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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.  

October 22, 2009
Position: Ft Lauderdale suburbs

Crikey dix mis amigos, the Egret crew is back in Florida. After our Bangkok visit it was off to London visiting sailboat friends we first met in Argentina. We did the tourist bit taking the tube downtown and touring the usual sights. Of course we hit St Catherine's Docks first. This was our first visit to St Catherine's and could see how little the basin itself has changed from ye old tymes. Snugged in for the winter was an N43, Seceur. Later after visiting the N office in Southampton we read in Circumnavigator Magazine where Secur cruised Denmark before arriving in St Catherine's. We had a great London visit with the Pen Azen crew (Ian and Judy). Our first outing together was visiting an American sailboat we both met in Ushuaia (Arg). Mallard is now wintering in Brighton on the English Channel. This couple has come a long way from teaching school to world cruisers. As mentioned we took a second trip to the coast and visited Pen Azen on the hard and later a stop by the N office in Southampton. We had a nice visit with Neil Russell and crew. The Southampton office has only been open a few years. We were surprised how many boats they sold during this short time. It appears the Europeans have been taking advantage of the strong Euro and quality of lifestyle change a new boat brings.

After to short a time in London it was off to Florida. We are staying with many year friends from the old car racing days. Here it has been a whirlwind of family, friends, doctor visits (all is well - clean air and no stress says a lot) and sightseeing. Mary is up north visiting relatives and YT is heading to the Fla Keys this weekend for a bit of reminiscing and fishing. Next week starts the boat show and soon after we'll be back home. Word from New Paige back in Nelson says Egret is doing just fine.

While Mary is up north we had time to spend reading the various N type websites. On the popular N Dreamers Yahoo Groups site, there is a recurring theme of the costs of cruising, mechanical complexity, spares and so on. So we'll rise to the bait and put in our two centavos worth. Understand first of all this is based on Egret's budget (small when compared to most N owners) but most importantly it is based on FACT of our experiences (alone, not others) in the past eight years, not hypothetical. Cost of cruising. You spend what you have. We can't put it more simply and accurately than this. If you are a no refrigeration sailboat and have $600/month to spend, you will. If you have more, you will. To give you a little help, Egret's largest single expense each year these past few years is plane fare to and from the States or Thailand to see our family and friends. It is NOT fuel, dockage (we don't dock except while wintering), food, boat insurance, health insurance or whatever. We have three fixed expenses each year; boat insurance, health insurance and boat registration (Egret is registered in the British Virgin Islands as a foreign corporation). The balance is simply living.

In the past couple years Egret had a few, more than usual, repair expenses connected to the 2006 passage down the Argentine coast and its weather. The wing engine ingested water and was rebuilt in Ushuaia, Arg. We had it rebuilt properly in New Zealand during the past few weeks. The generator also needed a valve job after not being able to properly load it while spending 15 months in the Deep South.Each year we haul and paint the bottom ourselves, change the zincs and do the usual underwater maintenance along with a bit of buffing. Replacing parts or system parts during the past eight years has been minimal. Here is a list of repairs/replacements other than routine engine maintenance we experienced: we replaced/rebuilt 4-5 fresh (drinking/showering) water pumps, 1 (of 2) watermaker membranes, one shower sump pump, once rebuilt the generator raw water pump (ourselves), replaced 3 OEM sea water strainers (no longer used by PAE), rebuilt the watermaker pump head, replaced the wing and generator injectors (not needed in either case......long story), rebuilt the 12V DC Naiad cooling pump (this is our in-line backup pump, the main Naiad cooling pump is a 115V March air conditioner pump (LC3CP MD 115) that has never failed or required maintenance), replaced several joker valves in the master toilet (12V Raritan Atlantes fresh water flush) and replaced a 2 amp circuit breaker and electrical board in the generator. You can see we're really scratching here but you get the picture. By living aboard full time and not letting the boat sit we have little to replace or complain about except for batteries. Bottom line there: buy Lifeline AGM's.

