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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.  

September 28, 2010
Position: 20 09.58S 57 29.79E Caudan Marina, Port Louis, Mauritius

Trip statistics.

Total distance from Fremantle, Western Australia to Port Louis, Mauritius 3365.0 nautical miles (including jogging approximately 12nm in the wrong direction in order to make a daylight arrival) 6232 Kilometers/4038 Statute miles.
Average speed: 6.03 knots including jogging time. Until then the average speed was 6.1 knots.
Engine hours: 557.9, 23.24 days travel
Oil burn: approximately 3 quarts/liters
Coolant water used: None
Fuel burned: 1134 U.S. Gallons, 4309 liters, including 9.3 hours generator burn @ 1.2 gph (for making water).
GPH: 2.03 average LPH: 7.72
Nautical miles per gallon: 2.967 Nautical miles per liter: .927
Egret ran the first 6 days at 1350 rpm. The balance was spent at 1450 to 1575 except while jogging. (There was a brief 20 minute period at 2000 rpm, a 24 hour period at 1600 rpm and a 24 hour period at 975 rpm while jogging and slowing the approach)
Fuel reserve on arrival: 255 U.S. Gallons, 969 liters
Fuel reserve on main tanks alone: 25.5%
Water used including another %#$@@#$&* water leak in the Whale tubing under the master berth. 325 U.S. Gallons - 1235 liters
Here is what is important. We will not, nor should you, ever use these figures in the future because they are not repeatable except for this particular trip. In trade wind situations like the upcoming Atlantic crossing, fuel figures will be somewhat repeatable with allowing extra fuel for any deviation to those conditions. If Egret had run the entire trip at 1350 she undoubtly would have made the trip on her own tanks. Undoubtly is not good enough. 25.5% reserve is good enough.

G' Day mis amigos. Obviously since we sent a first picture of Mauritius you assumed Egret completed her trip and she did. Our pre arrival research included copying the Mauritius information from noonsite.com, Indian Ocean Cruising guide by Rod Heikell, Lonely Planet - Mauritius, Reunion & Seychelles and recent first hand information sent by British cruisers to German friends back in Fremantle. For charting we use C-map charts on Max Sea software. C-Map charts were accurate excluding the new waterfront development. Per instructions we called Mauritius Control (normally you call Port Control but in this case we heard Mauritius Control calling a ship) and asked permission to enter the harbor. Control asked the usual questions; vessel name, tonnage, length, draft and number of crew. With that information Egret was allowed to enter the harbor. We knew to look for a small grey building at the far end of the harbor with a grey windmill next door.

Mauritius harbor is a wild place where ying and yang come together. So lets describe it. To the north of the harbor is a N/S container port. There was a container ship docking as we arrived with a second coming in from offshore serving Mauritius' 1,250,000 residents plus tourists. Four ships of different kinds were on anchor outside the harbor. Now here is where it gets interesting. The major of harbor berths are taken by Asian longline boats, most with Chinese characters. Some of the boats are rafted to each other out perhaps 10 boats. Its crazy. These are the wildest boats you can possibly imagine. Imagine asking a kindergarten class to draw a fishing boat by committee. How these folks fish in the waters around Mauritius is beyond me. This said, the boats have the same universal design so it must work for them. From what we heard the boats come here to offload their catch, change crews and refit. There is a large yard on the left side of the channel as you enter. At the time they had two Chinese boats on the rails that had fresh hull and bottom paint ready for launching. It is a very modern yard with a syncrolift. The fishing crews waved as we passed, blond Mary waved back and they loved it. We found later the majority of fishing boats are Chinese owned, Taiwanese captained with Malaysian crews. There are Japanese and Taiwanese boats as well. There were smaller coastal freighters in the harbor as well. One mystery solved, across the harbor there is a large mother ship that offloads the catch from smaller ships. They have 3 giant, van size, black fenders covered with tires they lower as a ship comes along side. This is what we saw at sea when we thought it might be pirates (two boats together idling down sea). It was innocent on their part except for the fact they didn't answer the radio.

Sure enough, at the very end of the harbor on the left was a building with a Customs sign and a small fleet of Customs boats. We docked and waited for someone to stop by. First was Health, then were asked to go inside. Here we filled out enough paperwork to kill a rain forest. Between Customs, Immigration, Port Police and perhaps a few I can't remember it took over an hour. The majority of folks here seem to be of Indian extraction and as were all the officials. The officials spoke rapid fire English of sorts but were super friendly and just needed the boxes checked or lines filled out. They were most impressed by Egret's embossing stamp to put Egret's official seal on the paperwork. It is very rare we are asked for a boat stamp. So with the paperwork completed the next task was finding a spot at the tiny keyhole marina on the south side of the harbor. At first it looked as if it was full with a number of boats rafted to each other. We were holding station inside the marina and were looking to pull up to a largish sailboat from Seattle and ask if we could raft off but then we saw a spot large enough for Egret behind a largish (98') powerboat. We backed in along side the seawall as if we knew what we were doing. Amazing luck. Shore power was just 195 volts that allowed the 50/60 cycle charger to maintain the batteries at 13.1V but not charge the batteries. We swapped power pedestals this morning and now have 210V that allows the charger to work. It pays to have a 80' (25m) shore power cord.

The entire end of the harbor to the south of Customs is high end shops and hotels. The architecture seems to be a combination of Indian and French. The French looking hotel to the south has French, Swiss and German flags flying that says something about their clientele. So off we went to find an ATM and dinner. The currency in Mauritius is rupees. There are 30 rupees to 1 U.S. Peso and more to the Euro. We ate dinner in a la di da hotel at an outside area on the waterfront. Dinner was terrific with South African white wine. After, we had dessert and coffee. We asked for decaf but it had the kick of supercharged espresso. Mary and I split a desert that was interesting. They called it a chocolate truffle with ice cream. Imagine taking a Reese's Buttercup and putting a lawn snicker on top, adding a bit of ice cream in a shot glass and squirting a couple lines of chocolate on the dish. Oh yes, there was also a twizel dealie that looked like a wood shaving but was a sweet something or other. Of course the spoon wouldn't fit in the shot glass so you had to dig the ice cream out with a fork. Then it melted because you could take the buttercup just a little at a time and we tried to dilute the chocolate with ice cream. Dick had a similar foo foo dessert dealie. Cost for all three meals totaled about 100 U.S.P. Our kinda deal. Then it was back to Egret. I think it took about 2.1 seconds to fall asleep. We woke this morning and the anemometer was reading 0.0 - 0.3 knots and there was NO engine noise. Amazing.

This morning's task was changing engine oil. This in itself was interesting. The main had 557.9 hours of continuous running without shutting down. The oil was NOT black like it is after coming out of the generator after 200 hours. It was just a little dirty but still somewhat clear and not the slightest bit gritty when you rubbed the oil between your fingers. When I changed oil I took a sample. When we get back to the States we will send it in. I'll bet anything it will come back perfect except for traces of Newman's Marinara Sauce. Then we gave Egret a good rinse with what we could reach with the hose. We have now joined the salt water washdown hose and when the large powerboat behind Egret has finished washing their boat Dick is going to give Egret a proper wash. The powerboat is flagged in Mauritius. The owner is South African and travels between Mauritius and the Seychelles. And now it's time for lunch.

Later. The marina is quite small and is full of international cruising boats and a few locals. Let's see, France has the most with 4, U.S. 3, Germany 2, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the UK has one each. The Swedish boat is traveling in company with the Norwegian boat. The Swede boat knows of our Swedish friends on Lindisfarn and the Norwegian spent the winter with Lindisfarn in Portugal and spent the next winter in Marmaris, Turkey the same year as Egret. How many times have we said just how small the long distance cruising community really is?

A couple days later. Now we have a better lay of the land. Yesterday it was out of the high end part of town and into the main town itself. It reminded us of suburban Bangkok where our son and his family live. If you changed the signage and ethnic group there would be little difference. Along the sidewalks and between parked cars were street vendors selling a wide range of stuff ranging from a display of cheapo flip flops for kids to fruit to genuine fake watches, to this n that. Total chaos would be an understatement. Mary bought some fruit but won't buy any veggies until we get to a modern grocery store.

Today was a great day. Eight cruisers hired Gerard (a local working with yachties) to lead an expedition to climb to the highest peak near Port Louis (823 meters - 2635'). Understand all we cruisers haven't done any hiking on other than flat land for a while and all spent the last weeks at sea. So off we went to the bus station to get close then hike up. Looking at the height, and particularly the conical spire to the summit was a bit intimidating at the base. But off we brave climbers went to give it a go. Like the NAR there was a fast group and slow group. Egret was in the slow group on the NAR and here as well. Nevertheless we plugged away until the final push to the summit. From the summit you could see the entire perimeter of the island and a couple offshore islands in the distance. We snapped a few pics, snacked a bit then headed down when the group started to ice up. It was very windy and quite cool at the top. Then it was a wild bus ride back with a racing driver wannabe and beer for the lot in a waterfront watering hole. Tomorrow is a boat day and the following day we have Gerard driving a rental car and giving we three a tour of the island.

One funny comment Dick made at the summit was something along the lines of; "I can't believe I am in Mauritius standing on top of a mountain. Who woulda thought"? Ho hum, what did you do today? Ciao.

(The dream trip will continue when Egret is back at sea)

 

 

September 24, 2010
Position: 20 35.32S 57 25.98E 4.4nm off the S coast of Mauritius

G' Day mis amigos. You know, at sea our lives change to an even simpler existence. Our concerns are few. Things like weather, fuel burn and so on take on another significance and the rest of the usual noise blends into the background. If you took a cynical look at boaters you could say we like to complain if you want to twist at sea information. Complain about adverse currents, breaking beam seas, boring calm seas, and now we are going too fast. As of this moment it is about 4 hours after daybreak. Egret has but 268.8nm to go. Our speed is 7.1 knots. Do the math and we end up off the harbor of Port Louis, Mauritius seven hours before daylight. And we can't slow because we have 30 knots directly on the stern pushing up occasional breaking seas. That means we need to keep the power on to keep from corkscrewing to death. OMNI Bob says later today the seas will diminish somewhat and we will be able to slow but just how much we don't know. The ocean has been dead for a while with no birds and no fish visible. We would like to fish when nearing the island (islands hold fish) but of course that will be in the dark so no fishing except for a distance offshore. You get the picture.

Later. 1275 rpm and we're still doing 6.1 knots with diminished wind on the stern but still puffing a little over 20 knots. This is typical trade winds cruising. It is a beautiful bright sunny day with just a bit of cool breeze. Hopefully Egret will have this same weather all the way across the Atlantic to Brazil. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Here we will share a small part of a private e-mail with you we received this morning. It is all about memories and perhaps dreams of the future.

I remember well our Indian Ocean Crossing from Christmas Island, further north than your route, to Cocos Keeling, and then on to the Chagos Archipelago! It was HOLD ON type of sailing, never less than 25 knots, but the wind was behind us, so who cared!!!??? Except the motion from the South Indian Ocean Swell, which was on the beam, made the rockin and rollin quite difficult for all of us, we needed suction cups on every elbow, knee, and hip bone!!! BUT, I would give ANYTHING to be out there once again sailing my boat across the Indian Ocean, I would give ANYTHING!!!!!! Let me know when you make landfall, where will that be? Mayotte, Chagos, Madagascar, Mauritius or Durban??? All wonderful places we enjoyed so much as a family!!!

You get the picture. The islands to the north of Madagascar are pretty much off limits these days because of the Somali's. It is sad a relative few are allowed to disrupt world shipping and cruising to the extent they have. There are a group of boats that left Fremantle on a round about way to Richard's Bay, South Africa that were going to stay high and east down to Chagos then take an exaggerated detour well to the east before turning west to Mauritius. We may see some of this group on arrival. We have a copy of an e-mail from a British couple who has already been thru Mauritius, Reunion and are by now probably in SA. They gave German friends their impressions of the islands and the check in procedure for each. We all share and this is a big help. Anything new gets sent to the noonsite.com website to help others in the future. noonsite.com is a helpful planning tool all cruisers use these days. Go to noosite, look up Southern Indian Ocean, Mauritius and Reunion and you know what we know. (We also have a Lonely Planet Guide to Mauritius and Reunion as well)

Thursday am. During the night Egret ran 1275 rpm maintaining about 6.1 knots. The following seas are diminishing so perhaps we will slow further.

Back to the dream trip. OK, you have your three day window for the dash from Stanley in the Falklands to Grytviken, South Georgia. When clearing out the port captain will tell you the protocol for checking into SG. It may be simply by VHF but I don't know. On the NE corner of SG there is a shortcut between Bird Island to the north and the main island. Unless it is perfectly calm, AND it is daylight I would take the smart way and travel north of Bird Island and not chance the rocks in the channel. Understand from now on charting isn't great and particularly when you leave SG. We'll talk more about charts later. After rounding Bird Island there are a number of bays to stop on your way to Grytviken but I would head for Grytviken first. Do what ever check in you need to do then introduce yourselves to the caretakers. They will most likely be a very well traveled cruising couple and are guaranteed to be interesting. I would spend the months of October thru at least very early January in SG. The island is only about 100nm from top to bottom so cruising is very short hops from one bay to the next. I would spend at at least a few days in Grytviken before moving. During this time we would explore locally and spend time with the caretakers in the evenings. Armed with new local knowledge from the caretakers I would start the early part of the cruise to see the miracle of birth on the island. October is a magic time of the year and you can watch the progression from newborns to departure. After the first few week cruise I believe that Mary and I would volunteer to help the caretakers for a few weeks with any major summer project they had planned. You will make great friends and will learn so much about this part of the world. Then it would be a series of short hops here and there to explore, climb reasonable mountains and act like kids again. The required reading book we will introduce at the end of this first part of the dream cruise will give you an amazing insight into this special place in the world. The table top book was written not by a travel writer but by the year round caretakers who spent 10 years in this magical place. You can feel the inspiration and their feelings dripping from the worlds. Lets also keep something in perspective, tough guys. This couple (Tim and Pauline Carr) did their cruising in a 28 foot - 8.75m, 100 year old wooden sailboat. Without an engine. (They cruised Antarctica in the same boat as well but we are getting ahead of ourselves.) There were times while cruising SG when she was in the dinghy on the oars and he was on the sculling oar literally rowing for their lives because there wasn't enough wind to make the anchorage before a SG bullet blasted thru from the west (all of SG's safe anchorages are on the east side of the island - weather comes from the west). So don't worry about your state of the art 56. You have an engine AND a windlass.

