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"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders

Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret documents the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now. “Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.  

November 28, 2007
Position: Ushuaia, Argentina...on the dock
Nov 14

Well, mis amigos, Egret is still on the dock, our Kiwi friends have arrived from the north (Puerto Montt, Chile), we are waiting for the fuel issue to be resolved and the cruise ship Explorer hit ice and sunk near the Antarctic Peninsula. This is the short version of Egret's past week.

Nothing is easy for any of us here in the Deep South. The Kiwis are planing an Antarctica - South Georgia Islands - Falklands Islands - Ushuaia trip. We are loaning them our set of charts with hand written notes from our meetings with local professional captains, along with letting them copy all of our notes, anchorage drawings and so on. (If they weren't so experienced with two circumnavigators and two more many-miles cruisers as crew, we wouldn't let them have the material...its a risky trip and we wouldn't want to encourage chance taking.) They are plodding through New Zealand bureaucracy for their official permission. In the end they are going uninsured, something we were not willing to do. Tough decision there. They have a beautiful 55' steel sloop that has some real value. (Their next boat may well be a used, late model Nordhavn 46 - but first things first.) In the end they may explore the other two islands and skip Antarctica if they don't get permission.

Fuel has become a big issue here. The main (only) fuel dock has shut down for small boats like Egret. Diesel is also in short supply as well going up in price (like everywhere). So, today will be spent trying to fuel the best way we can. Because fuel in Chile is nearly double in price we are not only filling Egret's main tanks, but also her jerry jugs and fuel bladders. (We bought jerry jugs for kerosene to mix with diesel for our diesel heater during the coldest days of winter.) We will have nearly 275 gallons of extra fuel on deck for the Chilean Channels trip north. After fueling in the next few days we'll say our goodbyes and be off.

The shock waves here in Ushuaia are still radiating from the cruise ship Explorer sinking. Ushuaia's main source of revenue is from the Antarctic cruise ship trade. Lots of 'what if's' and guessing going on here on the dock where the commercial sailboats reap most of their income from Antarctic trips. Fortunately the weather was kind and there was no one lost from the sinking. A day later and perhaps there would be another story to tell.

The early season cruising boats are pouring in to Ushuaia. The dock is jammed (picture 1). We are still getting some northerlies from time to time making dock dwelling tough. (Egret has been on the dock 2 weeks waiting on fuel.) Twice we have gotten scrapes from the steel dock bollards with the spring highs (tides) and north wind. (AFASyN's dock faces E/W.) The water rises to within inches of the top of the dock. Early this morning YT took our grinder and put a bull nose (rounded the pipe) on top of the steel pipe bollard. (The pipe was mushroomed from being set with a pile driver.) It also doesn't help to have a boat rafted outside adding their windage to the issue. Within a couple weeks the harbor will be jammed. As much as we would like to meet the Class of '07-'08, we'll be off. Picture 2 is part of the seasonal bird migration arriving/passing through. These are Cauquen (Upland Geese). A few winter over but the majority have arrived in the past few weeks.

Perhaps the next VofE we'll be under way. We'll see. Ciao

(Note: 39 years ago today my child bride and I walked down the isle in Ft Lauderdale. We left on our honeymoon and first adventure in our 1959 Porsche convertible. We haven't stopped since. What a great trip its been with MS (my sweetie). I wish you the same happiness.)


November, 20, 2007
Position: Ushuaia, Argentina, at the dock

No photos this VofE. PAE's webmeister is on vacation in Mexico with poor internet connection. Next time.
Well, mis amigos, lots going on and lots to report. For our American compadres, Happy Thanksgiving! In the first VofE since returning home to
Ushuaia, we alluded to some not so great news. Lets get that out of the way and move on to the positive. It is our goal to always give you real deal information, not smoothed over niceties, so we paint a realistic picture of long distance cruising, what it is and isn't.
First, our cruising friends living aboard their 46' Grand Banks in Malariaville, Panama had to cancel their trip to the Deep South, not from the expected malaria or yellow fever but dengue fever. In addition their little puppy child, Cocobear, was stricken with some malady as well so they had to turn in their tickets to Ushuaia. They even bought thermal undies along with an inflatable palm tree for a set up photo including umbrella drinks sitting in the snow above Caleta Olla's glacier (Chile). That picture would have rocked their feverish, sweat stained cruising buddys back in Malariaville. On a positive note for them, they are returning to Cartagena, Columbia, for a six months stay. Cartegena is one of the cruising world's tar pits. Cruisers get there and stick, they enjoy it so much.

