Judy have gone all out forming a crossing group using the Nordhavn owners group Yahoo website and a second Yahoo website for the crossing forum. If you have any interest in crossing yourselves either as a boat owner or crew now is the time to join this group and let yourself be swept away. There is still plenty of time to prepare your boat and stage in Ft Lauderdale for the crossing. Visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MedBound2007/.




November 19, 2006


Position: S28 16.10 W48 32.48 Average speed at 7.2 kts@1600 rpm.

NAR buddies aboard Strickly for Fun (Nordhavn 47) reached their westbound destination of Grenada at 0100 this morning after an Atlantic crossing from the Cape Verde islands. They had great weather, averaged remarkable speed and logged a routine trip. Congratulations to Scott Strickland and his crew Tom Selman (N50 owner), Frank Sain (N40 owner) and Ron Montague (N47 owner).

Well, mi amigos, Egret is under way again to Mar Del Plata, Argentina bouncing along in confused 8-10' and occasional larger seas in 24.2 knots of wind. It is amazing how our little ship runs through this mess. Egret's coffee carryometer needle is barely lifting off the scale. The good news, it is raining keeping the water on the pilothouse glass somewhat brackish.

Floroianopolis is everything Salvador should be and perhaps will be in time. Flo is a beautiful modern city on the island of Ilha de Santa Catarina with the mainland city of Santa Catarina west across the bay. We mentioned in a previous VofE how at night it reminded us of Miami Beach with the buildings illuminated at night in different colors. We did our final provisioning in a multi story mall as attractive and modern as any in the States. Squealing kids were enjoying a Holiday program downstairs complete with a couple of Santas. With our final load of jungle fruit, bread, meat, etc the Egret crew took a very wet ride in the rain aboard our tiny little rubber boat loaded with three crew and filled to the gunwales (actually to the top o' de' tubes) with plastic bags of goodies. Yes, Master Angler Steve had his candy and drink mix packets.

The customs cha cha in Flo is the big story here. In all of Egret's travels, customs officials have been courteous, pleasant and professional. (Except Luperon Harbor in the Dominician Republic. When we asked for a receipt they too did their proper duties.) Flo officials were exceptional. First the Navy officer at Capitania dos Portos (Port Captain) gave us nine days to leave after checkout because he understands weather issues. He told us a story abut how recently a Navy ship brought 350 Army troopers up from the south in fifteen foot seas. One hundred fifty of them were hospitalized on arrival because of sea sickness. Next was the Policia Federal. We were ushered in front of quite a crowd to mesa 6 (table 6). A young English speaking officer cleared us out after a thorough inspection of our papers. The Federal Police are not sailors and are used to giving only 24 hours to leave once cleared (true in most countries). After explaining our weather situation they, too, gave us a time extension of 72 hours.

Our last official clearance check out was Alfangeda (Customs). Here we met our knight in shining armor. Because Flo is not a commercial port with its shallow bay and few cruisers, Customs is no longer checking boats out of Brazil. We were told to go to a commercial port about 50 miles south. This presents two problems. First we would exceed our 72 hour Federal Police time frame and second the complexity of anchoring in a commercial harbor, dinghying ashore and finding the Police, etc. (This was Friday and we planned to leave on Monday.) The cruising guide was VERY wrong. Our Customs officer, Ricardo Navarro, is a sailing regatta official at the local yacht club. He went WAY beyond the call of duty and gave Egret a personal 'Pass' to exit the country. Best of luck to Ricardo for the help he gave us. (We have sent the RCC cruising guide updated information and will also send the information to noonsite.com)

We will sign off now, rock n' roll and watch the albatrosses working the wind and waves in front of our little ship. OMNI Bob's latest forecast is copied below.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
1Fm: O.M.N.I./USA1108Z 19 NOV 2006 Latest observations indicate SE-ESE winds 20-27kts south of Florianopolis toward 30S/lat. Latest satellite imagery indicates the stationary front continues to extend WNW across southern Brazil near and just north of Florianopolis. A wave of low pressure appears to have formed inland along the front. The wave should move ESE along the front today, across 28S 40W thru Mon/morning, then seaward. As the low moves seaward, the front should move slowly northward thru Mon/night-Tue/am. South of the front an area of high pressure centered near the Rio de la Plata area is expected to remain stationary thru Sun/aftn-eve, then move north/east across the Uraguay to the southern Brazilian coast near 30S south thru Mon/am-aftn. Thereafter, the high is expected to move eastward across 30S45W thru Tue/midday, then weakens during Wed/22 as it crosses 40W. A new cold front is expected to move north/east across northern Argentina during Wed/pm, but will have a hard time moving north of the Rio de la Plata area through Thur-Fri. Outlooks indicate the front tends to stall and lay WNW across the Rio de la Plata area through Fri/am. As with any stationary front, there will be the risk of low pressure developing along the front during Thur/pm-Friday. Should this occur, SE-ESE winds will tend to freshen south of the front, across the Rio de la Plata area and northern Argentina coast during Thu/night and Friday. In the meantime there appears to be no change in the short term wind/sea pattern. You should anticipate SSE-ESE winds forces 5-6 gusty/7 on Sunday, slowly easing forces 6-4 during Monday into Tue moving through the high ridge. Therefore, basis a departure early Sun/am along the direct coastal route to Mar del Plata expect: Sun/19: SSE-ESE 22-27kt, upto 30-33kt thru Sun/aftn near the front. SE-ESE 7-10ft chance higher Sun/am-aftn. Winds should ease closer to 20-25kts, SE-ESE 6-8ft during Sun/night-overnight. Mon/20: SE-ESE 20-25kt, gusty, ESE 6-8ft during Mon/am. Easing ESE-E 15-20kt to ESE-Var 10-15kt, ESE 4-6ft, then E-confused2-4ft during Mon/pm. Tue/21: Var to N-NW 08-15kt Tue/am. Gradually freshen NNW-NW 15-20kt during Tue/pm. Waves 2-3ft Tue/am, build 3-5ft during Tue/pm. Wed/22: NW-WNW, slowly shift W-WSW 10-20kts thru Wed. Chance become WSW-SW 15-22kt, gusty during Wed/night. WNW to WSW 3-5ft, upto 6-7ft during the eve-night. Please keep us advised of your departure and daily posn while enroute. We will monitor your posn and updated information and update this forecast later today, if there are significant changes. Otherwise, we will update Mon/20th by 1200GMT.
B/Rgds,
Bob/OMNI



November 16, 2006

Position: S27 36.29 W48 33.55 Distance traveled (29 hours) 212.1nm Average speed at 1600 RPM's 7.3 knots, Seas following 4-6', apparent wind 4.5 knots Distance traveled from Gibraltar 4799.26nm

The first yacht club was closed. Egret is anchored beyond the two bridges in 12' of water. We will start the customs cha cha shortly.

Today we saw our first albatross ever. Today's albatrosses are the black-browed albatross or black-browed Mollymawk. The wing span of mature birds reaches nearly eight feet. Today's albatrosses' were about five feet. The large sea going gulls we took so many pictures of in the national park are the masked bobies with their bright yellow beak and olive green feet, also a first. (We are far enough south the line drawings of birds and their descriptions in the Patagonia Guide are coming to life). Also we have seen miles of plankton floating on the surface. The first we saw was after passing a ship. We were thinking very evil thoughts about our large brethren pumping their bilge into OUR ocean but later saw it everywhere. Where the plankton has congregated into thick piles it looks like fine ground yellow corn. Egret's stabilizer cooling pump sea strainer is clogging fast. This says a lot for keel cooling the same pump.