Now it is time to leave. I believe you will find your visit to South Georgia will give you more personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment than any place you may visit in the world including Antarctica. However, you visited Shackleton's grave more than once during your time in Grytviken and it is time to visit the place where Shackleton left the majority of his crew before making one of the most difficult voyages in modern history. This is Elephant Island, 750nm SW and the last stop on the Antarctic Peninsula before South Georgia, before the end of the world if you missed going east. More to follow.

Back to Friday. Land ho!! Yup, after jogging well offshore most of the night, when I came on watch this morning at 4 hours before daylight to relieve Dick, you could see the lights of Mauritius in the distance. We were still 50 or so nm from our first waypoint so we speeded up from our jogging rpm of 975 to 1300 rpm giving Egret well over 6 knots. In a little under 8 hours Egret will pass beneath the island's south coast then will turn north up the west coast of the island to Port Louis, the capitol and major harbor for the island.

Mauritius must be a turning point for ships coming from South Africa heading north to NW Australia or Malaysia. Ships have been pouring thru all night. There has been as many as 3 on 12nm radar at once. They all passed to the south of Egret then turned a bit NE. No problems or close passes. Egret's jogging consisted of turning upsea for the most comfortable ride and heading away from the waypoint at her slowest comfortable speed. This turned out to be 975 rpm in this case making about 2.5 - 3 knots in the wrong direction.

As our little white fiberglass lady closes with the island we will take our first picture and forward it with this posting. The next VofE will have our first impressions of the island, customs and immigration information and trip statistics. This is exciting!! Ciao.

 

 

September 20, 2010
Position: 23 36.51S 066 19.97E
Wind: 8 knots W
Seas: Gentle 2-3 meter swells
Speed: 7.5 knots
Total distance traveled from Fremantle: 2768nm Overall average speed: 6.0 knots @1450 rpm
Average speed past 9 hours: 7.5 knots
NM to go: 567.1
CCOM: 1.8* see glossary of terms at the bottom of this posting

The day after firing the last VofE into space our job for the day was to transfer the last of the deck fuel from the 70 gallon - 266ltr bladder thru the baja filter into the stbd tank. Normally it would take about 45 minutes including cleanup. Well, it was a nightmare. The fuel had an opaque gel type goo that clogged the baja filter after relatively few gallons. We couldn't wipe the goo out with paper towels so we used hot soapy water to clean the filter and tried again. This time it was better but not much. Nightmare again. So we cleaned it again then we used the 5 gallon pail filter we made before with two 30 micron Racor filters siliconed sealed in the bottom. Under this bucket hung by a line from the boat deck we had a large funnel and a 5 gallon large spout jerry jug underneath. In the end we managed but it took 2 1/2 hours standing in a diesel soaked cockpit while the fuel barely trickled as the Racor's clogged. However, all the fuel that went into the main tank was double filtered so that should be the end of it. Now we have to call the bladder manufacture and see if we can unbolt the fill plate and physically wipe the inside of the bladder to get rid of the goo. I use the catch all term goo because I have never seen it before. Algae is normally black and this was as if it was gelled biocide or something.

The wind and seas were gentle rollers with little wind thru the night and the day today. Egret averaged 6.5 knots for the past 19 hours running at 1450 rpm. If the wind and seas are similar tomorrow as predicted we will put out a couple worms and see if anything snaps. I doubt it but you never know.

Now that we have given you a rough outline of the first part of this dream voyage, let's look at a couple items before we move on. First we stressed crew and details of the first part of the voyage. Now here is perhaps the most important, overall look at this proposal. I'm sure by now the far majority of you have dismissed even slightly considering this trip because at this stage in your relatively new or gonna be new boating career what we are proposing is simply to radical and 'out there'. To be honest with you, in the beginning we would have felt the same. The difference would be we would have filed the information away for 'later if ever'. We can remember sitting at different Trawlerfests eyes wide open at this or that story being told by speakers or boaters who had done more than ourselves. Anyone who has followed VofE any length of time knows we started out like everyone, sticking ourselves in the mud, bashing docks (we still bash docks) making navigational mistakes, getting uncomfortable when the seas got up a bit and so on. But we learned, just as you will. I could rattle on for a while but understand the trip we are proposing is very doable for folks who today who know nothing more than what they have read or picked up at boat shows, Trawlerfests and so on. The only difference between you and ourselves is we have a head start. We learned in baby steps, then lengthened our stride as the sea miles passed, nothing more. So do yourself a favor and print each of these VofE's for later. Your thinking will continually evolve during your boating career and what may seem impossible today down the miles, won't. The information you will receive is more continuous and detailed than any we had access to when we started making plans for a simpler version of this trip two years before we left on the actual voyage to the Deep South. However, we still have on board every magazine article from those early days and we will list them along with the required reading material later as we do a summary and list specific Deep South accessories you will need in addition to your usual ocean crossing spares.

A twice in Patagonia sailing veteran passed along a recent update she received from Roxanna Diaz (Selby) regarding zarpe's (cruising permits) in Argentina for travel to the Falklands. I will mention Roxanna in greater detail later but in short, Roxanna is a boater's friend and agent in Ushuaia, Argentina. Roxanna helped Egret a number of times.

"On your route for the 56, Roxanna Diaz from Ushuaia has just updated me on changes to Argentinean regulations. When leaving Argentina or transiting its waters (as would be the case leaving from Puerto Williams, Chile), skippers will now be required to file for special permission to travel to the Falklands, South Georgia or the South Shetlands from Argentina. The form must be filed at least a week in advance. The good news is that Roxanna says permission has been granted to several vessels and she thinks it will continue to be if the rules are followed properly. Skippers leaving Argentina without requesting this form will be required to sign an affidavit that they are not going from Argentinean waters to the Falklands, South Georgia or South Shetlands. If they violate this, they can be fined up to US$7,000 (though exactly how, where or when is not clear - presumably if you tried to re-enter Argentina)".

OK, you have arrived in Stanley after leaving Caleta Hornos and surviving at least a couple gales. Stanley is always windy and there isn't a lot of protection. We haven't been there but from what we understand you call Port Control on VHF channel 16 for instruction. If you are lucky you will be able to come alongside the wharf and take care of formalities from there and perhaps even stay a few days. This is the absolute last chance to buy anything for the next months. Here you refuel, wait for spares to be shipped if necessary and do your final shopping for fresh items. It would be a much appreciated gesture to volunteer to take items from Stanley to the British post in Cumberland Bay and to the caretakers at Grytviken (South Georgia). Even if there is nothing requested I would still buy a couple bags of fruit and veggies for both the base and the caretakers plus a couple newspapers and recent magazines. After your Falklands visit and perhaps a bit of local touring to the sheep ranches and whatever pops up, it is time to leave when you have a reasonable 3 day window for the sprint to South Georgia. More to follow.

Late Sat afternoon. We have some good news. The past 2 days Egret's average speed was 6.7 knots @ 1450 rpm and she traveled 317.7nm. The past 7 1/2 hours her speed averaged 7.3 knots. We have been fortunate in the fact that so far the winds have left us alone and haven't killed the great speed. We seem to be tiptoeing along a ridge of variable winds. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

Sun morning. Yesterday Egret passed a milestone of sorts. Her previous longest single trip was 2812nm from the Canary Islands to Brazil. This trip took 18 days, arriving just after daybreak on the 18th day. We enjoyed constant NE trades south to the equator and constant SE trades to near Brazil. We had such a fuel surplus using the bladders, when we reached the SE trades we increased the rpm from 1350 to 1500 to make up the difference in speed from the trades aft of the beam instead of forward of the beam. Egret had a significant fuel surplus when we arrived but I don't remember the exact amount. Yesterday at noon was Egret's 18th day at sea on this trip. She had covered but 2398nm. This is a 414nm difference and a 17+% shortfall in distance. At the time we still had 940nm to travel to Mauritius. It is what it is, however this is why we have to be so careful computing fuel mileage and having a very healthy fuel reserve. What held true for one passage is not necessarily the same as another. We mentioned this previously and now you can see the actual numbers.

Sun late afternoon. W swells are building into well spaced mountains. There is very little wind and no chop. We shouldn't have said anything about speed because now there is another adverse current so our speed is bouncing around 5.4 - 5.6. You can look outside the pilothouse windows and see the water moving by quickly but Egret's speed made good stinks........again. We'll see how long this persists.

Mon am, two hours before daylight. The moon is still up throwing a yellow stripe to Egret. It is nearly slick calm with very gentle swells. This is every sailor's nightmare. No wind and a long way from land. Farther north on the usual Indian Ocean trek to South Africa this is common. One American sailing author spent 3 weeks with the sails down and drifting. Of course we friends of OPEC love this kind of weather and yesterday evenings 5.4 knots is a thing in the past. Currently Egret is slipping along at 6.5 knots, hoping of course to rise to the 7 knot range when this current turns her loose.

There is one mechanical detail we will bring up. Egret is still running on the original 2 micron filter which she left Fremantle. In fact, I don't remember when we put in that filter. As the fuel in the port tank is lowering to about half, the vacuum has now moved into the 3 inch range. We change filters at 5" of vacuum. Lugger says 10" max and to change at 7". The difference in time between 5" and 7" isn't much so why wait? Filters are the cheapest insurance on the boat. It will be interesting to see if we can make the entire trip on a single filter but I doubt it. That says a lot about super clean Ozzie fuel (and Egret's tanks and circ filter). As fuel lowers in a fuel tank there is less head pressure to assist the engine lift pump in pumping fuel thru the engine. This is normal. Egret has a dual Racor filter system. As the vacuum rises on one filter we simply turn the handle pointer toward the second filter and that filter comes on line. Then at your leisure you may change the dirty filter. The procedure is to use a 2 gallon zip lock bag to put the dirty filter away, zip it tight, slide in the new filter, pour fuel from a 1 gallon jerry jug we keep in the engine room below the filters into the filter housing until it is full, then replace the lid. Clean up and you are done. It takes just a few minutes. At sea we store a dirty filter in the cockpit until we can dispose of it properly. It is surprising in some places where you wouldn't think of them having any environmental conscience there are places to dispose of used oil and filters.

In Broome, Western Australia there are 3 places along the shore where photographers gather during April and May on a full moon. Broom has large tides. During low tide on a setting moon the combination of sand and tidal pool reflections create what locals call stair steps to the moon. Just now the moon is close to setting. It is fiery orange on a light purple background and the stair steps are pronounced in the wavelets. It is absolutely beautiful. As we get closer to Africa the sunsets have started to become tinted by dust from the continent. Last nights sunset was the same.

This morning's sunrise was the same as well, fiery orange sun on a light purple background. Mary was talking to Dick this morning about being in the southern hemisphere for the past few years. So I looked it up and the posting below tells the tale. See if you see a familiar theme running thru the story.

October 13th, 2006. Position: S00 45.05 W30 21.49, Course 226 degrees M, Distance traveled 153.0 NM, Average Speed at 1450 RPM's 6.4 knots, Fuel burned 41.12 Gal, Fuel burn 1.71 GPH, MPG 3.72, Seas 4-8' swells with chop S-SSE, apparent wind 12.2 knots SSE, 876.95 NM to go, distance from Gibraltar 2701.3 NM

The seas have been the same as the past two days with the wind and sea swells from the SSE varying a bit from time to time. The good news: full water, the bad news: no fish. Whoops, since writing this early this morning Master Angler Steve filleted and released a 25lb Tunny. Boat issues: none

At almost exactly 0400 this morning Egret crossed the equator. This is a first for Egret and all three members of her new Shellback crew. (Milt Baker from 47 Nordhavn Bluewater sent his blessings for becoming Shellbacks and reminisced about his Navy hazing ceremony. Egret's was MUCH more civilized) We celebrated with proper seafarer's grog: rum from the Canaries and Coke from Italy. (Mary wanted to save our only bottle of bubbly for Brazil) We also offered a rum libation to the BIG GUY, King Neptune for being so kind to Egret on this trip and buying a little insurance for the future. After pictures the off watch went to nap and this watch stander washed down his 0450 snack of a fresh baked cinnamon bun with the balance of rum and coke. (A proper breakfast for a seafarer....arrrrg) Dry boat we are again.......until Brazil.