We don't consider additions to Egret as maintenance but capital expenditures/improvements. The more expensive additions since new are: paravanes added in Turkey, Naiad upgrade from hydraulic controls to electronic Multi Sea II (the difference is amazing), a new round of anchors, a new dinghy and two outboards, replaced the Sub Zero's (fridge & freezer) with 12V Isotherms and a larger 50/60 cycle battery charger. We just bought a new inverter/charger to replace our spare unit that is not programmable. We lost 2 inverter/chargers to unusual circumstances we won't go in to but it won't happen to you.Labor expenses. Until we reached New Zealand we paid exactly ONE (1) hours labor since new except for the botch job rebuilding the wing in Argentina. We are NOT mechanics by trade but did have a bit of mechanical background from the car days and other boat days. This said, when we needed REAL mechanical help, instead of trying to go outside our comfort zone we paid REAL mechanics to do what we couldn't. Lets look at the big picture. We highly recommend taking baby steps before heading offshore. During this time you will be close to professional help if need be. We recommend instead of taking the easy way out, try to fix whatever yourself. It has been our experience the big things don't break. It is the little nuisance items like a hose leak, fresh water pump failing and so on that needs attending. A fresh water pump is two hoses and two wires. It is simple to take a new pump from spares and replace it. NOW, take the pump apart and see what is wrong with it. Usually it is simply just goo holding the valves open. This is a simple clean and put back together job. After a couple years of thisa and that's your confidence will be high and you are on your way. Another thing you will find, one of your best sources of help is your fellow cruisers. We all share information and most cruisers enjoy helping. This is particularly true with the long distance crowd.

Complexity of systems. (my only personal experience is N62 and down) When you first get your boat it is intimidating to venture into your engine room......... ALONE. Yikes!! It happens to us all. In our case I took the time to figure out what each item was and labeled it with 3M blue tape (don't even think of using cheap brown tape). Some of those labels are still there today. I wrote cheat sheets and posted them all over the engine room how to do this and that. The generator sound shield still has the nut size for removing the raw water pump and its little tricks along with the instructions on how to replace the generator belt and sequence of loosening/tightening the alternator bolts written in magic marker on the side. Don't worry what someone may think if they see your notes. It is more important to take care of yourself than look cool. Take the time to write the oil change hours on the oil filter when you replace them. Same for Racor filter elements (blue tape) and secondary fuel filters. In time this becomes automatic. You'll learn quickly to put a zip lock bag under the oil filter when you drop it off the main during routine maintenance. Our sailboat friends in London have it figured out and he was a LAWYER (gasp). If a lawyer can do it, anyone can. In a nutshell, thousands and thousands have gone to sea. Few were mechanics and most survived (giggle).

Spares: We carry LOTS of spares aboard Egret. If we were coastal cruising we would have about 20% of what we carry today. If we were doing a 25 degree to 25 degree circumnavigation we would have about 75%. Only because of higher latitude cruising did we add the additional gear. We have NEVER replaced a big piece, ever. Egret's happy little Lugger has NEVER missed a beat. Her entire maintenance has been nothing more than fuel filters, oil and filters, a few air filters and two serpentine belts. We recently replaced the original injectors after 7000+ hours.Other than routine maintenance items our most used spares have been small size pipe fittings, Whale type fresh water fittings and hose, and smaller screws. Our most used larger items are fresh water pumps. Egret uses inexpensive fresh water pumps and are easily replaceable. We carry at least two new, or good as new in stock. It would be too much to list Egret's spares in a VofE but perhaps someday we'll take the time to list the inventory.

When we ordered Egret we didn't have a plan. Period. We knew that we would probably head up to the Chesapeake for the summer after retiring and winter in the Bahamas. And we did. We had NO plans to go offshore or anywhere else for that matter but would take it as it came. Our loose (probably never to be) idea was to go thru the Canal and up to Alaska. The problem with cruising, it is not really a problem but reality, is we are all easily led. We learn as we go and are fed these delicious stories by other cruisers and dreams and destinations take shape. Some we follow thru and some we don't. The same goes for the boat and boat equipment. We all have perceived plans and needs (equipment) but in the end what we evolve to is a moving target.So lets get to the point. We didn't know what we were going to do or go for sure but we did plan on spending most of our remaining healthy lives cruising. In our financial case we couldn't afford to make a mistake, particularly on a new build. So in the end we opted to buy a boat that could do anything or go anywhere we wished. This was important to us as well as the back end resale. It took YEARS to get to the point to where our cruising pattern was somewhat defined and what we perceived as the perfect boat for our usage. What cruising Egret has evolved to is almost an immeasurable percentage of what the rest of the cruising community actually does, not dreams about. I'll say this again for the record; what Egret does is not any better than coastal cruising or any other cruising, it is just different and suits us. Fortunately during this evolution we made the right choice in boats.