Below was written earlier this morning inspired by the sunrise.

What a beautiful day!! Our little white fiberglass home is lit up in the just risen sun. In spite of the miles she still sparkles. The seas have behaved this entire trip pushing Egret at record speed since leaving the States toward her next destination of Florianopolis, Brazil, just fifty or so miles ahead. Florianopolis is Egret's next of many past little cruiser challenges. Flo is a N/S island off the mainland connected by two central bridges across a shallow bay. The Ilate Clube de Santa Catarina (YC of St Catherine) is located at the north inside tip of the island. It is small AND didn't welcome the cruising guide's author in his small sailboat like an arriving prince so we may have a somewhat distorted view of the YC. A YC or marina in Brazil represents security.

The YC alternative is follow a winding course through the shallow bay and anchor just north of the northern bridge. This means leaving a dinghy somewhere. All three of the Egret crew must present themselves at customs, immigration, etc. A dinghy here is worth perhaps several years' wages to a possible sticky fingered local. Even Egret's small dinghy with patches and outboard motor cowl taped with gorilla tape after our little misadventure in Italy. So, what do we do? Don't know. We'll do something, AND we will enjoy ourselves. It is very rare we don't. After a while the unpredictable becomes the predictable.

As we mentioned another time, cruising isn't like going to your favorite restaurant for dinner. Cruising is different. You have to think a bit. Like everything you can do most anything when you have too. This is why long distance cruisers as a group are so settled, sure of themselves, content and enjoy little pleasures we don't get to enjoy in our frantic dirt dwelling lives. (Frantic is an extreme word, but what isn't extreme these days of tabloid news on TV, etc?)

Well, mi amigos, after that little rant it is time to make coffee for my sweetie. On the coffee carryometer today is rated 'very good'. (The coffee carryometer is Egret's highly technical method of rating sea state...carrying coffee to the pilothouse) Adios


November 15, 2006

Position: S24 43.30 W46 34.52 Distance traveled 160.9nm, Average speed (variable rpm's to 1600) 7.4 knots, Seas 6-8" swells ESE, apparent wind 2.9 knots variable, distance traveled from Gibraltar 4586.12 nm

Egret left Ilha Grande around 1400GMT yesterday. Once offshore we encountered residual sea swells that continued while rounding the two headlands before the turn toward Florianopolis. We then encountered confused 6-8" swells making for a bounce until about 0100GMT this morning. The front we reported yesterday did indeed march to the north leaving Egret in calm winds that continue until now. The seas have taken a ESE set with comfortable swells. OMNI Bob reported higher winds however we think (and are hoping) it is because we did not follow the near shore route we intended missing the sea breezes.

Egret has been consistently 40nm+ offshore. For safety's sake instead of a direct rhum line course to Florianopolis we chose to set a course for a large bay then turn directly for Florianopolis adding just two hours to the trip but keeping Egret within a reasonable distance from shore (instead of over 100nm) in case of deteriorating weather.

The birds are back. Large green-headed powerful tern shaped birds have been dive bombing the bow all morning along with a smaller dark backed petral. Egret doesn't have a bird or fish book for the South Atlantic and should have. Our only bird and fish (whale and dolphin) drawings and descriptions are in the Patagonia Guide starting further south.

We passed a cruising sailboat under the iron sail this morning pounding their way east into head seas. Brutal. Egret is riding comfortably down sea in the same seas. Just guessing they are on their way to the Ilha Grande area to begin their cruising season.

Nordhavn Atlantic Rally friends on Nordhavn 47, Strickly for Fun, are closing on their destination of Grenada from their Cape Verde departure. Strickly is enjoying a fast, nearly trouble-free voyage with great weather. Strickly for Fun was the first 47 to cross the Atlantic and the first now to recross the Atlantic. Many more will follow but there will never be another first for the Atlantic. In '08 Strickly plans to cross the Pacific.


November 14, 2006

Position: 23 23.57S 44 34.52W, course 244 degrees M, average speed (since 1200GMT - now 1800GMT) 6.9 knots at 1600 RPM, Seas confused 6-8' multi directional swells from the SSE/SSW (lumpy), wind, less than 5 knots

Egret is under way to her final Brazilian check out port of Florianopolis. The approximate 350nm voyage is a two day plus run. We should arrive during daylight on Nov 16th. We have been told by several Brazilians Florianopolis is beautiful so we may stay for a couple of days to sightsee and provision for the next leg to Argentina. Because of serious weather further south we asked for and received from the Naiad folks a weather delay for our destination of Mar Del Plata, Argentina where a Naiad technician is flying in to upgrade Egret to the Multi Sea Electronic Control system. He is now arriving on December 4th giving us time for the deep low to move east and further offshore.

Ilha (Isla) Grande appeared out of the mist the early morning hours of November 11th. The tiny fishing village of Abraao on the NW coast was Egret's destination and anchorage for two days and nights moving to a smaller cove on the SW coast for a third night. Isla Grande is a 10nm N-S island with multiple coves around the perimeter. The island itself is low sharp peaked misty mountains covered in jungle. The tiny fishing village of Abraao is much more beautiful and alive than the somewhat sterile cruising guide depicted. This is island living at its best. Judging by the dinghy's left on the beach, unlocked bicycles and such there is no theft. In short word bytes Abraao is: est. 250 residents, dirt streets around the town (no roads across the island), one car (cop) no motor scooters, lots of bicycles, friendly people, tiny shops serving the day tripper tourists and beach villa vacationers, two internet cafe's, two ice cream shops, two cart wheeling pastry sellers, misty rain of on and off during the days and evening, etc, etc. The restaurants typical meals of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, rice with black beans and gravy - five bucks. Starch city. We ate two of those meals and did not eat dinner that evening. The local Skol beer is served ICE cold.

There are wide paths across the island. We walked from our bay across the ridge between two small peaked mountains to the next bay. Pet shop birds are flying everywhere. Exotic plants grow wild here. There are multiple streams caring runoff or spring water down to the white sand beaches. We took over two hundred and fifty pictures on the island itself. Every turn is a Kodak moment. We have a whole new 'Flowers of Brazil' for posting. There are no charter boats here. There are very few Brazilian cruisers here this early in the season (spring). Brazilians are charged 100% duty on imported boats so only the very wealthy own anything but small locally built wooden boats.

After leaving Abraao we skirted the shoreline traveling a number of miles to go seven as the crow flies. The water is deep near shore so we ran the boat from the flybridge visually checking for rocks in the clear water. We took multiple pictures of shoreline cottages set in the most beautiful jungle settings imaginable. There are no roads so every home has a mooring ball and small dock out front for their 'car'. There are enough pictures to have a 'Cottages of Ilha Grande' as well. Egret anchored overnight in a SW cove expecting to trail walk today (Tue) but with the light rain socked in we decided to push on SW to Florianopolis.

