Egret Breaks Record
Readers of the popular cruising blog Voyage of Egret on nordhavn.com might have missed the record that was recently set by Scott and Mary Flanders on board their Nordhavn 46. The couple departed Fremantle, Australia on September 3rd, bound for Mauritius in the west Indian Ocean, commencing the longest non-stop passage ever undertaken by a Nordhavn – or, for that matter, by a production power pleasure craft of any build. Just a few days before departure, Scott commented about the trip being “the longest total distance Egret has attempted and I’m sure will ever attempt.” And pretty much didn’t utter another word about it. Save for an editor’s note a few days later about a brief moratorium on photo sending in order to preserve Iridium time during the passage, there was no real indication of the journey’s significance or, the notion that, hey – history is being made here.
Just over three weeks later, there it was, embedded within the trip stats review of the September 28th log report: total distance traveled – 3,365 nm. A quick check around for other similar accomplishments revealed Heidi and Wofgang Haas, three-time circumnavigators in their Nordhavn 46, Kanaloa, had completed a 3,326-nm trip from Walvis Bay, Namibia to Fortaleza, Brazil in 2009. It appears no one else has come close.
This is big stuff – even for us here at Nordhavn. Perhaps as significant as double-backing around Cape Horn (which the Flanders did in ’07). So, why did Scott opt to gloss over such a huge milestone? “Geesh, it’s no biggie,” replied Scott when I called him on it. The gist of what he’s saying is, when you’re in a Nordhavn, a long passage, is a long passage, is a long passage. (Egret’s previous longest passage was an 18-day run from the Canary Islands to Brazil, totaling just over 2,800 nm.) You virtually prepare the same way whether it’s 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 nm. And they’ve prepared for and accomplished many such trips.
Like any passage, big or small, weather routing is key. In fact, it’s what kept the crew hanging out in Fremantle for a week longer than they’d wanted. In this case, safety and comfort as the result of weather were important factors, but when embarking on a passage of this magnitude, fuel burn rounds out the holy trinity of what’s most vital when considering sea conditions.
We now know this: Egret’s two 500-gal. fuel tanks had enough reserve to safely complete the passage. Flanders didn’t want to take any chances in case adverse currents forcing a slower pace yet higher RPMs (there’s that sea condition effect), or a rough ride requiring efficiency-eating active fin stabilizers (and again) yielded a higher fuel burn rate. Even before they left the dock they had to deal with the overall inefficiency of a fully-loaded boat.
In addition to Egret’s 1,000-gallon main tanks, Egret carried 306 gallons in fuel bladders and 83 gallons in jerry jugs for a total fuel supply of 1,389 gallons. After traveling several days at 1,350 RPM, says Scott, they had so much fuel in reserve so they increased RPMs for a better ride and decreased time at sea. In the end, they were left with 255 gallons in the tanks upon reaching Mauritius.
Scott and Mary used a simple, ballpark formula when making speed/range/distance calculations. Says Scott: “A very rough guide to Egret’s mileage when figuring reserve, only after a reasonable distance in passage, is figuring a worst case burn of 50 gallons of fuel/24 hours after covering a worst case distance scenario of 125 nm. Using that simple formula, when Egret reached Mauritius, she had a reserve of over 600 nm. In reality, it was well over 800 nm. With a decrease in RPM, it could have been stretched to 1,000nm.” (Early in the trip, including her very heavy fuel load, Egret spent days getting slightly over 4 nm/gallon.)
Overall, says Scott, the trip was enjoyable, the fishing decent, the company excellent, and the boat rock solid. When I asked him if he ever felt nervous about fuel burn, he answered, “Not a bit. We could have reduced RPMs and saved much more fuel but we chose not to because the extra speed gave Egret a better ride.
“It’s all math, really. You put in your time, you do the miles. Simple.”
Simple… nonetheless, we are extremely proud of the accomplishments Scott and Mary have been able to achieve thus far. They’ve got some exciting things planned for 2011 and we can’t wait to continue to be astounded by their incessant desire for adventure and the faith and love they have for their little white fiberglass ship.
Here are the 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 undoubtedly would have made the trip on her own tanks. Undoubtedly is not good enough. 25.5% reserve is good enough.