Now lets look at hull efficiency, system efficiency and the business of the business of boat building. First and foremost a builder needs to build a boat that sells, not what they or you may perceive as the ultimate in efficiency. (I'll only speak of N's here). N's first venture away from sail was the N46. Next came the N62. Both of these boats are the most efficient N designs to date until the new motorsailor. Both are dead items. Why? BUYERS today want more space and amenities. The word buyers is key. So the PAE folks, like any builders, have to build what sells. Fortunately for all of you what PAE builds today will do exactly what the N46 or 62 will do, but admittedly less efficiently. In the big picture 99% that cruise differently than Egret and a few others just have to run the gen a bit more on anchor or burn a bit more fuel underway. So if the life of your cruising that particular less efficient design take another thousand hours of generator burn a year or a bit more fuel underway, so what? In the end what matters most is the freedom cruising brings, lack of stress, clean air and the rest of the reasons we go cruising.

The two biggest problems folks have today are commitment (to do the deal) and docklines. It is not efficiency. Once you make the commitment the only problem left are docklines. The many lame excuses not to throw off the docklines are most cruiser's biggest problem. It is not repairing this n that, navigation, grounding, anchoring, problems at sea or any movement related issues. Once you are moving and have some sea miles, months at anchor, THEN think about solar panels and more efficient other items to fine tune how you now cruise. In case those of you reading this think we think everyone has the budget or time to do the above (and you may not) read on. This is a posting from Milt Baker (N47-32 Bluewater) on the Nordhavn Dreamers Yahoo Groups site (posting # 3104). This is sage advice from someone who is well qualified to give advice:

Re: Dreamers Should Not Wait Circumnavigators Lin and Larry Pardey have spent their lives living and cruising in small boats. They got it right when they said this in one of their early books:

"Go small, go simple, go now!"

Cruising in a Nordhavn is terrific, a truly wonderful experience. But it isn't necessary or even desirable to wait until you can afford a Nordhavn to go cruising. Buy a smaller, simpler boat as your "learning boat," and spend time fixing her up, maintaining her, and, most of all, gaining experience cruising her. If you buy a quality brand in good repair to start with, your efforts will be repaid many times over and you'll gain the experience to (a) pick a better Nordhavn (new or used) when the time comes, (b) become self-sufficient operating and maintaining your Nordhavn, and (c) truly enjoy your cruising your Nordhavn far and wide.

Judy and I bought our first yacht, a Tupperware 22-footer, more than 30 years ago. Since then, we've owned a three sailing yachts and four motor yachts and have cruised them near and far, a total of over 100,000 miles. We've made just about every mistake a cruiser can make but we've enjoyed the trip and it's been a great and learning experience. By the time we could afford a Nordhavn we had a well-defined and tightly focused idea what we wanted in an ocean-crossing power boat and how it ought to be outfitted. Since taking delivery of Bluewater four years ago, we've tested her on intracoastal, coastal and offshore passages, cruised the Bahamas and the Caribbean, crossed an ocean, cruised the Eastern Seaboard and the Mediterranean, and four years later are still happily cruising the boat six months a year. We've put about 22,000 miles and 3,300 engine hours on her and we look forward to a lot more.

In case the message of this little sermon isn't clear, let me be succinct. Don't wait for the perfect boat because it exists only in your mind. If you cannot afford a Nordhavn, buy another good yacht that you can afford, then get out there and start cruising. Do that and you and your admiral will likely learn a great deal and enjoy the experience. If you do enjoy it like so many of us do, you'll find a way to work your way up to larger, more capable yachts. If you don't, you're not out much money!

But if you don't get out there and do it sooner rather than later, you're putting the whole dream at risk. So get moving!