Like most things in life there is no free lunch!! During the past two Mediterranean winters, Barcelona, Spain and Marmaris, Turkey, the Egret crew spent their entire winter aboard Egret (their only home) except for three weeks during February in Ft Lauderdale visiting family, friends, doctors and the Miami Boat Show. The balance of the time we are enjoying our winter port, taking inland trips, and watching our fellow Nordhavn buddies boats, and one buddy with an other. Every couple of days we check the bilge, electric, lines, fenders, etc. All of this comes at a price. There is no free lunch. Returning crews shower the Egret crew with unubtanium items like bilge diapers they wrap their smuggled into the EU goodies, special blue engine room towels, and the ultimate gift of GRITS. Grits are to southerners like brats to the mid westerners and granola sprinkled with viagra to the Calif crowd. We loves our grits. We thought we were out. Yesterday my wonderful wife found a package of GRITS buried deep in a locker. So after an early morning snack of rum n' bun this crew will be rewarded with a breakfast of bacon, eggs, GRITS, starbucks french roast and fresh baked toast. Life is very good for the Egret crew.

You dirt dwellers are missing the good life. Here is an idea with merit. Trot on down to Ft Lauderdale end of this month for the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, order your new boat, get rid of your STUFF, put in your coastal miles then come join the Egret crew and many others out here and change your life. Then, you too can enjoy rum n' bun and watch the brilliant sunrise out the pilothouse window EXACTLY as we are at this very moment. Life will become very simple with no pressure. The way it should be.

Back to the present. At 1:30 this afternoon after enjoying an evening and morning of less than 5 knots as we ride this miracle ridge of variable winds the wind switched abruptly to the W at 18 knots. A little wind chop developed but still the swells are well spaced and it is an up and down affair. The speed dropped from the low 7's to 6.8 - 6.9 knots. We made a little insurance water this morning leaving the tank about 3/4 full (150 gallons - 570ltrs). Bob's report is below. You see he predicts no appreciable weather until arrival. So, 4+ days from early this morning Egret should arrive in Port Louis, Mauritius. We will have one more posting before arrival. I have written the next episode in your dream trip and can't wait to get it posted. Ciao.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
1716UTC 19 SEPT 2010

Thanks for your 1200UTC position reports.

Weak high pressure to your north will gradually dissipate over the next 12-24hrs. Evidence of that is the light westerly winds you reported at 1200Z. There is a weather front to your south and SW-WSW swells are spreading north ahead of the front. The highest swells of 3-5mtrs should reach a maximum through Mon/0300Z, then gradually subside 3-4mtrs then 2-3mtrs through arrival Rodrigues island. As the front moves through a stronger area of high pressure is expected to influence conditions that will also dominate your balance of your transit once these conditions start to increase. This new/stronger high ridge will generate a shifting SSW-SE wind that should remain fresh, at least 17-25kt, occ 30kts but the closer proximity of the high should limit the swell heights (under 3mtrs) to arrival.

As the high moves eastward, high pressure ridging should lay WNW across the southern Madagascar-Rodrigues Island area Wed/night-Thur. This will allow for the wind/seas to subside even further prior to arrival.

As of now, it appears the front that is to your south/west now, will be the last weather front you encounter until arrival. As a result, the highest swell conditions you have now and for the next 12-24hrs should also be the highest swells you will encounter for the balance of the trip to Rodrigues Island.

Along the rhumbline toward Mauritius/Rodrigues Isl, adjusting your course/speed as necessary for the best ride, expect:

Sun/19-night: WNW-W 08-15kts, occ 20kts during the overnight. Seas 0.5-1.0mtrs. Swells WSW-SW 3.0-5.0mtrs. Seas could build to 1.5mtrs should sustained winds reach 20kts.

Mon/20: Winds tending to remain WNW-W 10-18kts during the morning, then slowly shifting WSW-SW to even SSE 15-20kts during Mon/pm. Seas 1.0-1.5mtrs. Swells WSW-SW 3.0-4.0mtrs, upto 5.0mtrs very possible early Mon/am.

Tue/21: SSE-SE to even ESE at times; 15-20kts early on with SE-ESE 17-25kts by Tue/midday and continuing through Tue/night. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs, upto 2.5mtrs late. Swells continue to subside SW-SSW 2.0-3.0mtrs.

Wed/22: SE-E 17-27kts, occ 30kts and gusty at times through the afternoon. Subsideing 17-25kts to possibly as low as 15-20kts Wed/eve-night. Seas 2.0-3.0mtrs Wed/am, gradually subside subside 2.5-1.5mtrs through Wed/eve-night. Swells: SW-S 2.0-3.0mtrs Wed/am, subside to 1.5-2.5mtrs Wed/eve-night.

Thur/23-Rodrigues Isl: Subsiding and gradually shifting ESE-E to ENE 15-20kt, occ 25kts early on, subside to 10-15kts during Thur/eve-night. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs Tue/am, subside to 1.0-1.5mtrs thru Thur/eve-night (arrival). Swells SW-S to confused 1.0-2.0mtrs through arrival.

Please continue to advise your daily position while enroute. Watching/updating. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

September 17, 2010
Position: 226 15.61S 076 28.44E
Wind: 8.6 knots SW
Seas: Gentle 2-3 meter swells
Speed: 6.4 knots
Total distance traveled from Fremantle: 2192nm
Overall average speed: 5.8 knots
Average speed past 14 hours: 6.5 knots
NM to go: 1150
CCOM: 2.0* see glossary of terms at the bottom of this posting

G' Day mis amigos, it is Wednesday noon and it has been a rockfest all morning. The front OMNI Bob predicted is blowing thru with sustained winds from the upper 20's to the upper 30's, gusting higher. The seas aren't that large it is just that they are confused and chopped with the wind is slinging a lot of water. Normally this is just one of those days at sea that will pass as this will but there was something different about today that is interesting. Egret's course is 304 degrees magnetic. The course to steer was as low as 249M. That means there is 55 degrees of set and drift. This means Egret is aiming 55 degrees to port to maintain a constant 304 degrees toward Mauritius. I don't think we have ever had this wild deviation before. Obviously this slows Egret's speed by a ton. During the hardest winds her speed was down to 2.2 knots working against the wind and countering the current. Egret's smug 6.6 knot average for today (started yesterday noon) has been trashed and is now 5.1 knots and the past 24 hours she traveled but 122nm. However, this front is supposed to blow thru quickly and the wind and seas will subside for the next few days.

I sure wouldn't want to be out here today in a girl boat. Some girl boats these days are cloaked in wolf's clothing but under their heavy makeup they are still little girls. Of course no one with even two brain cells would be here today in a girl boat unless of course they believed their salesman or what some ad person wrote. But that is just my opinion. (How's that for an unprovoked attack on the ladies? When it starts puffing I get feisty. So, to pacify the women's rights folks I guess I will admit when you are sitting in a nice calm anchorage after a nice calm protected trip and you have set your sundowner in the cute cup holder your salesman pointed out, a girl boat is just fine.)

Later. We got tired of waves breaking against the port side. We even had a wave break inside the cockpit for the first time ever we know of. To reduce the set and drift and give Egret a better angle to the seas we increased the rpm to 1500. That helped a little but wasn't good enough. I popped off autopilot and turned the autopilot knob in 10 degree increments heading down sea. In the end the best ride was 100 degrees from the original set and drift figures but we were heading nearly due north. I knew we were being set quite fast to the north in addition to the increased speed. After a couple hours we turned back to the original course and increased rpm to 1600. The ride isn't quite as good but with the extra water flow past the keel and fins the ride is acceptable. A couple hours after that is seems to be calming a bit with no more wave strikes of any consequence. Mary is in the galley fixing a big pot of beef stew to put over rice. She'll probably serve it in soup bowls to keep the spill factor to a minimum. The CCOM has been busy.

OK, its time. Here's the deal. This trip includes some of the most remote and spectacular scenery in the world. It is also one of the most isolated and windiest. There is a lot of history involved as well including following in reverse order in Shackleton's footsteps. Here is a quick rough itinerary and spots to touch. Mar del Plata, Argentina to Caleta* Hornos to Stanley, Falkland Islands, to South Georgia Island, to Elephant Island, to King George Island and Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Deception Island, Antarctic continent as far south as the Ukraine base, Drake Passage past Cape Horn to Puerto Williams on Isla Navarino (Chile), to Ushuaia, Argentina. This is roughly a 2800nm trip connecting the dots with no leg longer than 750nm* or more than 3 days unless the weather is super bad. So you can see why crew is the key to the trip and why they, and you must be super capable. I would carry 4 total capable crew. *Except the leg from Mar del Plata is 1200nm broken up by a stay in Caleta Hornos. From Caleta Hornos to Stanley is 950nm and will take about 6 days. *Caleta means cove.

Egret doesn't have the fuel capacity for the trip as described. This is no place for any appreciable deck fuel on a small boat like Egret. If Egret did the trip in stages (returning to Ushuaia, Argentina in between) we would remove the large top and solar panels. The new low profile 56 has the range with internal tanks with perhaps a single bladder. Leaving Stanley for SG with a good forecast I would carry a 150 - 200 gallon fuel bladder in the cockpit of the 56. The reason is you also have to consider generator burn for battery charging for 4+- months of cruising plus sporadic diesel heater burn. You will wait for a favorable 3 day window to make the dash to Grytviken in Cumberland Bay, South Georgia Island. Here you can transfer fuel from the bladder to the main tanks in calm after a bit of local cruising and generator burn. The British base in Cumberland Bay is where you check in as well.

Let's back up a bit. First you need permission to visit South Georgia. The administrators for South Georgia are in Stanley, Falkland Islands. You must have this permission in hand or waiting in Stanley before you leave Argentina. There is a second issue you should be aware of. The Argentines will not give you a zarpe (cruising permit) to visit the Falklands. To them they are still the Malvina Islands lost (actually never had) in a short mis-guided 'war' with the UK. The Argentines will however, give you a zarpe for Puerto Williams, Chile. Get this zarpe. The folks in the Falklands don't care. So now you have prior permission from the UK (Falklands) to visit South Georgia. Your cruising permit from the Falklands should have a destination of Puerto Williams, Chile, not Ushuaia, Argentina.

Next, if you are an American, UK resident, Australian or New Zealander you must get permission from your home country to visit Antarctica even though no one 'owns' it. Other countries may have similar restrictions of which I am not aware. However, you need to check if you don't fall into the group we mentioned. If you are an American the first contact is Nadene Kennedy at the National Science Foundation (Polar Coordination Specialist). Ms Kennedy is very nice and will direct you to the next group. nkennedy@nsf.gov 703 292-7405. This is roughly a 6 month process. The first group of bureaucrats are tedious but not impossible once you understand they are checking boxes and don't want detailed information. To short cut the more difficult parts to get permission (I imagine this would apply to most countries) we planned to join the organization of tour operators in Antarctica. You can get a temporary membership for a reasonable fee ($800 or so) and they have the contacts and bureauspeak to get permission for you. Now, most of the small private sailboats we know that went to Antarctica including a few Americans didn't bother with permission. There have never been any no permission issues I know of. However, none of these boats had insurance. I'm sure if you went and had an issue that required an insurance claim you would be denied because you didn't have legal permission from your host country to visit Antarctica. In addition to losing your boat without insurance a second issue is if you have an environmental issue (fuel spill) things could get ugly in a hurry without insurance. We were not able to go because Egret's insurer would insure only half the boat's value so we abandoned our plans to visit Antarctica.

The focus for pushing the season arriving in South Georgia as early in October as possible is because this is when the seals pup and millions of nesting birds hatch their fledglings. This includes penguins as well. I'm not going to go into this in detail because we will list a required reading (even if you are not going) table top book that is fascinating reading with photography that will rock your socks. To put things into perspective, we would rather be in South Georgia than any place in the world during October in the southern hemisphere. More on South Georgia to follow.

You will leave Caleta Hornos with a reasonable weather window. When I say reasonable, 30 knots is acceptable unless there is something serious coming. Fifty knots plus (sustained, not gusts) is serious, less is not. Understand first of all your new 56 will take this in stride. It will not break. Previously we mentioned the Golfo de San Jorge. Unlike the shallow Argentine coast, the Gulf is quite deep. There are large tides here and on the fall the water rips over a bar at the south side of the Gulf. Give this bar at least 20nm clearance, more is better, and give every cape on the way south a minimum of 40nm clearance. I would run about 60nm off the coast then jog to Stanley. Use the wave reports to determine exactly how far offshore to run. I would run hard and not try to conserve fuel. Fuel is available in Stanley. The trip from Caleta Hornos will take about 6 days. More to follow.

Egret thrashed her way thru the night. Only when I came on watch at 0400 local did the wind move behind the beam and the noise subsided and her speed increased to 6.4 knots. We have been running 1600rpm all night to keep things comfortable as we may. This morning we received OMNI Bob's latest forecast showing a multi day lessening in weather so we'll slow at daylight if the seas are still behind the beam.

'm sure you noticed during this trip we talk about weather a lot. At sea, weather is something you focus on and part of your daily routine is getting updates. We mention weather to you for a single reason, that is to teach and give you details magazines or most internet sources don't. In a few minutes I'm going to write some Swedish sailboat friends and ask if they are still in Fiji, how is it going, have you read the trilogy from Swedish author Stieg Larsson and so on. I will go on to tell them Egret is in route to Mauritius, just xxx nm to go, and overall it has been a good crossing. That is all they will hear about weather from us and we them. The technical details of running Egret, or in their case of sailing Lindisfarn won't get a mention. When we catch up some year the details will come out as we query each other about this and that. Those details will be people and places.

It has been an uneventful night with calm seas and its time to send this posting off before the weekend. We reduced the engine rpm to 1550 from 1600. Checking the tanks we have about 600 gallons of fuel in the tanks with 70 gallons from the Portuguese Bridge fuel bladder to be pumped in this morning. That will be the last of the deck fuel. So with 670 gallons - 2546 ltrs, of fuel, range isn't the slightest issue. Egret has but approximately 1150nm to go so we'll keep running relatively hard while its calm. Ciao.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
1840UTC 18 SEPT 2010

Thanks for your position 15/1200GMT position report.