Second, one of the reasons we wintered in Ushuaia and nearby Chile was to prepare for an unannounced (on VofE) Antarctic trip. We gave the project nine full months of effort. Antarctica is not a trip to take lightly. There is a LOT to learn and it is not a game. There are no cruising guides, the charting is non existent (some charts areas are large white blanks) and islands shown are often miles off. This said we did our due diligence talking with two private sailboats who made the trip but more importantly getting help from a number of local (to Ushuaia) adventure charter sailboats. (This information only comes after some time after they get to know you) We collected the unobtanium, hand drawn charts of anchorages, learned of ice movement, holding (basically non existent), where to take lines ashore (every anchorage but one), wind and weather and so forth. All of this and of course you have to cross 600nm of the Drake Passage between Cape Horn and the Antarctic Peninsula. Staging south of Cape Horn, where we staged before our Cape Horn rounding, you wait for weather watching the grib files and reading OMNI Bob's weather reports. The strategy is to leave running hard in just bad weather (not awful) to arrive in somewhat decent weather. After doing our due diligence we feel Egret could safely, but not easily, visit Antarctica without serious incident. PAE's Jim Leishman signed up for the trip after his visit for the Cape Horn rounding this past January. Jim was still as excited about joining Egret when we laid the whole thing out at the recent Ft Lauderdale boat show.
We are two thirds of the way through the bureaucratic process to obtain official permission from the U.S. Government. Now for the kicker. Egret is insured through Al Golden's Jackline Policy at International Marine Insurance Services (IMIS) as are most of our NAR cruising buddys. If it weren't for Al, Egret wouldn't have been able to make the Argentine/Chile trip in the first place. IMIS's underwriter is Markel. Markel would only insure Egret at 50% coverage for the Antarctic trip making Mary and I effectively co-insurers. There are a number of complicated issues here but one of the bottom lines is, if we lost Egret, and the balance that is not insured, it would affect our ability to cruise at the level we are able to enjoy. This said, Al is a bulldog. At the Ft Lauderdale boat show we met with Al personally. He mentioned a new and different underwriter so we gave that a go. This underwriter agreed to insure Egret fully but with exclusions that didn't work for us. Still not giving up, Kiwi friends got insurance for their steel sloop to visit Antarctica this coming season. We pursued that avenue but the bottom line there was, if it sounds to good to be true - it is. After a little Google research we confirmed that. So, after this big discourse, bottom line is Egret is leaving the Deep South without visiting the Very Deep South. It breaks our hearts but it is what it is.

Now for the positive news. It is a big world with a lot to see. The trip north through the Chilean Channels will be the most demanding cruising we have done to date. Weather in Ushuaia and a little further west is tempered by the mountains. (You know by now the most severe weather are westerlies south of 40 degrees south latitude. Ushuaia is at 54+ degrees south latitude) Cape Horn gets over 200 days a year with 50+ knots of wind. So does the lower west coast of Chile. We already know electronic charting is poor in much of the areas we need to travel being of 'world map' accuracy. In the past on VofE we have shown the little green boat (Egret) being 1 1/3nm off actual position and well ashore. We'll actually HAVE to navigate. Mary and I are of the GPS age and simply aren't navigators like the sailors of old and perhaps a few of the present. With the wonderful Italian guide (written by Italians) Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide, as a resource, the Chilean book of all their paper charts in a reduced size, U.S. DMA charts, cruise ship directions and so forth we'll lay out each day's run a few days in advance. So, along with these resources, using radar, depth finder, common sense, eyesight and so forth we should be fine moving when weather allows (daylight hours only) staying tucked up into the trees with lines ashore to the west when it isn't. And so it will go. We plan to do a daily log, then post it every so many days. We'll include the bueno (good) and not so bueno. You'll be with us the entire trip. After reaching Puerto Montt at the northern end of the Chilean Channels we have some more exciting stuff to announce. Fasten your seat belts, we're going to have an exciting ride to New Zealand.

In the meantime we are loading Egret to the max with enough canned goods, staples and so on to reach New Zealand. We're not forgetting the vino. Why pay the Frenchies in Tahiti five times the amount we pay for excellent Argentine wine and so on. Already Egret is so heavily loaded she is sitting on her lines. What's going to happen when we take on almost 7000 lbs of> fuel? We'll see. Ciao.