--Milt Baker, Nordhavn 47 Bluewater, Hilton Head Island, SC

And there you have it, a few more days in The Life and cruising as we see it. Ciao.

 

Date: October 5, 2009
Position: Somewhere in a London suburb

This VofE started life as a tongue in cheek stab at advertising guru's using smoke, mirrors and sizzle to flog boats. However, there is a serious side to cruising as well. I'm sure by now every normal person, who watches the idiot box, has seen gruesome details of the aftermath chronicling the recent tsunami in the South Pacific. We haven't watched TV but have watched updates via internet news. We received two e-mails from friends forwarding first hand yachtie news from Pago Pago, American Samoa. Egret spent 2 weeks in Pago Pago (Panga Panga) last year on her way across the Pacific. We are familiar with the locations mentioned in a copied account from a cruiser sent to friends of friends in Florida which I've included at the end of this post. Shortly after the tsunami announcement we received a VofE Forum Request from a UK boater to be. Check it out here as part of your, and our, education of what to do if water unexpectedly and rapidly falls out from under your boat. We followed yachtie reports from the tsunami of a few years ago that so devastated a wide geographic area from Sri Lanka, to Thailand, Malaysia and smaller island groups. Just a few months ago we talked to a cruiser anchored in Fiordland, New Zealand when a smaller earthquake created a localized tsunami that left them aground then returning water swept them into the rocks. We reported this on VofE during our winter cruise. Fortunately this is an extremely rare event affecting cruisers, but if it happens to you perhaps this will give you some insight on what to do.

On a happier note, while in BKK (Bangkok) we bought a copy of Passagemaker Magazine. You know who read it cover to cover while eating ice cream with the family, while riding back to the house at night (didn't do well there), and finally finishing it late in the evening. Having lived this life for a while, and after reading between the lines of various boat ad proclamations featuring great deeds, I see an obvious attempt at numerous 'slickster' advertising innuendos linking headlines proclaiming these great deeds to various boats, or boat owners in association. In case after case, headlines had nothing to do with factual reality. To be kind and not upset anyone, we won't mention any specifics. There were so many of these lame attempts in page after page it caused me to take the time and write this little rant. I personally don't think boats represented in these ads are necessarily poor designs or construction because they are not. It is simply misleading advertising (in my opinion). However, if you are serious about the business of purchasing a boat, or taking a boat you already own and trading up, it pays to read the ads you are interested in thoroughly and not mix facts with what we ALL WANT to read. (None of this is any reflection on PMM or any other magazine for that matter. They print what is presented.)

During our early years reading PMM we read every word of every article* trying to glean information that was useful to us. We WANTED to read about deeds we mentioned above. Even then we took the time to separate fact from haze. This is simply food for thought.

*To this day aboard Egret we have EVERY article cut from each PMM issue (from issue #1) that was interesting or useful to us. We have the articles arranged in separate folders; geographic areas around the world, interesting, weather, technical, food and health. We also have the same, included in the same folders, from Cruising World (a U.S. sailboat magazine). A good example, during our upcoming trip research before leaving New Zealand we'll get out the NZ - West and the Africa folder.

So there you have it. A sad tale* from the South Pacific and a cheeky slap at slickster advertising. * All cruisers feel for other's misfortune. Universally we don't think it will happen to us and rarely will. Nevertheless we still feel for those affected.

Check out these ads. Just words, that's all. These ads remind me of something we just read. You get the picture.

This lady just returned from completing her third circumnavigation*. She is currently cruising eastern Thailand. *of the local waterway. (Not exactly what the headline indicated but not an untrue statement.)
This well traveled boat comes complete with spares and is ready to take you anywhere you wish. This proven design has been fine tuned over the years producing this remarkable example of contemporary local craft. Owner selling for health reasons. (Buying this boat would heal the owner right up.)
This lovely traditional boat is still being used commercially. She is however, regrettably for sale. With a little imagination this boat could fulfill your dreams. Price reflects condition. (check out the keywords......lovely (appeals to women), traditional (appeals to purists), commercially (built tough), regrettably (indicating a deal), imagination (you know you can do it), price (appeals to greed).