Weak high pressure is expected to work its way eastward behind the cold front. The high should continue to move north/east through Fri/17 and eventually extend from SE Madagascar to 30S 80E through Fri/1200Z, when it tends to become stationary through Sat/0000Z.

The ridge will move north/east due to the approaching front from the west/south. The front should now pass your location as as it does, your a new area of high pressure should move toward 30S 70E through Sat/1800Z. This high should then merge with the prevailing/weakening ridge through Sun/0000Z-1200Z. This new ridge pattern will continue to move north/east through Mon/0000Z as another cold front approaches from the west/south. This front should cross your location through Tue/0000Z and a new round of fresh SW-ly winds followed by an easier SW-S to SE wind.

Along the rhumbline toward Mauritius/Rodrigues Isl, adjusting your course/speed as necessary for the best ride, expect:

Thu/16: Shifting SSE-ESE to E-ENE 10-18kts. Winds may ease to as low as 08-15kts and be variable at times Thur/pm. Seas 1.0-1.5mtrs. Swells SW-WSW 3.0-4.0mtrs, occ 4.5-5.0mtrs Thur/am.

Fri/17: Continuing to shift ENE-NE to N-NW 10-18kts, Seas 1.0-1.5mtrs. Swells SW-WSW 3.0-4.0mtrs in the morning, subside to 2.5-3.0mtrs through Fri/eve-night.

Sat/18: Gradually shift NW-W-WSW 17-25kts then become more SW-SSE 15-20kt toward Sat/eve-night. Seas 1.5-2.5mtrs, subside to 1.0-1.5mtrs toward Sat/night. Swells tend to increase during the day, especially as the winds tend to become more WSW; 2.5-3.0mtrs early only, building to 3.0-5.0mtrs very possible through Sat/night-overnight.

Sun/19: Tending to range SSE-ESE to Variable-N-NW 08-15kts. Seas 0.5-1.0mtrs. Swells WSW-SW 3.0-5.0mtrs. Winds may freshen N-NW 15-25kts, seas 1.5-2.0mtrs during Sun/night-overnight.

Mon/20: Shifting NW to SW thru the day, 20-30kts, gusty/35kts near the front. Seas 2.0-3.0mtrs. Swells WSW-SW 3.5-5.0mtrs, subside to 3.0-4.0mtrs Mon/overnight.

Please continue to advise your daily position while enroute. Watching/updating. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

September 13, 2010
Position: 28 02.16S 085 01.42E (1105Z)
Wind: 13.4 knots
Seas: See OMNI Bob's report below
Speed: 5.8 knots
Total distance traveled from Fremantle: 1720nm Overall average speed: 5.8 knots Distance traveled past 24 hours: 147.2nm (as of noon today)
Average speed past 24 hours: 6.1 knots
NM to go: 1680
CCOM: 3.9* see glossary of terms at the bottom of this posting

G' Day mis amigos, it is Sunday afternoon local and Egret has enjoyed 3 days of calm seas since the last VofE. For the past 2 1/2 days the wind has been behind the beam and she has been averaging over 6 knots. A while back once we determined we have a large fuel surplus we increased the engine rpm to 1400 from 1350. This small increase made Egret a different boat for the better. She rides and tracks better and just feels better overall. Of course getting rid of the extra high weight helps as well. Currently we are making water and topping off the tank preparing for the upcoming weather.

A bit ago I ran some fuel calculations to see if it were worth it to push up the throttle to 1600 rpm. Very conservatively reading the Lugger chart, the difference between 1400 rpm and 1600rpm is nearly a 50% increase in fuel burn. The bottom line we all work for isn't gallons or liters per hour but nautical miles made good along a course per unit of fuel. The balance of all the numbers distill down to this bottom line. As you have seen reading the different nautical miles made good along this particular trip this figure of nautical miles made good per unit of measure is constantly changing. What doesn't change is the gallons or liters per hour because you are running a constant rpm. Again, the mileage changes because of currents, wind, waves, fuel weight and so on. All anyone can do is their best guess based on the expected winds, currents and a very healthy reserve. It has been our experience Egret burns about 1 liter of fuel per nautical mile - average when running at 1350 rpm.

Then I pushed up the throttle to 1600 rpm as a test to see if my estimated increase in speed was 1 knot. It wasn't. It was .8 of a knot and 20% less than expected. The reason for all this was in an earlier report from OMNI Bob he forecast the winds to increase on this coming Wednesday. We later pulled up the grib files and it showed a sharp line between killeration and something more reasonable that with increased distance traveled we might miss the worst. So after another day (today) we pulled up the gribs again and now saw what Bob forecast. 72 nm* farther west and a bit farther north isn't going to make any difference. The new report is different, its coming and there is nothing we can do but wait and deal with whatever when it gets here. *24nm/day increase because of rpm, X 3 days is 72nm. Of course, if the distance farther west and north did make a difference it would be worth whatever extra fuel burn because in weather you mileage goes to .... (pieces) .

After filling the water tank we emptied the little fuel left in the forward fuel bladder then emptied the jerry jugs. Knowing we were very close to overflowing the stbd tank we put the last large jerry jug into the port tank. We still have the 70 gallon - 266ltr bladder left behind the Portuguese bridge. Perhaps tomorrow or the next day we will empty that. We have traveled 1562nm so far on deck fuel alone. This is assuming we could overflow both tanks with the 70 gallon bladder and I believe if we had continued fueling we would have. If that is the case we have averaged slightly less than a liter of fuel per nautical mile.

We see an occasional flying fish and today Mary saw a few small Portuguese man of war with their little sails up. The sea birds are still with us and about an hour ago the wind from behind switched suddenly to on the bow. It isn't much wind, just a few knots but the swing reduced Egret 's speed from the middle 6 knot range to high 5's up to 6 or so. And now 3 hours later the wind has returned to well behind the beam and we are making 6.6 knots. It is all about give and take in our little water world. After putting the jerry jugs in the catamaran dinghy to get them off the side deck and folding the bladders we were ready for a little mid ocean celebration. After cleaning the decks we were. Picture 1 shows a happy threesome enjoying a beer 1550 some odd nautical miles from Fremantle in calm seas nearing the half way point. I believe tomorrow will be the day Egret will be the farthest from land she ever has and ever will be. Actually, looking at it closer, if you include Rodrigues Island that is part of the Mauritius Islands, Egret is 1437nm from Rodrigues and1416nm from Australia right now. Half way between Mauritius and Australia will come tomorrow but Rodrigues is the closest land to the west. In any case, that is pretty isolated.

OK, back to our dream trip to the Deep South. Before you leave Mar del Plata and head south please hear this loud and clear AND pay attention, or if you are planning this voyage, or have the slightest inclination to undertake this voyage sometime in the future.

The first item is crew. The suggested upcoming voyage isn't reality TV. This will be a very demanding trip requiring total commitment from yourselves (both of you) and any crew. We feel it is best to have crew on this trip at least back to the continent even if you have mom and pop'd your entire career. You will be tired, sleep will be difficult at times and perhaps for days on end. Sleep deprivation causes more accidents than any structural or yachtie issues. Your crew should have joined you in at least Salvador. If you* or they have any reservations on reaching Mar del Plata, they should leave. Period. Sit until you can fly in new crew. There is a simple test for new crew on a few day cruise we will mention later as THEIR test with an easy option to return. I believe the best crew for this trip are sailboaters who have spent years at sea and not just coastal cruising. A powerboat owner or professional captain who drives boats in less challenging conditions may be well qualified but not necessarily qualified. This is different. Please read between the lines here so I don't offend anyone and it is not meant too. This is for your and their well being, not ours. I'm sure if you followed along this far you get the picture. *If you have reservations yourselves I will also outline a second, less demanding voyage with the same end destination as well as a third itinerary reversing the first's course.

At the end of this roughly 4 segment voyage I will lay out everything you need as far as specialty equipment and cruising guides, etc. This is getting VERY exciting. Particularly because you will be doing this trip in our new dreamboat and it is well suited for the job.

OK, lets say you have new crew or the weather has been so kind you haven't experienced a serious bounce since your previous crew joined. (This no bounce before Mar del Plata trip isn't likely but possible) Two and a half days south of Mar del Plata is the only easily navigable shelter on the entire Argentine coast, Caleta Hornos. There are a few shelters in rivers but they are tidal and you carry 7' (2.2m) and this is NO place to stick yourselves in the mud. In places tides run 10+ meters with accompanying constantly shifting channels. In one tidal river, Magellan had to stake/steak* out a couple crew because they wuz freekin. *both are correct. The location of Caleta Hornos and the entrance are detailed in the Italian guide (Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide). Here you will use shore lines for the first time (2). If you don't use shore lines like our French buddys anchored a hundred meters away you will get killerated by wind. Egret sat in calm. By now you have been bounced for sure so again you can make whatever decisions you need to make. If ultimately you don't want to proceed you may still return north and head for the Caribbean with no more ocean crossings. This is the last reasonable chance for a bail out. However, you are determined, your crew is determined and here starts the Real Deal. Well, almost.

Before we take this BIG step let us think about something for just a minute. Most powerboaters are the same including ourselves until we Learned. High latitude sailboaters don't have our mind set and are better for it. It is typical for a powerboater to push the autopilot button and have the autopilot determine the course including set and drift. So do we. No biggie. It works NEARLY every time. Here is the difference. On this trip there will be times when you simply cannot hold course no matter what boat you have. However, by now you know a schedule is the most dangerous item on a boat so you do what you gotta do to keep safe and comfortable. In a powerboat you round up into the waves and match engine rpm to the wave sets. If it takes 12 hours of holding station with little forward way, so what? If it takes 24 hours before you can resume course, so what again? If you follow this discipline there is practically nowhere in the world you can't travel safely. As I type these words Egret is well over 1000nm from the nearest land........ except the bottom. We know from experience no matter what blows thru we will be OK. We may not like it but this too will pass then we will be on our way.

The first obstacle is the Golfo de San Jorge (Gulf of St George). Actually, it isn't the gulf that is the issue, it is the bar on the south side of the gulf. The next part is somewhat detailed so you gotta wait until the next VofE.

Later, today (Mon) was another beautiful day at sea with clear skies and calm, following seas. Only just in the past hour has the wind started to puff a bit at 18 knots from the N and a NE swell has chopped up a bit. Up until now Egret's speed has been excellent. There is rain on the 12nm radar for the first time in a while and the sun has gone along with a steady barometer. It is starting to drop. This afternoon we saw something none of us has ever seen at sea. There was a single large predator sea bird attacking smaller chocolate colored petrels. The petrel would try to maneuver to escape but when the larger bird closed in the petrel would crash into the sea and swim a few feet and pop up behind the larger bird and take off. The larger bird would crash into the water as well but didn't swim under water. This happened 4-5 times in relatively quick succession then we moved off. We didn't get a good look at the larger bird but it had white feathers inside and underneath its dark brown wing tips. This far from land it obviously has to be a bird that lives at sea but we couldn't tell what it was.

The weather id deteriorating exactly as predicted by OMNI Bob. Tomorrow will be the worst then Wed it will start laying down. In any case Egret has been making good time and the miles are falling away. The half way point has come and gone so now we are heading for the barn. So what will the next days bring? No doubt some bouncing, spray and the usual deal. When it calms we'll give you a recap and move on to the next portion of your (and our) dream cruise to the very Deep South. Fasten your seat belts. Ciao.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
1752UTC 13 SEPT 2010

Thanks for your position 13/1200GMT position report.

You should be noticing an increase in the NE-N wind/sea conditions already. It appears a warm front is about to pass, or has recently passed your location and a trend toward to the N-NW will start very soon. Increasing N-NW winds will continue through Tue/0600Z-1200Z. After that, the next front, a cold front should move through your location prior to you reaching 80E/long, but should still occur during late Tue or early Wed/am. By Tue/1200Z the main low center associated with the front should be near 55S 70E and with weak high pressure west of the front conditions should improve steadily behind the front for the remainder of Wed/15 and continue on Thur/16.

We are watching another weather front approach from the west that will force the weak high to your north/east during Thur/pm into Fri. This will force the winds to become a bit more NNW-WNW between the high and front to your south on Friday. The front should continue to move eastward and may brush your location on Friday, but we don't see a strong frontal passage, like the one expected Tue/night-Wed/am.

A broader/stronger low center associated with this front will also move across 55S 70E through Fri/1200Z. However, the more west to east movement of the low center and lack of a strong high pressure area of this frontal system will result in higher WSW-SW swells (7-12mtrs well to your south while swells closer to 4-5mtr develop this coming weekend.

Along the rhumbline toward Mauritius/Rodrigues Isl, adjusting your course/speed as necessary for the best ride, due to the approaching weather fronts, expect:

Tue/14: NNE-NW-ly 22-30kt, gusty/35-40kts through the day. Winds should shift to a more WNW-SW direction 22-33kts, gusty 40kts toward Tue/eve-night. Seas: build 2.5-4.0mtrs. Swells: WNW-W 3.5-4.5mtrs. Combined sea/swells of 5.0-6.0mtrs are very possible prior to and after the cold front through the day.