This area has to be one of the most beautiful cruising areas in the WORLD. What a shame this special area is so very difficult to get to. The sailboaters can't go back north. They must travel further south to catch the westerlies and ride them to South Africa or west then north in a wind/current driven semi circle to the far north. The alternative is to pound their way southwest riding the northerly wind reversals to the Cape Horn area. Long distance powerboat cruising in these waters is very much in its infancy with only a very few powerboats making this trip.......ever. Powerboats could reverse their Brazilian coast travels but at a terrible price of pounding their way north. South Africa would be easier for them as well. This entire coast will be protected for the future, first by weather and difficulty of access and secondly by the Brazilian tax laws.

History repeats itself. The Brazilians should take note of the pinhead, commie, DC bureaucrats' idiotic luxury tax of the early 90's in the US. As a part of the marine industry we watched our new boat construction business drop by 40%+ overnight. We lost nearly one third of our skilled workers to other vocations during this period taking years to recover. (sorry for the rant)

Egret will continue her 1200GMT Daily Position Report in route to
Flolianopolis.

November 11, 2006

Position: S23 08.32 W44 09.56 (in anchorage - Isla Grande) distance traveled (25.5 hours) 136.0nm, Average speed 5.5 knots, seas 4' swells - slight, Distance traveled from Gibraltar 4424.43nm

Bom dia, good morning in Portuguese. We need to practice a leetle Portuspeek because in a few hours Egret will be anchored off the tiny fishing village of Abraao, on Ilha Grande (big island) the centerpiece of Brazil's cruising area. The cruising guide says there is a different anchorage for every day of the year in this two bay, three hundred and sixty five tropical island area. We have no idea what to expect of the village, villagers, surrounding area, etc, etc. All we know is we can see low mountains in the distance. Cruising makes you think and keep challenging yourself with the little unknowns. This sure beats driving to your favorite, predictable, ho hum again restaurant doesn't it? Yup, it do.

Mary, my sweetie and love of my life asked for three things of this stop: a supermarket (well OK, how about a tienda?), a restaurant and a walk ashore. This little jewel of a village has the first two and the island itself is covered with foot paths to explore. She deserves every bit and more. She stands full watches, does the cooking and cleans the boat. Master Angler Steve is the dishwasher, fish winder inner, occasional beer quality control officer and overall helper. My job is to hand my sweetie her first cup of hot coffee every morning and keep our lovely little home purring. Simple and it works for everyone.

Ilha Grande is Egret's only planned stop between here and our check out (of Brazil) port of Florianopolis, about four hundred miles further south. There is some nasty weather brewing south so as soon as there is some northing in the wind and the residual heavy seas lay down a bit we're off with the OK from OMNI Bob. The Daily Position Report will end here until Egret is under way again. We will give you an update as soon as we uncover what this little jewel of an island has to offer.

FYI, there is a new 'Flowers of the Mediterranean' section coming up soon on the Voyage of Egret photo gallery. We did some artsy/fartsy stuff you'll enjoy.



November 10, 2006 (part 2)

The very instant we sent Egret's Daily Position Report the winds suddenly increased and changed direction from the SW to the W. We believe this is the 'wrap around wind' from Cabo Frio. The report below is the latest from OMNI Bob.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET 1
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA
2345GMT 09 NOV 2006

Observations continue to indicate improved wind/sea conditions from your location to Isla Grande. This is due to the high pressure ridge over Brazil that should remain stationary through Fri/am. This ridge will weaken and dissipate during Fri/pm as a weather front to the south moves northward through Fri/night and Saturday We continue to watch a weak area of low pressure developing over Brazil near 20S 50W. This weak low should move ESE-SE across the Brazilian coast near 20S-21S during Fri/pm, then continue to move ESE'ward and gradually merging with the northward moving weather front thru Sat/11th. Overall, easier wind/sea conditions will continue through Fri/morning-afternoon. As the front approaches from the north, high pressure reorganizing to the south will move offshore near 43S 55W during Fri/night then will build/strength as it moves eastward across 50W through

Sat/night and 40W on Sunday. This building high will bring increasing SE-E-NE winds to the coast between 25S-30S, then fresh NNE-NW winds from 30S-35S thru Nov 15-16. The prevailing storm track will tend to remain south of 50S and with a broad, moderately strong high pressure ridge over the S/Atlantic, the wind/sea pattern described to 35S should become more dominant during mid to late November. Therefore, a more coastal transit from Isla Grande to Mar Del Plata should be anticipated. With a more N-NW wind/sea pattern expected south of 30S, seas should become fetch limited close to the coast. We will need to watch the waters across the Rio de la Plata. Even with the prevailing NW wind there is still plenty of sea fetch to deal with. Consider this region as an area like passing the Delaware Bay entrance.

Along your intended direct coastal route to Isla Grande , expect: Thur/09-night: SW-S 10-16kts. SW-S 3-5ft, long SW-S swells of 7-8ft are possible. Fri/10: SSW-SSE 10-16kts, seas ease 4-6ft, 3-5ft toward the eve-night hours. Swells SW-S 6-8ft thru the day. Swells tend to become more S-SSE 6-8ft during Fri-ovenright. Sat/11 - Isla Grande area: Freshen SSE-SE 20-25kt S-SE 6-8ft, upto 9ft during the morning. SE-ESE 22-28kts, gusty, SE-ESE 7-10ft during Sat/pm. Captain, please keep us advised of your departure plans after Isla Grande. We will continue to watch and will update Fri/10th by 1200Z.

B/Rgds,
Bob/OMNI

 


November 10, 2006

Position: S22 58.75 W41 45.82 Course 254 degrees M, average speed at 1550 rpm's 5.7 knots, Seas 12' swellls SW, apparent wind 22.9 knots SW, nm traveled from gibraltar 4288.52

First the weather. Egret is riding gently up and down on large sea swells, 12' plus, with a little wind chop on top in 12 knots of wind. On the coffee carryometer we are doing well. This is a comfortable change from the 12+' powerful WAVES of the other day.

Well, mi amigos, things are changing. As Egret drives south into the austral spring and away from the equator the weather is noticeably changing. First the wind swung from the northern quadrants to the southern quadrants. The south flowing Brazil current has given away to the northbound cold Falklands current. Even the birds are different. The frigate birds are gone along with the large shearwaters. A much smaller shearwater have replaced their larger northern cousins. As we move further south and the fishing becomes better the bird life will increase proportionately along with the emerging sea lion colonies and penguins.

If you remember we discussed this convergence of the two currents occurring around the area of the Vitoria, Brazil W-E seamount chain (S20 18 W 40 13) making it one of the very best fishing areas in the world. Vitoria is about 120nm north of Egret at this writing. (Sorry. Can't give up the thought of all the south and north bound food chain of fish meeting soon for a three plus month seasonal feeding feast. Egret will not be there participating. Can't do it all. Whine, sob, snivel)

Egret is slowly pushing her way through this north bound current. Crewman Master Angler Steve mentioned yesterday (Thurs) he noticed how much cooler his stateroom was (forward stateroom). This is simply the cool sea water temps transferring thru the hull. The outside air temps are slowly falling as well. By the time this edition of VofE is sent Egret will be close to rounding Cabo Frio (Cape Cold) now showing its small volcanic mountainous shape through the early morning mist. Cabo Frio is the west bound turning point where Egret enters the 500-mile shallow bay containing among others Rio de Janeiro and our destination of Isla Grande seventy miles further west.