(forwarded e-mail) WOW! What a day!

This morning (six hrs ago) we were shaken awake by an earthquake which seemed to have no end! We were aboard Gallivanter and tied side-to a big concrete dock in the heart of Pago Pago, American Samoa. And after living up & down the California coast, I knew this was no minor tremor.

After the rude awakening, Cath & I walked across the dock and chatted with a few of our fellow sailors, one of whom said that he's just done a Google search on "recent earthquakes" and said that it measured-in at 8.1 and the epicenter was only 120 miles distant.

We returned to Gallivanter and I turned on our laptop and searched the same website. Sure enough there it was... "8.1 earthquake - American Samoa - 20 minutes ago". I clicked on the "Show Map" option and noticed the epicenter was located south west of Pago Pago... which is located on the southern side of the island.

Just as I was considering the ramifications of that little fact... all hell started breaking loose! Our boat was on the move! My first reaction was to start the engine and dash up on deck to see what was going on. I witnessed the water around us was rapidly dropping! Rapidly! In a blink of an eye, we were on the bottom and the boat was falling away from the dock! Three of our big dock lines popped and we fell right over into the mud - the entire basin we had been floating in only moments ago had completely drained! People were screaming!

Next - the water came flooding back in at an even more alarming rate and the next thing I knew we were floating directly above the dock! Over the concrete slab and drifting toward a young lady we knew (from another boat) who was desperately hugging a power pole and up to her chin in swirling water! I told Cath to cut the two remaining dock lines with our serrated bread knife and to be quick about it!

Right as I put the boat into gear, we were somehow washed back off the dock and into the basin as I advance to full throttle and we accelerated through a floating debris field of floating docks, fuel drums, sinking boats, a shipping container and a barnicle encrusted wreck all of which were spinning in the torrent of rapidly dropping sea level. It was absolute mayhem! As we steered out toward the deep water in the center of the harbor I looked over my shouder and saw what appeared to be a waterfall pouring off the dock and shore beyond. Not one of the dozen vessels remained at the dock. All were underway in a matter of seconds... with or without crews aboard.

We motored around in the middle of the harbor watching the waves of floods & ebbs while wondering about after-shocks and our fellow cruising sailors. As we passed one of our neighbors she shouted to us that her husband had been washed off the dock as they were trying to get away. She was alone and seriously concerned. Other boats broke free from their moorings and anchors in the initial seismic waves and many were driven ashore, or driven under by loose tuna boats.

After about three hours, we felt it was finally safe enough to return to the dock. All we had were lengths of old line and we were short a couple fenders. We were the first to go in and we started un-tangling lines and helping others get back along side the concrete dock. All of the store-fronts along the water are destroyed, roving mobs of kids can be seen looting, the fence around the dock is gone, every boat on stands in a nearby boatyard were washed away. Big fishing boats are now in parking lots across the street. Absolute destruction is seen everywhere along the shore.

Phones and power are down but we got back online right away and I immediately went back to the recent earthquakes website to see if things have been calming down in the center of the earth. A number of aftershocks as strong as 6.0 have been recorded over the past few hours - but thankfully no more wave action has been noticed. We've been making Skype calls to our families and letting others use the computer as well to phone home.

Online news reports say that the earthquake lasted three minutes and the highest flood rose 25 ft above normal! There are 20 confirmed deaths... including our neighbor who was swept off the dock. Most fatalities occured in and around the harbor where we live. Boats are battered and nerves are fried. One friend wound-up on his boat nearly 1000 feet away from the water after breaking from his anchor and sailing right down Main St. taking power & telephone wires down with his mast! Some people lost everything... including their lives. We came through remarkably well with only minor dammage sustained to our toe rail when the dock lines parted and to our fender basket which was the only point of contact with that drifting wreck. I never felt any jarring loads while we were hurtling around above & below the concrete dock, so I believe our hull, keel & rudder suffered no dammage from the wildest boat ride I've ever been on.

We're all okay... and very lucky.

And that's the way it is.

All the Best - All the Time,

Kirk, Cath & Stuart ~~~_/) ~~~ s/v Gallivanter

 

Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.

 

 

 

 

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