Wed/15: Winds shifting NW-WSW 22-33kt, gusty/40kts early Wed/am, then subsiding quickly SW-S 30-20kts through the day, to S-SSE 15-20kts through Wed/midnight. Seas subside as the winds ease, 2.5-3.0mtrs to as low as 1.5-2.0mtrs by late Wed. Swells persist SW-WSW 3.0-4.0mtrs. Combined sea/swells of 4.0-5.0mtrs very possible during the morning.

Thu/16: SE-ESE to E-ENE 10-18kts. Winds may ease to as low as 08-15kts and be variable at times. Seas 1.0-1.5mtrs. Swells SW-WSW 3.0-4.0mtrs early Thur/am, subside to WSW-SW 2.0-3.0mtrs through Thur/pm.

Fri/17: Continuing to shift ENE-NE to N-NW 10-18kts, Seas 1.0-1.5mtrs. Swells SW-WSW 1.5-2.5mtrs, could become a bit more confused during the day and range closer to 1.5-2.0mtrs at times.

Sat/18: Gradually shift NW-W-WSW 10-18kts, occ gusty/20-25kt near the front as it could "brush" your location during the day. Seas 1.0-1.5mtrs, briefly 2.0mtrs possible. Swells tend to increase during the day, especially as the winds tend to become more WSW; 2.5-4.0mtrs, but upto 5.0mtrs very possible during Sat/overnight.

Please continue to advise your daily position while enroute. Watching/updating. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

September 10, 2010
Position: 29 11.63S 094 17.08E (12:00pm local Aus - 0400Z)
Wind: SW 13 knots
Seas: 1.5 meter SE and SW swells with a bit of chop
Speed: 5.5 knots
Total distance traveled from Fremantle: 1226nm Overall average speed: 5.7 knots Distance traveled past 24 hours: 139.21nm Average speed past 24 hours: 5.7 knots> NM to go: 2174
CCOM: Low 2's* see glossary of terms at the bottom of this posting.

G' Day mis amigos, oh happy days!! Yesterday's killeration is in the past. The expected decline then increased wind and waves was partially correct. The wind and seas declined as predicted but failed to rise. A front blew thru quickly last night with a few gusts but that was the end of the deal. Seas today were large to start with but there was no wind driven chop on top so it was an up and down day climbing smaller hills as the day wore on. It was good enough in the morning we nearly emptied the forward 150 gallon bladder. Actually the bladder contained 137 gallons (520ltrs) of fuel because of hatch depressions in the bottom of the bladder. The pump we used pumps 6 gallons per minute so we timed the stbd tank for 10 minutes then switched to the port tank for 15 nervous minutes with the hand on the circuit breaker/switch. After, we tried to empty the bladder in the stbd tank but at 2 minutes it overflowed. So we quit and cleaned up. There is still about 8 or so gallons in the forward bladder.

Some years ago I wrote about fuel tank cleaning describing the process in detail. Hopefully the folks who read that at the time are out cruising and have no need for this drivel and are writing their own cruising blogs. So rather than look it up in a long ago VofE I'll repeat it here along with the fuel bladder information. The fuel bladders are manufactured by Aircraft Rubber Manufacturing, Redmond, Oregon, 800 433-6524. They are very high quality and we recommend them. DO NOT buy them from Fuel Bladders, Inc in Florida. We paid for 4, were shipped 3 and they would not take any calls or return e-mails so I suppose they are out of business. The bladders come with a fill pipe in the center and a corner discharge pipe complete with cam lock fittings. This is a first class professional aircraft quality set up.

To empty the tank we fitted the male end of a cam lock fitting with a 5/8" hose barb (about 16mm) and use a simple garden hose to transfer the fuel. When we are done we empty the hose, plug the female cam lock cap over the hose end and fold over the garden hose end and put a ty wrap on it so it doesn't leak or get debris inside. We connect the garden hose to a 3/8IPS male fitting to a 5/8" male hose barb and secure it with a hose clamp (jubilee clip) (coming out of the pump). The discharge hose is about 5' of 5/8" heavy wall toilet hose. The pump is a 12V Jabsco 18670-0123 12V Commercial duty Water Puppy. Be SURE and use impeller number 6360-0003 that is made of nitrile and not rubber (6360-0001 is rubber). Nitrile is for diesel or oily bilges but cracks in continuous duty applications like a raw water intake pump. (like on the generator) We have about 20' of 14-2 marine grade duplex wire with heavy duty alligator clips on one end and a male and female bullet connector on the other. Off the pump we have a 10 amp circuit breaker in line as an off/on switch as well as a safety breaker. Short leads off the breaker have the two opposing bullet connectors. For transferring fuel we connect one end to the positive side of the wing alternator and the ground anywhere on the engine. The pump is in the cockpit and just pumps a short distance. ALL fuel pumped into the tanks from an outside source is filtered thru a Baja Filter we mentioned a couple VofE's before.

To clean the fuel tanks we use the same set up with a couple changes. The intake side of the pump is a 6' length of 5/8" heavy duty toilet hose. We add a 3/8" male pipe to 1/2" male hose barb to the discharge hose that restricts the flow but increases the pressure while cleaning the tanks. Tank cleaning is simply transferring all but a gallon or so of fuel to the opposite tank then using the remaining fuel to suck up the intake hose and shoot it back out the discharge hose to wash the tank walls and bottoms. When you are thru recirculating the fuel and washing the tank, pump the fuel into a jerry jug, add another gallon of clean fuel and repeat the process. In the meantime, let that fuel settle while you are transferring fuel from the opposite tank to the now clean tank. Repeat the process but use the settled fuel for the second rinse. In the end you have to throw away about 2 gallons of contaminated fuel. Or, you can let that settle and reclaim a portion of that.

Last night (Wed) was memorable. The most important item to keep an eye on when running at night is the radar. We have a saying, radar never lies. Last night it wasn't up to its usual tell tale performance. However, we had high seas (not rough - just high), Egret was surrounded by rain squalls showing up everywhere on 12nm radar. I was preparing OMNI Bob's report for 1200Z when I looked up and saw CLOSE what appeared to be a city after being at sea for more than a week. There was a ship moving very slowly down sea off to stbd on a course that paralleled Egret's and would pass well less than a mile away. I dropped Bob's report and started fine turning the radar trying to figure out its course. The front and rear white lights were visible and it had very bright deck lights but no visible running lights. In the heavy swell there were only moments when both boats were on top of waves at the same time. In the meantime I could barely get a return on radar even after dropping down to 6nm and to 3nm. This was very strange for such a large target. I called Mary and Dick up to keep watch as well. I changed course drastically to port. THEN it turned toward Egret. So we ran the engine up to 2000 rpm and kept turning inside its turn radius. At this point we were probably less than 3/4nm away. Mary said she thought she saw TWO ships close together. Then she said they appeared to be Asian fishing boats like we have seen in the past. These boats are about 100' long, wood and have stern storage projections out over the usual flat transom. After the boat turned to port (south) it/they maintained its course and came no closer. Obviously I called on the radio and there was no AIS. That was the end of it but all our legs were literally shaking for a while after.

It appears they were 2 Asian fishing boats waiting for Egret to pass before resuming or starting fishing. I assume there wasn't an English speaker aboard like on all commercial ships these days, because if there was they would have communicated. At least I would hope so. And now it is something after 0400 on Thursday since relieving Dick. After Dick went below I turned up the radar from 12nm to 24nm and turned up the gain to full (because it is calm and there is no 'snow' on the screen. Oh no, not again, there was a single target just outside 12nm radar range. I put the EBL (electronic bearing line) on the target and started to watch. It appeared at first to be holding position but in the end it went away. It was probably a small pocket of rain.

The other memorable incident was hitting 1000nm traveled since leaving Fremantle. In another day Egret will be 1/3 of the way to Mauritius.

Now back to juicy bits of your (MY) dream cruise. To recap, you have now crossed the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and spent 2+ years enjoying those sights. You are now ready for the biggest adventure of your entire boating careers. You have doubled your already large ocean crossing spares. It is late August, still prime time in the Med but you have bigger fish to fry. You should be in Gibraltar by now taking final fuel. It is Time. Head out the strait past Algeceris then turn left around the Moroccan point jutting into the Atlantic. Set a course for Grand Canary Island. This will be an easy less than 5 day downhill trip in your beautiful new boat. Yes, you will catch fish for the first time in a long time. Refuel in Grand Canaria, rent a car for a couple days and tour the island. If you need any parts there is a well stocked marine store. This is the last good marine store until New Zealand and the last since Rome (Ostia Marina) or Marmaris, Turkey if you spend a winter there. (Crew in or out in GC) Overnight to La Gomera (in the Canaries) and stay a couple days in the tiny marina. Rent a car and tour the island for a day. Be sure and stop by the tiny church where Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) stopped a prayed with his crew before his voyages of discovery. Chris also had a bimbo stashed in La Gomeria. She won't be there, the church will.

It is time to recross the Atlantic. Ho hum. Atlantic......again. Set your course 60nm inside the eastern most Cape Verde Island. Along the way you will see the lights of Casablanca in the distance off to port. But you don't have time to stop because you are on a mission (to be explained later). Make a slight course change to clear St Paul's Rocks (keep at least 60nm away) on the way to Salvador, Brazil (Bahia de Salvadore). Until you approach the Brazilian coast you may not have a single drop of sea water on your pilothouse glass. Yes, it is that nice. NE trades to the equator and SE trades to Brazil. There are so many fish you can only fish when there is room in the stuffed freezer or as you close the coast you should fill the fridge to give fish away to the marina personnel. This helps a LOT. Also, a number of mornings collect the flying fish off the deck; gut, scale and pan fry the larger ones for breakfast. If you need to make a crew change or fly yourself, Salvador is the place. But don't take much time because you don't have time. The next part is important. After checking into the marina you need to make 3 stops for the Port Captain (first), Immigration and Customs. They are all along the same waterfront street and not far from the marina. DO NOT WALK to these offices. The marina office will call you a taxi. Pay the driver to stand by while you take care of business then drive you back to the marina. To provision have a taxi to take you to 'shopping'. This is a large modern mall with everything. Take a taxi back. Forget sightseeing. It isn't worth the chance. Muggings are daily affairs. Our crewman was mugged the day after we left for the States on a quick visit. 5 out of 7 boats on a rally were mugged as well last year or the year before. But you gotta stop and if you follow the rules all will be well.

Here is what I would do knowing what we know now. I would be a bit naughty. I would check out of Brazil in Salvador with a destination of Mar del Plata, Argentina. Checking out farther south is a real pain in a commercial harbor. You CAN NOT check out of Florinipolis as mentioned in the RCC cruising guide. Before leaving, fuel just around the corner from the marina at the floating fuel barge. It is a first class operation and the fuel is clean. Having checked out I would still stop in Isla Grande (Grand Isle, a small island in a protected bay - Brazil) and wander the small town for a couple days. Its exotic beautiful, the people are friendly and you can eat yourself about to death with all the tiny mom and pop restaurants. Now it is time for the week+ shot to Mar del Plata. Arriving Mar del Plata harbor the marina (to stbd) is inside a protected area and has a drawbridge gate at the entrance. Enter on the top half of the tide. If the tide is out, anchor close by in front of the boat yard. Once inside go to Yacht Club Argentino (with yellow stripes on the docks.) You will be early in the season so dockage shouldn't be a problem. Final provision. Get fuel at the fishing boat harbor next door. If you are fortunate Juan (John) Toranto will find you. John owns two of the large red fishing boats you see in the harbor and a number of shops ashore. You will never meet a person in your life who is as helpful as John. John came to Egret twice a day asking if there was anything he could do. We needed propane before we left. It was the weekend so John stopped by his office and took a full bottle from under the counter and gave it to us. We still have in on board. That kind of nice. (We will have a full John story sometime later as one of those special folks you meet cruising.)

Now it is Time. Everything you have learned in your prior and recent travels will be put to the test. You will do just fine. The learning curve will be steep at times but you have a great boat and not to worry. Just keep that in mind when you leave Mar del Plata on the greatest adventure of your life. More to follow.

OK, so much for the dream trip in your new dream boat. I have already written the next edition and it gets better. The one after that gets heavy duty wild!! Wild!! Just yesterday we received an e-mail from British friends we met in Patagonia and told them what I was writing and it was completely from memory. Then we went on to say just how much this area affected us all. (This couple spent 4 years in the area and are now cruising the Atlantic coast of Spain)

Yesterday we received a Forum question from a reader who finally snapped. Occasionally I'll end a VofE with "what did you do today?". So he laid out his 4 year plan until it is Their Time. Reading between the lines there was a plea for mercy from VofE pressure. What did you do today? is a cruel and unfair statement for most who are slaving away in this mess of an economic climate and dreaming of Your Time just like he. What did you do today? is pointedly directed at the few fortunate enough to be able to end the pain but are choked by indecision. Just because this group may not have what they had 2-3 years ago doesn't matter. Who does? So what? What are they going to do when in a year or two they are back even? Go cruising when they already had enough? This fortunate group are multi year losers if they truly wish to join the water world, not the Egret crew or the rest out here doing their deal, power or sail, coastal cruising or crossing oceans.

It is just light. The albatrosses are already at it along with the petrels. We have a few more days of good weather to enjoy before the next bit pushes thru. Mary has been laying out 3 great meals a day for the boys and life is very good. For those that can, what did you do today? Ciao.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
1834UTC 09 SEPT 2010

Thanks for your position reports.

High pressure ridging tends to stay to your south the next 24-48hrs then starts to weaken. The elongated ridge should extend from the Mauritius area ESE-ward toward SW Australia through Sun/0000Z.