South America is shaped roughly like an ice cream cone. The ice cream portion contains the Amazon of Brazil and further south then west to the northern most tip of Chile. The coastal cone portion contains on the east; southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. On the west it contains Chile. The cone is tipped slightly SW-NE on the east side and SSW-NNE on the west side. Once leaving this upcoming five hundred mile shallow bay Egret will cruise southwest down the southern Brazilian coast, past Uruguay and the entrance to the Rio De La Plata, dividing Uruguay from Argentina. Rio De La Plata leads 125 miles up river to Buenos Aires. After crossing the wide river entrance Egret is on to Mar Del Plata, Argentina. As the crow flies this is roughly 1225 miles from Egret's current position, however in actual distance to travel it is quite a bit further.

On board we have the large coffee table edition of National Geographic's Atlas of the World. This is a useful planning tool we use often in overall route planning. We used the atlas for this bit as well as C-Map charts. The National Geographic atlas would be a useful addition for your boat as well.


November 9, 2006


Position: S21 19.97 W40 14.95 Course 223 degrees M, Average speed at variable rpm's 4.6 knots, Seas 4-12+', Apparent wind 12-36 knots, 4158.45nm traveled from Gibraltar

Ol' ma nature gave Egret a good spanking until about 0100 this morning. We had very large head seas and up to 36 knots of wind (apparent - 32.8 true) Our speed average for 12 plus hours was 3.4 knots (2.8 knots at times) As the seas calmed we sped up and now have slowed as the seas are building again but not nearly as bad. Now the seas are 4-6' head seas with 12 knots true wind. Our speed is 6.2 knots at 1550 RPM. We are topping off water in these relatively calm conditions before the next round of weather. With just four spare days to be in Mar del Plata, Argentina for Egret's rendezvous with the stabilizer rep we need to keep truckin' unless the weather becomes impossible.

It is a shame not to be able to spend weeks in Brazil's prime cruising area but it is more important to keep up with Egret's overall cruise big weather picture. Our main thrust for this leg of the trip is to maximize our time preparing and staging for the Horn rounding and spending maximum time cruising the Chilean Canals.

Below is OMNI Bob's latest weather report received early this morning.

Captain, observations from the area continue to indicate SW-S winds in the 25-30kt with occ higher gusts to 35kts. SW-SSW sea/swells continue in the 8-12ft range.

We do note further south near 22S easier SW winds closer to 15-20kts. However, SW-S swells of 8-12ft are still noted.

High pressure ridging that extends NE across the coast of Brazil should work itself slowly off the coast through Thu/pm and Friday. Meanwhile, the low center to the south should also move slowly eastward and weaken through Friday.

We still anticipate SW-SSW wind/seas to remain at current levels through 1200Z/09, but an easing trend is expected to develop from that point onward through Thur/night and Friday as the high ridge tends to become the more domiant weather feature. Would not be surprised if you experience slightly easier conditions (closer to 20-25kts) by 09/1200Z.

The easier winds will give way to increasing S-SE winds Fri/overnight through Saturday as the high cell providing the easier winds on Thur-Fri/am moves offshore and merges with a new high ridge moving north behind the trough/front that is extending west from the exiting low.

We are also watching for the development of a disturbance over inland Brazil (north of Rio). New data indicates the disturbance should drift SSE across the Rio area and eastward through Fri/10th, then move more ESE out to sea as the trough/front force this activity out to sea on Sat/11th.

AS of now, we would anticipate you to be west of this disturbance during Friday, but some shower and thunderstorm activity is possible from this activity that would approach from the west. We will continue to monitor and advise.

November 8, 2006

Position: S19 31.44 W39 35.50, Course 223 degrees M, Average speed at variable RPM's 5.5 knots, seas (see below) wind 27.8 knots, nm traveled from Gibraltar 4039.3nm

Well, mi amigos, it had to happen sooner or later. In Egret's case it happened much later. Today's subject is weather. In Egret's travels we grew more comfortable with wind and waves as time and miles went by. The NAR (Atlantic crossing west to east) did not have bad weather on any single day (some reporters told a different tale but that likely was due to not having the miles under them). Upon arrival at Tariffa, entrance to the Straits of Gibraltar, we had wind funneling between the 'rock' and Africa puffing a bit but there were not big or dangerous waves. During the next three cruising seasons in the Med we had few days of 'bounce' (an Egrettism for rough water). The recrossing of the Atlantic from Gibraltar to Brazil was benign as well for the most part with NO large waves. All of this changed this morning less than 45 minutes after sending OMNI Bob (Egret's weather router) a note telling him Egret had pushed through the expected front, the seas were calm with little wind. Below we copy this correspondence with Bob and Andy Cool at Explorer Satellite where Egret buys her Iridium phones and minutes.

Andy, Just a precautionary note. Egret is getting ready to drive thru a major front and lightning storm. If you don't hear from us by Wed PM please activate our new sim card. This will mean we got zapped. Thanks, Scott Flanders (Egret has two Iridium phones but two different sim cards. We are currently using up the minutes on the first card with the second 3000 minute/2 year sim standing by for activation) We take communication and weather reports VERY seriously.

Bob, Its 2330GMT and we are driving through the front. (S18 39 W39 17) Speed 6.9 knots The heavy wind is over & is quite still with a few more miles of showers and occasional lightning. The wind reversed itself during the front from N to SW. The seas before were 5-6' following are now calm for the time being. Will send in a 1200GMT report tomorrow (Wed)

We are getting our bell rung folks. Dennis and Julie Fox on Sea Fox gave the Egret crew a beautiful cast bell with the Egret logo cast in. (Bellingham Bell Co) Mary and I call the bell our 'Dennis and Julie commercial'. The bell only rings when Egret's bow, stern or sides are where they aren't supposed to be. When the bell rings today Egret's bow is pointing nearly straight up or straight down. Egret is NOT in sea swells. Sea swells can be quite high but they are nothing more than small hills your little ship rides up and down with no theatrics. These are WAVES stretching out front probably for the next day or so. These waves are being driven by 27-36 knots of north bound wind AGAINST the south bound Brazil current. The Brazilian coast is shallow near shore (12-40 miles offshore) so two things happen at once. The current accelerates crossing the shallow water with the wind stacking the waves up tighter against the current. Let us describe after all this preliminary education what the Egret crew is experiencing at this minute (1030GMT 11-08-06).

The waves are 8-12+'. They are very close together. We have reduced speed twice to our current 1425 RPM so we don't overpower the waves and drive thru one sliding down the backside of the wave before. Once every 20-30 minutes we take a slug of green water over the bow ending up hanging on the pilothouse glass like an aquarium for a second then disappearing. A number of times a minute we have to quit typing and hold on to the laptop with two hands. Spell check will get a workout.

Now for the GOOD news. This IS NOT dangerous. The waves are almost directly on the bow making our stabilizers and autopilot not having to work hard. We are able to sleep including Steve in the forward berth. Yes it is uncomfortable. Yes you have to hold the coffee pot on the stove to heat water because the sea rails (dealies that hold pots in place on the stove) are overpowered. Yes, a watched pot takes forever to boil.