Note: Like last year, we encourage serious VofE readers to purchase the Italian guide we mentioned above. (700+ pages, comprehensive area history, photo's, over 400 detailed anchorage drawings, and all anchorages we choose, etc) First, it gives a little payback for the Ardrizzi's monumental 10 year
effort to furnish a guide that serves the minuscule number of boats that visit the Deep South each year. Secondly, we will list every anchorage and other detail by page number and reference number at the top of each VofE during the 2+ months of Egret's voyage north thru the channels. Combining the Italian guide along with VofE and Doug Harlow's Google Earth's overheads of the anchorages (on each VofE posting) you will be as close to reality cruising as you may possibly be without getting cold, windblown or lost. www.capehorn-pilot.com Available from Bluewater Books in Ft Lauderdale and others.



November 14, 2007
Position: Ushuaia, Argentina

Nov 14

Well, mis amigos, long time no VofE. MS (my sweetie) and I left Ushuaia for the States over a month ago to visit family, friends, make the doctor rounds and attend the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show. YT's (yours truly)father is still doing well living in his retirement complex. Our oldest son, Scott Jr, is doing well but like everywhere in So Florida the cost of living rises yearly making it tough. What he needs is a lovely lady to share his life. 38, good looking, great job but most importantly a great guy. Ft. Lauderdale phone book. OK, enough pimping for our son.
We visited our other son in Bangkok, Thailand on a whirlwind 8 day trip. We spent 3 days enjoying a Gulf Of Thailand resort on a small national park island. (we needed the salt water fix). It's still amazing that such a short time ago our little barefoot snake catcher was running around the yard and now he has his own lovely wife and little guy. Pictures 1 & 2 (Mary was 31 in that picture - she looked like a child.)

The doctors pronounced us well and fit as they NEED TO. We certainly don't want any interruptions in our cruising. Don't have the time. Since cruising, we seldom get sick including the sniffles. We breath cleaner air, eat better food and get lots of exercise.

OK, OK, lets move on to boat stuff. We all have similar family stories but I doubt if any of you are lying at the dock in 26 knots of wind with a steel Polish sailboat rafted off the starboard side. It is a bit different from most lives. So boat stuff it is. Ft Lauderdale Boat show: Before and at the boat show we met Nordhavn Atlantic Rally buddies from N62 Autumn Wind, N47 Bluewater, N57 Goleen, N62 Grey Pearl, and N47 Strictly For Fun. Autumn Wind is wintering in Ft Lauderdale, Bluewater (Med Bound 2007) and Goleen are in the Med, Grey Pearl and Strictly For Fun are working on their Alaska trip from the U.S. east coast. (Strictly is under way at this time for Panama) Those two boats are part of a larger group assembling for the Alaska trip then off to the South Pacific the next year.

At the Nordhavn Owners party Fri night we met several owners to be with boats on order. It was a pleasure to see the excitement, anticipation and a little trepidation as they move toward their delivery date on the faith that if others can do it, so can we. Its like building a house as we did as owner-builders in 1985. Emotions all over the chart with highs and lows at bits of news, good and not so good. In the end when the sniffles are worked through you have a beautiful home. Again, like building a house, you can make it as easy or as hard on yourself as you see fit. We took the easy way (no micro-managing) and were happy, both with our home and boat. The Nordhavn publication Circumnavigator III is out. We saw our first copy at the boat show. For any of you with a little white fiberglass ship in your future, this is a very worthwhile magazine. CNIII is a high gloss, beautifully finished publication with the expected sales agenda, however perhaps the best sales tool is stories by owners who relay their thoughts of the cruising life. We all learn from each other. These stories and others direct most everyone's cruising itinerary subconsciously or directly. Even after the years of dreaming before retirement and in the five+ years since we still are excited by stories like these. Just plain folks doing their deal, shaking a bit of salt, seeing the world and living The Life. CNIII is available for a free download on the nordhavn.com website. Hard copies, recommended, are also available from PAE.