The light SW winds you reported earlier are expected to shift to the S-SE, then slowly to the ESE-E through Sat, then more NE-N by late Sat/night and into Sun. The reason for this more NE-N winds is a new frontal system approaching from the west. The first front tends to near your location through Sun/0000Z. This will force the winds to shift ENE-NE to even N-NW through Mon/0000Z and freshen to as much as 20-25kts.

This front is not expected to cross your location, but the next front to the west will be stronger and will cross your location between 84E-80E (could be during Tue/14 or even early Wed/15). An area of low pressure associated with this front should move quickly toward the south/east during Mon/13-Wed/15. This will help provide a slightly easier wind/sea and swell pattern as the front moves approaches/moves through and also help keep the swells periods a bit longer, closer to 10-12sec (or even longer).

However, building NW-SW wind/sea and swell conditions should be expected with the second (stronger) cold frontal passage and gusts to Gale force and with combined sea/swells of 5-6mtrs "very possible".

Along the rhumbline toward Mauritius/Rodrigues Isl, adjusting your course/speed as necessary for the best ride, especially after Sun/0000GMT, expect:

Fri/10: SSE-ESE 10-18kts, as low as 05-10kt during late Fri, possible. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs to 1.0-1.5mtrs at times. Swells: SW 1.5-2.5mtrs Fri/am, then SW 1.0-2.0mtrs Fri/pm.

Sat/11: Shifting through the day, SSW-SSE to ESE-ENE 08-15kts, 0.5-1.0mtrs. Swells SW-WSW 1.0-2.0mtrs. A more NE-N wind 08-15kts may develop Sat/night-overnight.

Sun/12: NE-NNW 12-20kts, Seas 1.0-1.5mtrs. Swells SW-W 1.5-2.5mtrs.

Mon/13: NE-NNW 12-20kts, Sea 1.0-1.5mtrs. Swells: SW-W 1.5-2.5mtrs. Freshening NNE-NW 20-30kts, sea 1.5-2.5mtrs and SW-W swells 1.5-2.5mtrs through Mon/pm. Combined sea/swells 3.0-4.0mtrs are possible Mon/night-overnight.

Tue/14: NW-WNW 22-33kt, gusty/40kts through the day. Winds may shift to a more WNW-SW direction 22-33kts, gusty 40kts toward Tue/eve-night. Seas: 2.5-4.0mtrs. Swells: WNW-W 3.0-4.0mtrs. Combined sea/swells of 5.0-6.0mtrs are very possible prior to and after the cold front.

Please continue to advise your daily position while enroute. Watching/updating. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

September 7, 2010
Position: 29 40.83S 102 12.26E (12:00pm local Aus - 0400Z)
Wind: SW 21-27 knots, gusty in rain squalls
Seas: See OMNI Bob's report below
Speed: 5.5 knots
Total distance traveled from Fremantle: 810.8nm
Overall average speed: 5.6 knots
Distance traveled past 24 hours: 117.1nm
Average speed past 24 hours: 4.8 knots
NM to go: 2590
CCOM: 8.4* see glossary of terms at the bottom of this posting.

G' Day mis amigos first I think it is best to read OMNI Bob's weather forecast (at the bottom), then lets talk about the stern bladder. I worried all night about the algae contamination in the bladder we saw during fueling. To prepare for emptying the bladder we had a number of ways to remove the contamination depending on its severity. For the ultimate filter we took a 5 gallon pail and drilled a hole in the bottom with a hole saw then silicone sealed two 30 micron Racor filters one on top of the other inside the pail. (We cut off the plastic bail of the bottom filter so the top filter fit flush) Then we stuck this contraption in the engine room to cure overnight. Mary was to donate a pair of pantie hose as a prefilter and we planned to wrap the filters themselves with heavy duty blue paper towels as a second prefilter. THEN, this would be suspended with a block and line we use with filling the bladders sitting on top of the Baja filter emptying into a jerry jug to check for contamination. After all the worry it was a non event. We were able to use the Baja filter by itself to nearly the end when the algae started flowing. We left less than a gallon in the bladder we'll clean later. After fueling and cleanup we added biocide to the other two bladders.

I mentioned a block and line we use with filling the bladders. Here's the deal. We use a 1/2" sheave block with a snap hook on the end snapped on the forestay from the top of the mast to the bow pulpit (this is a security wire for the paravanes) for filling the forward two bladders. For the stern bladder we snap the block to the boat deck rail. One end of the line thru the block has a snap we snap into an eye on the filler plate and the other end gets lifted by a second person or after lifting the top of the bladder it gets cleated off. By holding the fill pipe of the bladder higher we get more fuel in the bladder vs just using the check valve in the filler neck. We do this on all three bladders. I don't know how you could get a full fill without lifting the filler neck without a major fuel spill. We don't spill a drop. When emptying the bladders we use the block to raise one end of the bladder as it gets lower on fuel. In the end the bladder is nearly lifted off the deck with the block to drain all the fuel.

I don't know if you got the latest weather report from OMNI Bob with the last VofE. Jenny, our east coast contact who handles VofE was probably preparing her house for the arrival of tropical storm Earl when we sent VofE at the end of the work day so we sent it directly to web guru Doug in California. In any case, if you are reading this early in the week, Egret will be in weather. Hopefully this will blow thru quickly and we can get back to normal and return the CCOM to its shelf. At this time there isn't much new to report. Mary made a huge pot of spaghetti sauce so when the weather arrives it is a simple heat and eat meal. We had a few small showers blow thru this morning giving the little lady a nice rinse. During the night our speed picked up considerably with a favorable current. We have been registering over 6 knots consistently.

Monday morning 0645 local. It is literally the calm before the storm. There is very little wind and the seas are the calmest since Egret departed Fremantle. The light is slowly changing from night to light gray. We are enjoying 12 hour days for the first time in a while. When I came on watch this morning at 0400 we received several e-mails from friends, one from our son in Thailand and OMNI Bob's. I opened Bob's last because we knew what was coming and with his detailed reports we needed some time to read it thoroughly. It appears since the last forecast the predicted seas have ramped up about a meter across the board. In any case all we can do is wait until later today when it starts. This is the same for any weather at sea. You wait and when it arrives you do the best you can to make it safe and comfortable. This one will be no different. Yesterday afternoon Dick and I emptied the diesel heater tank on the boat deck. This was 11 gallons - 42 ltrs and 80lbs of high weight we didn't need. That went into the port tank thru the Baja filter. Its a good thing we filtered the tank because the filter caught a big slug of dead algae. The good news is Egret's overall average speed returned to 5.9 knots and there are no issues with fuel reserves. I plan to run the entire way at 1350 unless we have to slow because of weather or speed up to make port in daylight instead of jogging offshore all night. It will be interesting to see the actual fuel burn. It is interesting to watch the speed. We have run from 4.5 knots to 7.2 knots in basically the same wind and seas. It is all about these mini currents. Some last for 24 hours, others for a few hours at a time. Currently for example, we are running 5.8 knots. Ten minutes ago it was 5.4 knots and there are barely any wind or seas. Interesting.

My how things change. You read the forecast. Its true. Had we been dropped into seas like these years ago we would be freakin. If the majority of you were dropped into these seas you would be freakin as well, trying to call your mommy on the sat phone or anyone that would listen, for a chopper, etc. You change. It is all part of the deal. These seas aren't the least bit dangerous, just big and uncomfortable. I will say it is difficult to sleep because of the motion and waves breaking against the hull with a loud pop. Every now and again a RBG rolls thru and breaks against the side of the house and slings lotsa water everywhere. This is the reason we changed our course just a bit and are running toward Rodrigues Island vs Mauritius. Rodrigues is one of two Mauritius Islands. It is just a bit north and 340nm to the east. Because we are still so far away from either island the course correction is just 4 degrees but it makes a difference in the ride and particularly when an occasional beam sea breaks and rocks our little white fiberglass world. We still have the two forward bladders on deck (that unbalance the boat) but until it calms in another day or two we are stuck with the high weight. You can see the average speed for the past 24 hours and the overall trip have suffered but overall we still have well more than enough fuel.

So that's enough about us, lets talk about you. Being sleep deprived I'm a bit cranky so someone has to suffer. It can't be MS because she is the best ever and it can't be Dick because he is such a nice easy going guy guy that doesn't deserve punishment. Of course you know you will get peripheral punishment for still living in a dirt dwelling and living a routine, normal, predictable life. 'But this isn't directed at you. Its for our buddys at PAE. Last year I designed in my mind the perfect boat for Mary and I and presented it on VofE. Unfortunately the timing was was poor because it was announced on VofE just before the holidays and you had more important things to do than worry about some drivel on the internet. So 20 of you didn't present checks to PAE and demand they build this new modet so we could have one as well. So its a dead issue. However, looking around I see another opportunity and it is something already in production. Sort of. We like a boat that is not to big and not to small. It needs to be super efficient, have a long waterline length and be low profile. Now you could take most any smaller N and delete the flybridge and it is sorta close. However, one is perfect except it has a few problems that need to be dealt with first. First the stick has to go. Then the expensive running gear substituted for a traditional set up. And it needs another 1000 gallons of fuel, a dry stack and a short mast and boom for launching your two dinghys on top. And stabilizers. And dry stack. Yup, its the 56MS without the MS. It is perfect. Of course we would want double pane glass and a bit of bow area reinforcement for shoving around ice and railing around the boat deck and a very small steering console so you could say it has a tiny flybridge. Had we been lifelong sailors perhaps the MS would stick but we are not and don't have the years or interest to learn when what we do know works so well. This boat would be magic, perfect, perfecto, etc.

I'm going to lay out a cruising scenario that is something we did part of but were limited by Egret's design, primarily fuel capacity. Before we get started on this dream trip understand 9 years ago we were just like most of you not having much practical experience and well less than some readers. We learned just as you will. What I'm saying is you can do this trip exactly as we outline and this new boat will do everything it needs to do safely and comfortably AND has the range Egret doesn't. So lets get started. Understand I am making this up and PAE is being blind sided by what I am writing so this is just a dream boat that could and a dream itinerary that is very doable.

Oh, you'll need a calculator. Lets see, if PAE buys into this deal and decides to put this modified version of the 56MS in production it will take 1.5 years for you to take delivery after commissioning (it could be 8 months or 3 years, I don't know) Now puch in a theoretical 1.5 and hit the plus sign. It doesn't matter what country you take delivery because this dream trip is just 6 months or less from happening anywhere in the world. So you take your dream boat and spend 2 years* locally expanding your range and comfort level all the while. After 2+ years of full time living aboard and traveling you are ready to cross your first ocean. This is a big deal. Don't think it isn't. However, by now you will be comfortable and your first ocean crossing will be one of your most memorable life's experiences. It is something YOU did, not bought. Its kinda cool. *now hit two and the plus sign, etc.

If you are from NZ, Oz, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong or generally that part of the world you have a couple choices. One is to follow the traditional sailing route up thru the western Pacific islands, Japan, Aleutians, Alaska and down to the Panama Canal. Or you can ride the counter current east near the equator, and on to the Panama Canal. Understand you can spend years doing either but this is just to get you to the start of MY dream cruise. Position yourself on the U.S. east coast in early May. If you are from the west coast of Canada or the U.S., Mexico, etc, do the same (early May).

If you are from the U.S. east coast, Canada or islands south, this is easy. If you are from Europe this is even easier.

With OMNI Bob's blessing, in mid to late May head across the Atlantic stopping at Bermuda, the Azores and stop in Gibraltar. If you are from the upper U.S. east coast or Canada, you may run directly to the Azores then stop in Gibraltar. Spend 2+ years in the Mediterranean. There are a couple articles in the Circumnavigator Magazine before the latest one laying out a suggested Mediterranean itinerary and highlights. You won't be the first to cross the Atlantic on your own bottom but understand every single boater today is following in someone else's footsteps. This is however, YOUR Personal Voyage of Discovery.

Now the really juicy part starts but you gotta wait. I'm tired of getting bounced and hanging on by my eyelids trying to type. VofE will be back when it calms. I know some of you are waiting for the guts and gore of big waves but you won't get it here. We'll let OMNI Bob give you the specs because quite honestly he can tell more accurately sitting in America what the wave heights are than our guessing. Egret's bow is 7' (2.2m) off the water so we look at that and guess. Bob's estimate is more accurate. The wind, feeling, wave pops and so on we will give and it is accurate. Same with the CCOM readings.

We just changed course back to Mauritius to keep the seas behaving a bit better. We also increased the rpm to 1450 from 1350 to give more water flow over the fins and keel. Climbing the sides of these mountains Egret needs to be upright as she can be. If the waves continue to swing we will have to turn more to the WSW. Running before these giants with a heavy bow wouldn't be wise and its in the wrong direction.

So there you have it. A bit of bouncing and a bit of speculation. Ciao.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
1900UTC 07 SEPT 2010

Thanks for your position report earlier today and latest VOE.

Observations indicate you are moving away the highest swells and swells of 6mtrs and higher will stay to your east.

The second cold front we are watching is moving toward the north/east should brush your location over the next 6-8hrs or so. Winds are expected shift to a more SW-ly direction and freshen back to 20-25kt, gusty/30kts, but these conditions will subside rather quickly through Wed/1200Z-1800Z as a new high pressure ridge pattern to your west begins to influence your track.

This next high cell should remain near 30S-34S/88E-100E through Sat/11-1200Z. Ridging to the north/west is expected to remain in control even as a low pressure and cold front develops to the west/south of the high ridge. This ridge will help maintain the the more SE-E winds through Fri/0600Z, then a winds should slowly shift to a more E-NE direction as you move closer to/west of the high ridge and closer to the weather front. Fortunately, the ridge will be clos enough and the front far enough to the west/south that the winds should stay below 20kts and sea/swells under 2mtrs during Wed/1200Z through Sun/1200Z.