In every not so giggly boating moment there are lessons to learn. First lesson you learn building on today's and past experiences just how tough and secure your little white fiberglass home really is. Here are Egret's current lessons/mistakes, ALL of which should have been avoided. Egret was in a day hop mode. The fresh and salt water hoses were left on the foredeck. The boat hook we always secure wasn't. The boom was in the dinghy launching mode still attached to the dink (but secured well). It should have been lowered, then secured. After a brief, wet dash to correct these mistakes (yes with an inflatable life jacket on - clipped into jacklines and two people watching) these items were corrected along with turning the dorades (foredeck air vents) around backward. We got a slug of water through the dorade into Steve's stateroom. First time ever.

Please understand we are not complaining, just reporting facts. We are here by our own hand. This report is part of our continual effort to give you the verbal descriptions, in lay terms, exactly what we are experiencing during Egret's 20,000nm journey to New Zealand. Egret's reported lessons learned are simply an educational tool for your use. We will include OMNI Bob's weather report at 1200 GMT as an addendum to this report.

P.S. Egret is experiencing more wind and seas than is shown. We just had our biggest pilothouse window aquarium wave yet. Looking forward to the predicted weather.

From OMNI:

Observations indicate the northern extension of the cold front extend NNW across 18S-19S along the Brazilian coast. High pressure ridging also extends NE from Uruguay toward 21S 47W. As the cold front tends to move slowly north/east through Wed, the high pressure ridge pattern should continue to lay stationary along the Brazilian coast (across the Rio area) thru Wed and continue on Thur.

A gale low center near 42S 44W is expected to move eastward crossing 40S 40W thru 09/0000Z, then cross 30W thru 10/0000Z. As the low moves slowly eastward, SW-S swells will continue to build, slowly, thru Wed. Fortunately, your coastal transit will help you avoid the highest swells that are expected further offshore and along the more SSW heading toward Mar del Plata.

Also, the closeness of the high ridge will also help keep the wind speeds down. Winds should range 15-22kts with periods of 25kts possible tonight and Wed/08th. Winds are expected to remain SW-S thru Wed/am-midday. Gusty winds are still a possibility the next few hours. Once you are south of the front and under the influence of the high ridge, then you should start to experience long period SW-S swells in the 6-9ft range through Wed into Thur/am. Thereafter these swells should subside as the eastward moving gale low weakens as high pressure tends to move off the coastal/offshore waters during Fri/10th.

Once this high moves offshore, it will strengthen. However, it will also allow the winds and sea/swells to become more ESE-ENE along the Brazilian coast during Nov 12-14.

Along your intended direct coastal route to Isla Grande , expect:

Tue/07-night: SW-SSW 12-20kt, gusty 25kts at times. SW-S 3-5ft with longer period swells 6-7ft developing during the overnight. Cloudy with lingering showers and thundershowers. Wed/08: SW-S 12-18kts, 3-5ft. Longer period (9-11sec) SW-S swells 6-8ft thru the day. Lingering clouds, maybe a few showers still possible. Some clearing expected late. Winds may become more SSW-SSE with swells possibly 9ft during the pm/hrs. Thu/09-arrival: Range SW-S-SSE 10-18kts, 2-4ft, SSW-S long period swells 6-9ft.

We will continue to watch and update shortly after your 08/1200Z posn.
B/Rgds,
Bob/OMN

November 7, 2006

On the road again. Egret is currently running down sea in 20+ knots of wind at 7.3 knots sailing SSW on a course of 220 degrees M. (OMNI Bob - Time now 1800Z, S18 02 W39 06) Our destination this hop is Isla Grande, about 70nm west of Rio. We'll explain this in a bit and give you OMNI Bob's latest weather forecast.

Egret spent the past three days anchored in the beautiful Brazilian National Park of Arquipelago Dos Abrolhos thirty miles off the Brazilian coast. The big attraction are the huge reefs in the area and the whales. Upon arrival a dinghy came out to explain the park rules. They commandeered the local mainland marine biologist vacationing at the islands to translate. Later that afternoon we waved the 20ish biologist and his girlfriend to Egret for a touch of rum. She is a marine biologist as well both graduating from university in Sao Paulo. We had a great evening learning about local tings. When they left we gave them a big bag of frozen dolphin. We suspect their tiny sailboat is a no refrigeration job so they must have eaten to bursting.

The next morning after arrival we lowered the dink and visited the only small island you may land accompanied by park guides, Bernie (Bernadette), Madelena and Anna. Much pantomime, gesturing, flapping arms, Portuguish, etc later we got the gist of the birds and turtle (tortuga) population. The birds are capable of diving three meters (9') under water. Yes, the tortugas do a little better. We had a great time on the island taking lots of pictures and invited them to the boat. We gave each of them a big bag of dolphin as well. (Get the pattern? We boys can fish again!!!) The next day was whale day with three humpback whales in 50' of water quite close to Egret that were swimming back and forth. These whales are the last of the stragglers from the late summer season when they arrive to mate. The park rules say you can't get within 50 meters of whales by dinghy but Bernie said it was impossible there are so many during that time. They went out so close to the three that morning in their dink they were sprayed by their spouts. Major fish breath.

After spending a rolly night when the wind shifted we were ready to be on the move again but the weather further south wasn't cooperating. At noon we decided to go visit the small village where Daniel, marine biologist, is from. Our charting shows no details for the river but Daniel said the river is buoyed with plenty of water. The dive boats coming from the village draw about as much water as Egret so we decided to go for it. On the way we paralleled three more whales & got some more great pics.

Speaking of pictures let us explain Egret's picture deal for the website. The Egret crew is technically challenged when it comes to computer gizmos. Dumb, dumber and really dumb (yes, we are including Steve in this as well). Sad but true. We use a Nikon D50 camera taking pictures at full resolution. We usually edit 50-100 pictures from the many we take and copy them full resolution onto discs and Fed Ex them to PAE. The webmaster in turn makes his choices and thru some magical means they appear on the nordhavn.com website. We wish you could see them all. There is so much to share. The pictures of this leg will be delivered back to the States by the stabilize tech in early December.

Soon after the latest whale episode on the way to the mainland village we got the attached weather forecast from OMNI Bob soooo we turned 90 degrees to port. We are now off in a race against weather. When further down the road if the weather becomes a problem there are a number to places on the mainland to tuck in to until the weather blows thru. No problema. This is a three day hop so we'll see.


To: Captain Flanders -
M/Y EGRET 1Fm: O.M.N.I./USA1535Z 07 NOV 2006 Captain, thanks for the notes. Thanks for clarifying your next port. (Egret - We had planned to take the near shore route and Bob thought we were going to rhum line to Mar Del Plata) That makes more sense now. Latest observations indicate the weather front has already cleared the Rio de Janeiro area. The northerly 20-23kts in your area are associated with pressure/wind gradient winds ahead of the cold front. Satellite imagery indicates the cold front is to your south at about 22S/lat. The front should work its way across 20S/lat and your position thru this evening, then continue to move east/north on Wed.

The SW-S flow behind the front will develop prior to you reaching the islands south of Rio (Isle de Sao Sebastio?) . It will also take some time for these conditions to build, so you still have some sailing time.

The northerly winds you are experiencing will tend to become more NNW-WNW as the front nears, then shift to the SW-S by midnight tonight. SW-S sea will continue to build slowly through Wed/8th. However, the winds may take a bit longer to increase due to some high pressure expected to ridge NE from Uruguay to Rio through Wed. This ridge pattern and your close coastal track toward Rio, may provide just enough time to get your to those islands prior to conditions becomimg too rough to travel.