While at the boat show we visited the Lugger folks. My main question was injectors. Egret has 5416 hours on her little Lugger AND with the original injectors. With the small engine's (140HP) minimal fuel burn we are able to feed her 2 micron filtered fuel. All of the exhaust temperatures are nearly the same (measured with an infrared temp gun at the exhaust manifold) after the engine has been running for several hours. (Low temps on a single cylinder mean a poor injector spray pattern - less combustion so less heat). The engineer's opinion was "all's well so let's go another couple thousand hours". Sooo, we'll change injectors in New Zealand a year from now. We made a mistake at the show and went by the Aere (inflatable fenders) booth. More American pesos spent. Before leaving on the NAR we bought 4 of the 12" X 72" fenders arranging them horizontally for Med mooring (worked perfect). Here in the Deep South we use those fenders vertically because of the poor dock condition and 6'+ tides. Along with those we use two F8 Polyform fenders (15" X 58") and two smaller hole through the middle fenders (ripped apart at the dock during a storm). Mary does the fender and dockline work. The F8's work great but are heavy and difficult to store. Soooo, we took advantage of the 20% boat show discount and bought two, 18" X 42", Aere fenders to replace the Polyforms (the usable length is about the same). After leaving the Deep South we'll deflate the fenders and store them in the dinghy. Deflated they take up no room and don't add to high weight. AND, they are patchable. Win - win. (Aere fenders - www.praktek.com) If you opt for fender covers on these or other fenders DO NOT use sumbrella material as we did initially. Sumbrella is abrasive. Since typing this VofE early this morning a later e-mail from Bluewater mentioned they have a mix of Aere and Nautica (the inflatable boat people) inflatable fenders. The Nautica may be better being hayplon vs pvc of Aere. I will say the Aere have worked well for us in extreme conditions.
Milt Baker (Bluewater) also brought up the FUBAR rally. The FUBAR has departed San Diego for their trek down the Baja peninsula and are still underway. According to Milt's inside info the group is divided into thirds: no experience, some experience and very experienced. For many they will be doing their first overnighter, 2 day and so on. 54 boats. What great fun. One boat in particular I read about, a N43 has sold everything, moved aboard and is using the rally as the kickoff to their long distance adventure. Perhaps others are as well. Well done!! There are several blogs being written on the FUBAR. Two I know of are available thru the nordhavn.com website. (Check out http://www.nordhavn.com/news/pressrelease/fubar.php)
A couple of months ago, during lead acid battery equalizing (long story - bottom line - buy AGM's), I 'sparked' a battery cable. At the same time the Simrad wind instrument quit working. To make a long story short we sent the wind wand and transceiver (brain) back to Simrad. I told them the sparking tale and expected the brain to be bad with a grande bill to buy a new one. It turns out it was the wind wand that had quit. After 6+ years they replaced the wind wand for a nominal charge of around $75.00, a $700 retail piece. Needless to say I was thrilled. Simrad also turned it around in a few days after I explained our circumstance of being Stateside a short time. This is my third similar experience with Simrad. Simrad will get my business forever!!.

Before leaving Ushuaia we sold our spare handheld GPS to a Brit sailboater whose GPS had failed. We keep our primary handheld GPS in a bracket reading thru the pilot house window with a splitter adapter - 12V plug, 9 pin adapter. This little GPS has never missed a beat in over 5 years. (We also have 2 built in GPS's connected with a crossover switch) It lets us run a second laptop with navigation software in conjunction with the main navigation computer. We duplicated this set up at the show so we can run the main navigation computer (on the opposite side of the pilothouse)...just in case, just in case, etc. Garmin 76 GPS, Garmin part # 010-10300-00 mounting bracket and Garmin part #010-10165-00 PC interface cable with 12V adapter. You will also need a 9 pin to USB adapter.
My personal concern in boating issues is not grounding, storms, engine failure or so forth. It is lightning. Lightning strikes are luck of the draw and unpredictable but fortunately, uncommon. Because of the possibility of a lightning strike over the years, particularly in mid-latitudes, we carry an obscene amount of redundancy. Our routine is to put spare laptops, GPS's, Iridium phone and so forth in the microwave and oven when in a lightning storm. We also remove our two radars from the panel with little trouble to disconnect the cabling in the back. On arrival back in Ushuaia, Egret was swinging on her mooring in 25 knots of wind and horizontal snow. Her batteries were topped up, thanks to solar panels. Everything was as we left her except for 6 weeks of dirt. The locals said the weather was the worst during October than in recent years. A good time to be gone!! So now starts the process of getting ready to leave the Deep South. In the next VofE we'll give you our intended itinerary, at least for this 5 minutes, the good news, the not so good news and so forth.

We'll leave you with a story about our new heroes. On the last page of Circumnavigator III is an inspirational story about a couple who have been married over 50 years, are less than 3 years away from their eightieth birthdays and have been cruising Central America, Galapagos, have transited the Panama Canal and are enjoying the Bahamas. The Stockons bought their N50 - La Vagabunda del Mar (Wanderer of the Sea) in 1999 and have been cruising since. There is hope for us all mis amigos.

It's good to be back home. Ciao.

 

 

 

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