Outlooks indicate the frontal system will approach from the west and produce a shifting NW-W-WSW wind/sea pattern with building W-SW swells by Mon/13-0000Z.

We continue to suggest adjusting your course in as necessary for the best ride. As conditions allow, you can resume the rhumbline toward Mauritius/Rodrigues Isl, expect:

Wed/08: WSW to WNW 15-20kts then shifting WNW-SSW 20-30kt, gusty through Wed/eve-night. Seas 2.0-2.5mtrs possibly down as low as 1.5-2.0mtrs at times in the lightest winds prior to the front. Swells: SW-ly 4.5-6.0mtrs through the day, could ease to as low as 4.5-5.0mtrs by Wed/night-overnight.

Thur/09: Winds ease SSW-SSE 12-18kts, to as low as 10-15kts. Seas subside to 1.0-1.5mtrs early to 0.5-1.0mtrs during Thur/pm. Swells gradually subside from SW-SSW from 4.0-5.0mtrs 10-13sec during Thur/am to 3.0-4.0mtrs 10-12sec during Thur/pm.

Fri/10: SSE-ESE 10-18kts, as low as 05-10kt during late Fri, possible. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs to 1.0-1.5mtrs at times. Swells: SW 2.0-3.0mtrs Fri/am, then SW 1.5-2.5mtrs Fri/pm. There is the possibility that SW swells of 1.5-2.0mtrs prevail during Fri/eve-night and overnight.

Sat/11: Shifting through the day, SSW-SSE to ESE-ENE 08-15kts, 0.5-1.0mtrs. Swells SW-WSW 1.0-2.0mtrs.

Sun/12: ENE-NNE 10-18kts, Seas 0.5-1.0mtrs. Swells SW-W 1.0-2.0mtrs.

Please continue to advise your daily position while enroute. Watching/updating.

B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

September 3, 2010
Position: 29 42.94S 112 23.19E (12:00pm local Aus - 0400Z)
Wind: 10.3 SW
Seas: gentle swells less than 2m from SW and SE
Speed: 4.9 knots
Total distance traveled from Fremantle: 278.4nm (48 hours)
Overall average speed: 5.8 knots
Distance traveled past 24 hours: 117.4nm (This is one hour off or about 5nm under calculated. The overall distance is correct)
Average speed past 24 hours: 5.1 knots
NM to go: 3122nm

Ed. note: To preserve Iridium time while at sea during this, Egret's longest leg to date, Scott will not be sending new photos to accompany his posts. Be sure to visit the photo gallery where a new batch of western Australia photos was posted recently.

G’ Day mis amigos, Egret has been under way about 22 hours. She has covered 141.2nm at an average speed of 6.4 knots running 1350 rpm. She has enjoyed following seas the entire trip so far. The largest have been about 2 meters but mostly less.

The bad news first. Mary, Dick and I were in the pilothouse about sunset when the pilot light for the fresh water pump came on for no reason. I checked the engine room first and all was well. Next, Mary and I pulled the mattress off the master berth and checked under the plywood landing. Yup, the $%#@*%(%#^ whale tubing (fresh water pipes) had a tiny split…….AGAIN, and was spraying a fine mist of precious over everything. So we turned off the water pump breaker, opened the faucet in the galley catching what was being pumped from the pulsation dampener (pressurized water tank) and headed for the box of fittings. I got out a coupling and a pair of razor cutters (like pvc cutters) and went to work. The fix took a couple minutes then Mary turned on the breaker and all was dry.

Here's the deal about whale tubing. The tubing itself comes in two outside diameters; 15mm and 22mm. Water pressure systems use 15mm in smaller boats. The fittings are like Chinese handcuffs with little fingers that hold the tubing once it is shoved inside the fitting. The tubing is sealed with an O ring. Normally this works very well. It does however, have two weaknesses. The fittings CAN NOT be side loaded by the tubing pulling at an angle, and the tubing cannot be exposed to high heat for an extended period. Over the years we had 3 side loaded fittings fail in the engine room. All three were in the same location where tubing and hose come together and one fitting was side loaded. One of those failures cost us a very expensive inverter when the fitting failed and sprayed the inverter with water. It was quite a light show I might add. However, every other failure came from under the bed where the hot water heater resides and the hoses from the engine hot water loop to the water heater meet. Unless we turn off the engine hot water loop while under way it gets very hot in this confined space. We now know to turn on the bypass loop for a couple hours a day to heat the water and leave it off the rest of the time. When we get back to Ft Lauderdale, ALL this under berth tubing will be changed for new.

Now for the good news. Egret is as perfectly balanced as she can be considering her fuel load. Repositioning the heavy food stores forward and the side deck load of jerry jug fuel and offset cockpit fuel bladder made all the difference. The seas have been directly on the stern so there has been no corkscrewing with this heavy load. There are whales everywhere. Dick saw one breach and I saw the splash from a breach. These big guys are heading south to Antarctica for the summer feeding season and I imagine some new calves will be tagging along as well. Our good friends the albatrosses have been out along with smaller sea birds. The moon lit the surface last night and it is a beautiful sunny day today.

In 2.8 nm Egret abandons her course from roughly 6nm off the coast to a turning point 30nm offshore just below the Abrolhos Island and east of Geraldton. During this course change she will loose the north flowing counter current and the seas will move more toward her quarter. From that waypoint we basically turn left (port) and will have beam seas for quite a while until we start our NWing. We know from OMNI Bob’s reports once we drop off the edge of the continental shelf the seas will increase in height with a bit of wind chop on top. Just what all this means for sure we'll find out later today.

In the meantime Egret banked* .4 knot for the past 22 hours at no cost in fuel burn. Lets take a look at that. Lets say Egret got an additional .4 knot boost for 24 hours. .4 x 24 = 10.0 (give me a little break here) = 10nm additional. Big deal. It IS a big deal. So lets say the trip is 20 days with dependable trade wind weather and we gain 10nm/day so now we have 200nm gained, or, more than a single days run. And we have a fuel savings of 200 liters of fuel or 52 U.S. gallons. This equates to a 5% reserve from Egret's main tanks. You see it is a game of inches. However, it works BOTH ways. This is what fuel reserve is all about. *beyond our trip planning speed of 6 knots.

Dick made the turn and the seas have moved on the quarter. The ride is still very good with a bit of corkscrewing then the larger sets roll thru. Our speed has dropped to between 6.2 and 6.3. The wind is directly behind at 12 knots and we are loosing our current but in any case it is what it is. More to follow.

Later. My how things change. Speed fell like a rock once we moved west of the counter current. The honeymoon ended with the reality of real Indian Ocean seas as we drove over various depth changes stacking up the SW swells. We were told this was the “swelly” part and it was. The wind varied between 15 and 24 knots pushing up a bit of chop as well. Egret got whacked with a few RBG’s (really big guys*) from the beam but in spite of her load she did surprisingly well. During the night things calmed until now at just after daybreak there is nothing but gentle swells from the SW and smaller swells from the SE. So all is well, there is very little motion, just a bit of up and down. Now for the downside. Our speed dropped during the night to as low as 4.5 knots during the rougher times, then hovered around 4.7 knots and now is staying at 5 – 5.3 knots. I don't get it. When it was windy we had waves from forward of the beam as well as just aft of the beam and a current trying to push Egret south. Our set and drift was about 2 degrees to port, against the wind, with the current making up the difference. When the winds died and the seas were still a bit larger we had 10 degrees of set and drift to port. Now there is very little wind (6.6 kts) and gentle seas so the set and drift is about 2 degrees. So why are we so slow? I don't have an answer unless it is our weight. *we use an at sea lingo. If you don't know Egret's sea speak click on glossary of terms at the bottom of this posting to get up to date.

Of course this speed, particularly at 4.5 knots, set off a flurry of calculations for fuel mileage and distance and all that. In the end I calculated if we maintain an average speed of 5 knots we still have a reasonable reserve and have an option of reducing rpm for even more mileage. Something else I didn't mention previously, we have a bail out island about 250nm closer. This is the sister Mauritius island of Rodrigues. We may decide to stop there anyway but had planned to make the call as we got closer and see how we felt, how everything was going and so on.

As fuel burns off we will be faster and as I mentioned previously, a few hundred nm from here we should pick up the SE trades that will give Egret a bit of boost. So we'll just enjoy the good weather, watch our bird buddys and keep an eye out for whales.

We had a ship show up early this morning on the AIS at 12.3nm. Its course was 90 degrees to ours and its CPA (closest point of approach) was about zero. The ship made no course change so at 8nm I called twice with no response. At 6nm it started its turn but still passed behind Egret at an uncomfortable 1.35nm. The ship was bound for Jakarta carrying hazardous materials running at 16.4 knots.

Later. Well, well, I was sitting thinking about winding up this posting when I had an epiphany. The Naiad stabilizer lights were still turned off for night running. Among the lights are two bars on the sides of the panel showing fin movement. Even though it is quite calm we still had them cranked to about 1:30 on the dials which is stiff. I turned them down to 10:00 and we gained about 2.5 knots within a mile. Duuuh, as much time as we spent in this boat you would think we have it figured out. We're still learning AND remembering.

There is one more thing we should mention. When I was filling one of the fuel bladders, I noticed the inside of the fill cap was dripping with brown sludge. I could also see more sludge inside the bladder. I assume this is an algae of some type built up while the bladders had just a touch of fuel left and stored in the lazarette. The last thing we want to do is pump this goo into the main tanks. I added a shock treatment of biocide into the cockpit bladder that gets emptied first. To double check everything we will empty a 20ltr clear jerry jug into the main tank then pump it back full from the bladder straining the fuel first thru a synthetic chamois then thru the baja filter. This will come tomorrow afternoon if it is still calm. If there is the slightest problem with algae we will figure out a way to filter the fuel back and forth between jerry jugs and let it settle until it is spotless before we put it into the main tanks.

At sea we always circulate the fuel 24/7 thru the circ filter. The 900 Racor circ filter has a 10 micron filter (30 microns is about useless* except for larger debris or water) * we found Argentine fuel to be very dirty, not with dirt, debris or water but something in the fuel itself. We were eating 2 micron Racor filters for the main. All the time we were using 30 micron Racor circ filters to use them up from a batch we had on board. We bought a supply of 10 micron Racor's and that reduced the 2 micron main tank replacements by 90%.

This wraps up the first couple days at sea. We are into our watch routine, are sleeping better and all is well. Last night Mary fixed a big dinner of crayfish (lobster) sauteed in lime juice and butter and served over rice. Ho hum, whales, albatrosses, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, calm seas and great company. What did you do today? Ciao.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
1848UTC 01 SEPT 2010

Observations indicate a weak front has moved across SW Australia. A broad area of high pressure is centered to your west near 34S 84W with a ridge eastward toward SW Australia. This ridge will tend to remain stationary the next 24hrs, but it will also weaken and gradually weaken/merge with a new/strong high pressure area approaching from the south/west.

The weakening high will allow a new low pressure system to the south to move eastward across the more southern latitudes through Mon/1200Z. The associated weather front will move across the SW'rn portion of Australia and allow a new round of increasing SW-ly swells to build while the winds tend to freshen behind the front and as the new high ridge pattern to the south/west builds in.

So, weakening high pressure to your south will produce the light wind/seas/swells you've been enjoying. These lighter conditions are expected through Sun/0600Z, then a gradual transition into freshening winds Increasing winds will develop through Mon/1200Z and should also back SE-S, even some SSW, and continue through Wed/1200Z.

Fortunately, the strongest winds seas should last only about 36-48hrs before conditions start to improve since the new high should start to weaken and the pressure gradient will tend to start easing after Tue/0000Z. The SW swells will remain on the rough to very rough side east of 100E/long toward the coast of Australia.

Along the WNW-ward course toward Mauritius adjusting your course/speed as necessary for the best/safest ride, expect:

Sat/04: ESE-SE 12-18kts, Seas 1.5mtrs. Swells SW-ly 2.0-2.5mtrs. Period 9-11sec. Winds tending more ESE-ly 15-20kts 1.5-2.0mtrs with SW swells 1.5-2.5mtrs thru the day.

Sun/05: ESE-ly 13-20kts, Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs. Swells SW 2.0-3.0mtrs. Some longer 3.5mtrs swells may develop late in the day. Also, winds should also begin to back ESE-SE to SSE late in the day.

Mon/06: SE-S 15-20kts, gusty. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs. Swells SW 2.5-3.5mtrs through midday, gradually freshen/build Southerly 20-30kts, Seas build 2.0-3.0mtrs with SW swells 3.0-4.0mtrs by late Monday.

Tue/07: Southerly 20-30kt, gusty at times. Seas 2.5-3.0mtrs. Swells SW 3.5-5.0mtrs.

Wed/08: Starting to ease during the day, SE-ESE 20-25kts, possibly 15-20kts by late Wed/night. Seas 2.0-3.0mtrs thru midday, 2.0-2.5mtrs by Wed/pm. Swells: SW-ly 4.5-6.0mtrs with long periods 10-13sec.

Due to the expected rough to very rough long period swells, you may need to adjust your heading to a more WNW-NW direction during Mon/pm-Wed in order to produce a better ride and place the conditions more aft of the beam.

We will continue to watch you and this pattern closely. Please continue to advise your daily position while enroute. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI


September 1, 2010
Position: 31 57.6S 115 41.3E (About 6.2nm N of Fremantle) Speed 6.6 knots
Seas 1m swell from astern.
Wind 7.3 knots apparent (from the stbd quarter)
ETA in Mauritius. About 24 days.
Are we having fun? Youbetcha.