The ridge is expected to weaken during Wed/night and SW-S winds will tend to increase into Thur/am, but the strongest winds will tend to remain near 30S/lat. Winds should increase to only the 17-25 range. However, the biggest factor for you will be long SW-S swells that build, likely close to 7-10ft with longer periods of 9-12sec through Wed and Thur.

Please keep us updated with your posn and weather today and Wed. If you can, please advise your posn/weather at 07/18Z and 08/00Z. As we receive updated information, we will use your information when updating the forecast. B/Rgds,
Bob/OMNI

 


November 6, 2006

Just 150nm south of Egret's current anchorage in Brazil's National Park area of Arquipelago Dos Abrolhos (S17 57.87 W38 41.91) is the Vitoria - Trindade Seamount Chain. This chain of seamounts begins just east of the small village of Vitoria extending 660nm eastward to the small island of Ilha Da Trindade. This area is one of the best fishing areas in the world. The target for sportfishermen is the giant blue marlin who arrive in November staying through February. All pelagic fish (open ocean swimmers) are driven by three simple needs: the ability to feed, the ability to stay comfortable (water temperature) and the ability to reproduce. This is similar to we humans, however we complicate it a bit.

The Brazil current sweeps small bait south along the Brazilian coast followed by the ladder chain of predators. If you recall on a previous Voyage of Egret we had several days on the way to Brazil where a bait was put out and almost immediately eaten by dolphin (mahi mahi, called a dorado -golden) in Brazil. These schools of fish were swimming south. Dolphin are one of the mainstays of marlin diet along with tuna. We encountered massive schools of feeding tuna along the route south as well. As the water warms during the austral summer the southward progression of feeding fish are riding the Brazil current southward. At the same time arriving from the south riding the Falkland current north cold water species of baitfish are arriving during the same time. The convergence of both migrating schools of fish is the west to east seamount chain. Huge volumes of water are disrupted by the series of seamounts rising from over 12,000' to less than 300' in a short distance. This concentrates the baits into feeding alleys where all species arrive to gorge during this predictable, yearly magical period.

According to my marlin crazed brother (31 blues to date) the average marlin caught off these seamounts averages over 400 lbs. This is the highest average weight per fish of any kind caught of anywhere in the world. AND there are lots of them. The sport fishery is relatively in its infancy with just a few small local boats for charter and very dedicated American sportfishermen who have expended tremendous effort, expense and time to send their boats this far south. The engines alone will need a rebuild before the trek south and after upon returning. These turbo'd and aftercooled monster engines are thoroughbreds designed for a short but powerful life before rebuilding.

It is the nature of sportfising competition among SERIOUS fishermen to try to outfish their friends and fellow sportfishermen. This is not a serious 'rub their nose in it' for their catches but subtle respect traded among this group of fishing peers who chase the monster blues. As in most venues pure extravagance is frowned upon. Sending your traditional sport fishing boat south for this 3 1/2 month or so marlin bite is so difficult, expensive and logistically complex it borders on the outrageous or pure extravagance.

There is now a way to achieve this fishery goal and others fisheries around the world that makes sense, costs much less than supporting a comparable sportfisherman, will have better resale AND is a concept that is so recognizable by the long distance powerboat crowd it hardly draws attention. This concept is novel among the traditional sportfish crowd but this author thinks it first will attract the forward thinking adventurous sportfishermen. As this group put into practice the simple concept of fishing the drop off's of the world during their seasonal visits by monster fish this fishery will morph into the same type of camaraderie and acceptance we long distance powerboat cruisers enjoy. Because of their range and seasonal travels we cruisers enjoy there will be a friendly commingling of our two adventurous venue's.

If you haven't already guessed we are speaking of the new Nordhavn 75' ocean crossing sportfisherman. Quite a while ago we were asked along with a number of others for our ideas on the q.t. for this secret at the time project. This struck old roots, both hobbies and vocational, so off we went smothering the principals in enthusiasm, details, concepts and so forth. We drew on my brother's affliction with marlin, other friends enthusiasm of scuba diving and our personal love of shallow water fishing in flats boats. The moniker the author put on the project was 'Global Sportsman Series' combining sport fishing, diving and shallow water and estuary fishing. If Egret had the budget (we're a little short folks) we would be right there with offshore tackle, dive compressors in the lazarette, and two flats boats on the fore deck. There would be a fish hold with an Eskimo Ice chipped ice maker, huge freezers for storing the catch to give away to villagers here and there, accommodations for our family and dirt dwelling fishing buddies that would LOVE to fly in here and there. This would be the dream of dreams for the Egret crew. We would think it will be for others with the budget and more global thinking than trekking to and from the traditional fishing hot spots.

After fishing the traditional hot spots like the summer white marlin bite off the US NE, the Bahamas Billfishing Tournament series, St Thomas on the August moon, Puerto Rico for the small marlin bite, Venezuela for the October-November bite off La Guaria, etc, etc we would think this would get boring. Great fun, but been there, done that. With the range and economy of the new sportfish you could literally circle the globe chasing different fishing, diving and cruising venue's. How could you EVER get tired of that and sharing the same with others????

We are sorry to say when we pass through this world hot spot we will be pulling small baits to simply fill Egret's freezer. We don't have the tackle on board or the boat to seriously fight very large fish. We would have to circle the fish as we reported in an earlier Voyage of Egret letting the fish fight the line, not the angler. This exhausts the fish which is fine if fishing for the freezer but when sportfishing it is not fair to the fish. When released after a prolonged light tackle fight even the largest of marlin are susceptible to attack from sharks. We have killed two billfish in our career. A blue marlin and a sailfish, both the first. We never have since or will ever knowingly kill another billfish. To kill a billfish for youthful pride is simply not acceptable these days as it wasn't then.

The large billfish sportfishing crowd is a relatively small and narrow focused group. We hope in time this fishing concept spreads and the orders will flow on the new 'Global Sportsman' sportfisherman. Selfishly we can use the company while Egret and our long distance brothers are 'out there'. Tight lines, mi amigos.


November 4, 2006

The past 24 hours had a few treats and a weather surprise. After the boys did their research they found enough space in the freezer for one more fish. Out went the baits then yes, ho hum, another 20lb dolphin...again! The boys had to stop fishing...again. The Egret crew had fresh dolphin for dinner...again. Tough duty folks. Later in the afternoon we saw a whale leap out of the water five times, tail and all. BIG splash. That is big stuff for the Florida and Colorado folks. While we are talking about swimming critters, we are approaching one of the best fishing areas in the world. The area is the Vitoria - Trindade Seamount Chain. We will do a separate short story on this area.

Egret also hit another milestone with 4600 trouble free engine hours 2 hours before the anchorage. Egret's little Lugger has never missed a beat, EVER. She has the original injectors with all running exhaust manifold temps within a few degrees of each other. Perfect!!!! (a cold or cooler cylinder means an improper spray pattern = less combustion = time to change the injector.)

We didn't mention previously that after putting a rebuild kit into the watermaker high pressure pump and upgrading the hose that blew once again we can make water at will. From a 500 lb. burst pressure hose we have upgraded to an 8000 lb. burst pressure hose (now standard from Matrix). All is well again with that issue.