G’Day mis amigos, this first bit was written a couple days before departure and is a copy of my fueling worksheet. This is only the third time ever we used fuel bladders for a long distance stretch. We know now the first two were not necessary but didn’t know (for sure, sure) at the time. This time it is absolutely necessary. We used the 3 bladders one other time but it was for saving money. We saved about a BU (boat unit - $1,000) by taking deck fuel in Argentina vs buying it later in Chile.

So here are the fueling details. Mary’s job is to record every liter of fuel pumped and where it goes; each bladder individually, the jerry jugs and diesel heater tank as a single entity, and each main tank. Dick’s job is to fuel the diesel heater tank on the boat deck then assist me. The diesel heater tank (11 gal – 42ltr) is simply another storage devise, not for heat. It will be emptied into the main tanks at the same time as the jerry jugs.

The overall goal of fueling is to take as much fuel aboard as possible. (We will have full water when we arrive at the fuel dock. The single 200 gallon – 760ltr, water tank is under the sole (floor) in the forward stateroom) To keep the boat as level as possible so there is not an air pocket in the main tanks we need to keep Egret on her lines as long as possible and not stern down as she will be with full fuel. With this in mind the fueling sequence will be:

Fill three partial jerry jugs, tie them to a heavy line (already in place) and have Dick hoist them to the boat deck and fill the diesel heater tank.

Next comes the forward bladder (150 gallons – 570ltrs). We will not be able to fill this bladder to capacity because it sits on 3 hatches that reduce the volume. However, we will know exactly how much fuel is in each bladder after fueling.

Next is the smallest bladder behind the Portuguese bridge (50 gallons – 190ltrs) with a probable fill of about 40 gallons – 152ltrs.

Next is the stbd main tank until full, followed by the port main tank until the boat is level. Once the boat is level, try to squeeze a little more fuel into the stbd tank.

Fill the jerry jugs in total and place them on the stbd side deck with the tallest jugs forward, followed by a 20 liter jug of emergency fresh water and the full spare gas tank for the dink. These jugs will be kept in place by running a line from the stbd spring cleat thru the handles of the jugs with a hitch on each handle (three hitches on the ends) and tying the line off on an aft cleat. We have done this in the past and there was no sliding back and forth of the jerry jugs.

Now we fill the port main tank to full. And last comes the stern fuel bladder – offset to stbd. (100 gallons – 380ltrs)

In the end we won’t know for sure exactly how much fuel we have on board because I suspect we will have somewhat of a small air pocket in the port main tank. However, we can get close to an accurate figure and once in Mauritius will know our fuel burn within a few liters. Please understand the figures we give you in Mauritius are for this trip on these days only. These figures CAN NOT be used for overall voyage planning in a different part of the world by ourselves or others. If Egret was running from San Diego or another U.S. or Mexico west coast port to the Marquesas during lets say, April or May, then the figures would be reasonably close for another N46 or perhaps an N40 or N43.

All deck fuel will be filtered thru a Baja Filter before going into the main tanks. The filter is an aluminum tube with a spout on one end and open on the other. Inside are three chambers with very fine mesh stainless steel screens for trapping water and debris. Water immediately beads on top of the first screen as well as trapping debris. The top filter is easy to pop out and clean. We never had anything but a tiny bit of debris and no water in the middle filter, and neither in the bottom filter.

Egret has two handheld Garmin 76 GPS’s on each side of the pilothouse dash reading thru the glass. Both are powered by a 12V cigarette lighter plug. Garmin makes a splitter that plugs into the back of the unit that has a cigarette lighter plug on one end and a 9 pin connector on the other. We attach a 9pin to USB connector and they each can drive their designated laptops in an emergency. Both have been used for many day periods as a test and they never miss a beat. The other day I reset both units to zero so they will record the trip details from Fremantle to Ft Lauderdale (Fremantle to FLL is 9919.9nm direct. It will be interesting to see the actual total traveled). In addition we have several other laptops in reserve with navigation software and have been run in the past by the Garmin’s as well as Egret’s main GPS.

Egret’s main navigation GPS is an old 1990’s Lowrance Global Map 2000 we used in the boat building business. The Lowrance has an excellent depth finder, a built in world accuracy chart plotter and a GPS. I was familiar operating the Lowrance at the time we commissioned Egret so we installed 2, pilothouse and a second in the flybridge, and have a new spare in a box. Neither have ever missed a beat. It is the same with the Standard Horizon VHF radios. We sold about 100 Standard Horizon radios with zero returns used in a salt drenched open environment. That was good enough for us. The flybridge VHF has a remote power mike with complete controls that is in the pilothouse as a second VHF. The pilothouse VHF has a power mike in the master stateroom we leave on at night when anchored with other boats. We carry a new spare as well. Neither VHF has missed a beat.

Early this morning (Tue) we received an e-mail from OMNI Bob saying the weather we are experiencing is the norm for this time of year and happens in the northern hemisphere as well. I opened up a huge area of the gribs that extended from the top of Oz to well below South Africa and Australia (19 minutes if we had used the Iridium phone instead of seconds on slow internet). It was clear to see the lows marching in a relative straight line along high southern latitudes sending SW swells north. These swells are interrupted by mid Oz highs (calms) that advance from the west and dissipate. My bottom line take is if we want to leave Oz this time of year we just have to deal with it and as Egret makes her westing things will tend to get better and better. In a couple hours we will call Customs and make the appointment for tomorrow morning. We’ll see. It is going to be exciting to be moving once again. Hopefully we won’t get killerated. We’ll see.

Later. We have a 0900 appointment tomorrow (Wed) at the fuel dock with Customs. Mary, Dick and I went to the store for final provisions. Later, Dick dove on the prop with waterproof sandpaper (cloth backed) and said it was still perfect since the recent haul. He wiped each blade just in case. We also took the precaution to use a short piece of line wrapped around the wing engine shaft coupling to secure the propeller folded top to bottom (2 blade prop). In the event we have to start the wing I still have to go into the engine room to open the exhaust valve we mentioned in the past. So another few seconds to unwrap the coupling doesn’t matter. (Long ago I marked the coupling with a straight black line indicating when the prop is folded top to bottom and not one blade drooping causing unnecessary drag.)

Another last minute check was the 4 scuppers (large water drains thru the hull sides at deck level) on the side deck and in the cockpit. The scuppers are covered outside with a piece of fiberglass plate cut to the scupper opening and hinged outside by a heavy hinge. The scupper flaps are held shut with a piece of thin shock cord attached thru small holes in the bottom corners to an inside centerline eye strap on top. Every couple years the sun degrades the cord so they have to be changed and we have. Additionally, the cords loose their tension after a long voyage such as the Tasman Sea crossing and have to be retensioned. As an interim adjustment before replacement we use a ty wrap (plastic cable tie) and pinch the two cords together just a bit to tension the scupper flap tight to the scupper. If you don’t they will open and act as a scoop as waves rise above the side deck and cockpit deck floor levels and shovel water along the decks.

OK, here is the fuel deal. Apparently the 50 gallon (190ltr) fuel bladder is mis marked from the factory. We put 245.6ltrs – 70 gal in the bladder. The entire total matches if we include this total as per the pump. The 150 gal – 570ltr front bladder took 141.5 gallons – 537.6ltrs. The 100 gallon – 380ltr stern bladder took 379.2ltrs. The jerry jugs took 83.15 gal – 316ltrs.

Bottom line: the main tanks are full, 1000 U.S. gallons 3,800 ltrs. Plus we have an additional 394.65 gal – 1499.67 ltrs of diesel in deck fuel. There is an 38.5ltr – 10 gallon discrepancy between my sight gauge calculations and actual. So in any case we have a reasonable idea of fuel on board. We also picked up 4 pails of Shell Rimula 4L 15W40 engine oil. Duty free fuel cost .8464AU/ltr vs 1.4643AU non duty free. The oil was $113.24/20ltr pail.

Now for the good news. You can see from OMNI Bob’s forecast the weather is way better than expected. Obviously we are thrilled if this trend continues over the next days. With the wind and perhaps the tide or counter current behind Egret we are currently making 6.6 knots at 1350 rpm. This is as good as it gets.

Fueling took 2 hours and 42 minutes from arrival to casting off the lines. Customs arrived on time, did their paperwork and sat in their car until Egret departed the dock. They were professional, painless and a couple good guys. Bill and Val, caravaners and boating hopefuls we met camping stopped by with goodbye goodies and to see us off. Last night, another local (Ian) we met thru the Fremantle Sailing Club stopped by for a chat and gave Egret a present of local wine. What can we say? Are Ozzies great folks or what?

We will leave you and Australia with a couple of our favorite Australian images. Choosing our favorites is nearly an impossible task so I picked these at random.

Picture 3. Mary took this extraordinary image of The Pinnacles* in a chance opportunity of being illuminated as a backdrop for a local TV weather anchor. The Pinnacles appear to be petrified termite mounds from eons past but in fact scientists have yet to determine their origin. *located near the coast north of Fremantle/Perth, Western Australia.

Picture 4. This is my favorite Australian at sea image. This single magnificent Wandering Albatross was riding the wind at sunset off the west coast of Tasmania. These long lived beautiful birds mate for life and ride the wild winds of high southern latitudes. The Wandering Albatross and the Southern Star define for Mary and I Egret’s time in these beautiful and challenging areas of the southern hemisphere.

Picture 5. We raised this Australian flag 8 months and 8 days ago in Tasmania after a many year wait to visit this beautiful country and meet a number of its super friendly folks. Today it was taken down as in the past with a number of countries with which we now feel a close kinship. In a way it is sad (shiny eyes for sure) but again there is new life at the next landfall as Egret drifts slowly west. Ciao.

This last part is for Ozzies only. Australia has the most vibrant economy of any we visited during the past 9 years afloat, including our own. Why not convert a bit of this vibrancy and invest in fiberglass, your own well being, and then head out and see the world from YOUR little white fiberglass ship? But do something different. Think outside the box. Boxes are boring. Do your financial dealings at home but perhaps take delivery in the Mediterranean. Cruising the Med is wonderful, it is calm during the cruising season, navigation is super easy and you can learn boating baby stepping in the birthplace of modern western culture. Or, how about delivery on the U.S. east coast and winter in the Bahamas? Or the Pacific Northwest? These are all super easy places to learn, have calm seas and after your tutorial you can turn left, right, or whatever. You will be ready and your boat will certainly be up to the task. Save touring your own country
pulling a white box behind your 4WD when you simply can’t boat anymore. We saw folks with walkers doing just that as we camped around Oz. Goodonem, they aren’t quitters and are still living life. Just a thought from folks who have a bit of insight.

From weather router Omni Bob:

High pressure ridging is moving ESE across the SW Australia area and this will maintain the SE-ESE wind/sea flow to Geraldton through Fri/morning. This ridge will weaken during Fri/03 as a new, weak cold front "brushes" SW Australia Fri/pm. West of this front another area of high pressure with a ridgeline oriented WNW-ESE over the central south/Indian Ocean will begin to move eastward through late Sat/04 into early Sun/05.

As this second ridge weakens, a broader/stronger low pressure area is expected to across the more southern Latitudes (between 45S-55W) during Mon/06-Tue/07 100E-130E. A trailing cold front to the north/west should move across 35S/lat at/near 100E during late Tue (by Tue/1200UTC), then move to SW Australia through Wed/night. High pressure behind the front will build eastward across the central S/Indian ocean between 35S-40S through Wed/08 resulting in freshening S-SE winds and building SSW-S to SE-ESE sea/swells.

Overall, the prevailing wind/sea direction should be aft of the beam to following. However, unavoidable SW-SSW swells should be expected through the forecast period and beyond. In fact, building swells of 4.0mtrs are expected by the end of the forecast period.

Basis an ETD Fremantle Wed/01-am along the coastal route to/abeam Geraldton then WNW-ward to Mauritius adjusting your course/speed as necessary for the best/safest ride, expect:

Thu/02: SE-ly 20-25kt, gusty/30kts at times. Seas 1.5-2.5mtrs lowest closest to the coast, upto 3.0-3.5mtrs possible more offshore (beyond 10nm from the coast). Swells SW-SSW 2.0-3.0mtrs, could subside to 1.5-2.5mtrs Thur/eve-night.

Fri/03-Geraldton area (and WNW-ward) : SSE-SE 15-20kts, gusty at times. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs. Swells SW-SSW 2.0-2.5mtrs. Could build back to 3.0mtrs late in the day. 9-10sec.

Sat/04: ESE-ly 15-25kts, Seas 2.0-32.5mtrs. Swells SW-ly 2.0-3.0mtrs, highest during the morning. Period 9-11sec

Sun/05: ESE-ly 15-25kts, Seas 2.0-2.5mtrs, Swells build a little SW 2.5-3.0mtrs, could reach 3.5-4.0mtrs by Sun/eve-night, period 10-12sec. Winds tending to back ESE-SSE 22-28kt, gusty/30kts, seas 2.5-3.0mtrs during Sun/eve-night. Period 10-12sec.

Mon/06: ESE-ly 20-25kts, gusty. Seas 2.5-3.0mtrs, could ease to 2.0-2.5mtrs Mon/late. Swells SW-SSW 3.0-4.0mtrs.

We will continue to watch you and this pattern closely. Please advise your departure as well as daily position while enroute. We will update no less than every other day once you depart, unless otherwise advised. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

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

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