With the relatively short 600nm or so jaunt to Rio (600nm trek seems like child's play these days after the twenty day crossing) we left in good weather and a surmised promise of trade wind seas. We copy OMNI Bob, Egret's weather router, on our Voyage of Egret writings. Bob taught us another lesson. What we thought and reality are sometimes different. Egret was sailing into a nasty low coming of the coast further south. Bob took the imitative and sent the weather forecast copied below. With this sage advise Egret is taking the smart approach and will hide out in Mary's choice of the Arquipelago Dos Abrolhos. This is a national park and a large diving location off the coast of Brazil surrounded by reefs. No matter where the wind shifts there is an excellent anchorage. As the low moves off the coast we will again head south. Our next planned stop is the island group ninety or so miles south of Rio.

In six to eight weeks the weather and seas associated with this low may be acceptable but as of now we have the time to relax and enjoy the park what every contributor to the cruising guide gave 5 stars. We will delay this Voyage of Egret to give you the exact lat-lon location of the anchorage so you may zoom down and see the anchorage and surrounding small islands/reefs on the Google Earth feature displayed on this website.

To: Captain Flanders - M/Y EGRET 1
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA
1316Z 03 NOV 2006

Captain, thanks for your posn report. Having taken a look at what's ahead, we are sending this forecast based on the expected conditions from Nov 6 and beyond.

Currently, high pressure ridging extends from a high cell near 30S 10W WNW toward 15S 40W. Just south of the ridge, a weather front extends NW across 32S 30W to 22S 40W. Both of these systems should change little through Sat/morning. Thereafter the high ridge should weaken (while remaining stationary) as the high cell moves eastward.

The weather front should remain stationary thru Sun/5th as an area of high pressure SW of front near 37S 46W Sat/eve-night tends to build as it drifts slowly offshore. As this high builds, elongates and accelerates eastward through Mon, it will force the weather front across your location during Mon/6th. Once this occurs pressure/wind gradients are expected to increase south of 22S as a new low center develops near 35S 48W by Mon/eve-night (07/0000Z).

This low is expected to intensify as it moves eastward through Tue-Wed. A new area of high pressure moving east across South America at 40S will combine to produce building rough to even very rough SSE-SSW wind/sea and swell conditions along your current transit during Nov 7-8.

Basis your S-SSW heading at approx 6.5kts toward Mar Del Plata expect:

Fri/03: E-NE 12-18kts. SE & ENE 5-7ft with the ENE more dominant by late in the day.
Sat/04: ENE-NE 10-16kts, occ 18kts. Winds more become more NE-NNE by late in the day. ENE-NE 4-6ft mixing with a SE swell 2-4ft thru day. Sun/05: NNE-NW 12-18kts, chance locally gusty near the front. Shift quickly SW-SSE 10-18kts during Sun/eve-night. Mixed ENE-NE & SE 4-6ft, up to 7ft toward Sun/eve-night. Mon/06: Freshen SE-NE 12-20kt, NE-NNE 22-27kt, gusty during Mon/eve-night. SE-ESE, mixed with ENE 6-8ft. Tue/07: Shift NE-NW 22-25kt, gusty 30kts during Tue/am. Shift NW-SW 20-27kt, gusty thru Tue/eve-night. ENE-NE mixing with SW-SSW 6-8ft, up to 9-10ft toward Tue/eve-night. Wed/08: SW-S, SSE at times 22-27kt, gusty am. up to 25-30kt, gusty pm/hrs. Building SW-SSE 9-12ft thru the day, up to 14-15ft very possible by the pm/hrs.

Based on the above forecast, you may wish to consider seeking port prior to the Sun/night-Mon/am and allow the low center that develops to your south to move offshore and give high pressure time to build to you south. This will provide for easier wind/sea conditions. Watching, updating unless otherwise advised.

B/Rgds,
Bob/OMNI


November 3, 2006

Position: S15 06.28 W38 22.40, Course 199 degrees M, Distance traveled from Salvador, Brazil 129.87nm, average speed at 1500 RPM 6.5 knots, fuel/fuel burn (did not fill tanks to accurately measure fuel), Seas 3-4' swells ENE - 5-7' swells SSE, Distance from Gibraltar 3743.05nm

The seas have subsided since last evening. We now have two wave sets, one from the east and one from the south east. The waves themselves are gentle rollers but occasionally we meet at their convergence and jiggle a bit. Our well researched and highly technical criteria for wave size and direction is how easy or difficult it is to carry a cup of coffee to the pilothouse. Today, no problemo. With no fuel range issues Egret is treating herself to 1500 RPMs giving her better handling than her mile stretching 1350 RPMs. We have found in all but extreme conditions Egret handles better the faster she goes. A dirt dweller comparison is riding a bicycle in soft beach sand. If you go slow you will eventually get the wibble wobbles, crash and burn. If you go fast you will ride on top of the sand but will eventually run out of energy...just like a boat.

Not to be too lengthy in yesterday's Ft Lauderdale boat show wrap up we have two more short items of interest. The first is watermakers, and their parts. In doing research well before taking delivery of Egret we went to the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show to educate ourselves about watermakers. After listening to pitch after pitch we found a common theme in observation: not listening. It appears watermaker manufactures are not reverse osmosis pioneers but assemblers of common parts packaged and marketed in various ways. The membranes come primarily from Dow Corning, the seawater inlet supply pump from various manufactures but seem all to be centrifugal pumps (aka pool pumps), the gauges, knobs and sight glasses appear to be from the same manufacturer and the high pressure pumps are from Cat pumps in Japan. This is generalizing however it fits most of what we observed. We presented this theory to the folks at Matrix Watermakers in Ft Lauderdale, 954 524-5120 matrix-utilities.com, who had a simple high volume watermaker on display along with much larger and complex units. The salesman laughed, dropped his pitch and concurred. He explained what is important is you have stock size membranes, not ones built to an odd size for a specific manufacturer so when replacement is necessary you bleed. The same goes with inlet filters. With that bit of honesty and a killer show price Egret bought her watermaker almost a year before taking delivery. We have 2 1/2" x 40" membranes (standard size) and a simple 5 micron pool filter for our intake filter. This is a simple, Emerald Series, 600 gallon per day watermaker with no gadgets. We do have to go to the effort to turn a knob to select the pressure depending on water temperature/salinity AND have to open and shut a valve to flush the system. That's it. Simple.

We had trouble with our watermaker high pressure pump on the crossing to Brazil due to a chipped washer dealie. Matrix's primary business is very large watermakers for home and industrial use so their small pump parts are limited. Due to our limited time frame the parts manager at Matrix did the right thing and sent us to his competition for immediate parts. A great place for Cat pump parts and a very knowledgeable service tech is at Water Makers, Inc in Ft Lauderdale. Steve Boose is the senior service technician. 954 467-8920, watermakers.com, info@watermakers.com

The second item of interest is what we will call 'the boat that won't die'. This story was prompted by listening to Dan Streetch, PAE President, at the Ft Lauderdale show talking about recent 62 sales. Nordhavn's first effort in powerboat construction from their early primary thrust of building the Mason line of sailboats was the Nordhavn 46. The 46 was fine tuned and polished over their long production life ending with 82 46s built (Egret is #74.) Next came the 62. The - what Egret calls - new design boats, start with the 40II, 43, 47, 55, etc are better boats replacing the early models. These new boats are simply better designed boats than the older designs. Boat building is evolutionary, not revolutionary. The 46 and 62 were designed for maximum fuel efficiency and they are very efficient. All builders build to their market and PAE is no exception. People today want more space, comfort, a more stylish boat to fit the times AND not give up their heritage of being an ocean crossing powerboat.

The 46 was gently set aside as the 47 entered exploding with sales and justifiably so. The 62 is the boat that simply won't die. The 55/64's are a better boat, more gentile, more interior volume, etc., HOWEVER there is something about standing in the pilothouse of a 62 looking over that long fore deck, over your large tenders, and watching her shoulder aside wave after wave. The feeling of power is awesome. The Egret crew spent three weeks pre Nordhavn Atlantic Rally helping friends Bill and Arline Smith from Autumn Wind bring their 62 down from Virginia to Ft Lauderdale for the start of the rally. There was nasty weather offshore. The weather router advised staying in the ditch (Intercoastal Waterway) but after having enough of the inside Bill decided to pop offshore in South Carolina. For the first time we got to see the power of this boat. It is amazing. We never tired of that high bow way out front eating waves like candy. Docking was even easier with wing controls on either side of the Portuguese bridge using the powerful hydraulic bow and stern thrusters. THIS is why the 62 won't die. She has been fine tuned and polished over years making new builds the best 62s yet. THIS is why friends on 62 Grey Pearl are doing a complete refit this coming year (after eight years) preparing for their '08 Pacific adventure. They simply love the 'Pearl'. We believe the 62 will attract buyers for years to come.


November 1, 2006

The Egret crew voyaged from Salvador, Brazil to Ft. Lauderdale for visits to see family, friends and the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. This voyage wasn't at 6.2 knots but a bit faster. Egret will be leaving Salvador on Thursday, November 2, sailing south but that's another story. This edition of Voyage of Egret is our boat show observations and experiences.

After you make the decision to buy your boat, put in some miles and get more comfortable with living aboard, boat shows are another annuity to feed your interest and thirst for more knowledge. For many years boats and boat shows were our vocation but we still can't get enough. We get great pleasure standing back with no venue for the last five years observing trends and workings of different boat design/function sectors vying for business. In the early 90's the Egret crew developed a line of highly specialized small fishing boats. In the spirit of competition and commerce others piled on our toilings riding on our coat tails as others in virtually every industry. This is simply business, however it is frustrating as an owner.

This trend was very evident at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. The latest rages are two different, completely opposite types of boats. The first are the long distance cruiser wannabees...but we will leave that subject alone choosing not to stir that pot. The second is the profusion of the day 'downeast type/picnic type' boats. These boats are beautiful, usually dark blue, some with water jets, some with straight drives but universally were all very expensive. VERY expensive. We don't get it. After the initial pride of ownership and a few short trips, reality sinks in. We have to throw in a big disclaimer now to cover any possibility of perhaps overstating a few discrepancies. These boats don't have the batteries to anchor out night after night without running a generator continually while gunkholing (forget long distance cruising). Part of the expense of building these boats and justifying their cost is their lightweight 'high tech' construction for a couple of extra knots. (As if that matters in the big picture. Leave a few minutes early or run a little late and you get all the 'high tech' speed/time back...) This 'high tech', weight saving nonsense eliminates the weight of a proper house bank of batteries along with the durability needed in case of a grounding (cored bottom vs solid glass). These boats are MARINA QUEENS living on the yellow electrical cord and a garden hose. There is nothing wrong with being a marina queen but this is simply not the independence we long distance cruisers or overnight QUIET (no generator) gunkholers enjoy.

For a great example of a good value and REAL boats were the two junior members of the Nordhavn line, a 40II and the 43 that were on display at the show. These two boats cost a whole lot less than most blue queens, are real quality AND can go somewhere WHEN they want, comfortably albeit slower. In three or so years when so many of the fad boats have little value, these little tanks will do well if owners want to move up. The 43 steals our hearts with their two hundred gallons more fuel than Egret, a proper day tank with reporting tank on top for exactly determining fuel burn giving accurate fuel usage. This is NOT what Egret experienced crossing the Atlantic to Brazil last month using an electronic meter. We drool at the prospects of having our watermaker membranes outside the engine room, a larger lazarette, stand up engine room, etc. This is guy stuff but is truly important in outfitting a boat for long distance cruising or even gunkholing. The ladies will enjoy real galleys, proper refrigeration that works and an easy to clean interior. The large heads and showers are a treat as well. The 55 that was on display at the show is a boat that takes your breath away and costs the same or less than just over 40' blue speedsters from some manufactures. We don't get it...again.

Education in design, construction and function was the single largest obstacle we had to overcome when we were building boats. We tried our best to sell steak, not sizzle. There is a very large difference in similar boats in boat show shiny presentation. Some boats are the real deal, some lesser and some are howling at the moon with their slick ad guys and their salesmen mouthing deeds accomplished by others.

Enough boat building talk. Let us share with you the dynamics of a WONDERFUL evening dinner spent with friends the Thursday during the show. The group included Milt and Judy Baker, Nordhavn 47 owners (Bluewater) crossing the Atlantic next spring to the Med (and looking for company) and Braun Jones, Nordhavn 62 owner (Grey Pearl) shipping back to the States from their post NAR Mediterranean two winter-three cruising season cruise. Grey Pearl is preparing to cross the Pacific in '08 with a group now forming. In addition Egret's good friends Kal and Anita Blumberg, dirt dwellers still working, Eastbay owners and future Nordhavn 47 owners. As the beer and wine flowed, the tempo increased (like that was a surprise). Braun was telling about Pearl's trip from Egypt to Crete shouldering their way through heavy seas; Milt and Judy were hanging on every Med word. The Egret crew was telling how they saw on their weather forecast the thumbprint isobar lines Pearl was experiencing. Egret was waiting for Pearl in Crete then sent a 'we love you guys but not that much' e-mail just before Egret split for Sicily to miss the west bound weather Pearl was driving through. Braun perked up with every tech goodie spoken. Braun is a real hands on guy, Kal and Anita were overwhelmed but were clinging to every word. The enthusiasm from all was contagious. It is difficult for you reading these words to comprehend the friendship and closeness from this group sharing experiences. There was no oneupmanship, no 'my weather was rougher than yours'. This group is WAY beyond that. Experiences flowed as the evening progressed but you get the point. We simply enjoyed sharing our sea stories with others who REALLY understood and appreciated the different experiences.

Now for the post dinner story. The next evening Kal called his business partner saying in 3 1/2 years he is 'outta here'. After that, they intend to coastal cruise for a year following the sun, work for another year or so somewhere (his profession allows for him to work anywhere) then head out full time. This long distance cruising is contagious. It will change their lives from their current frantic pace to a simple life the rest of us enjoy. Being a good friend it was fun watching the Blumbergs catch hold of the cruising bug after Egret sailed away. Perhaps some day we'll be together fishing again, but next time it won't be South Florida. Perhaps the Seychelles, New Zealand, Papa New Guinea, Great Barrier Reef, Sea of Cortez...etc. In 3 1/2 years life will change for the Blumbergs to somethng simpler, more peaceful. They think they know. We DO know. We are happy for them.