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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 do cuments the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them intouch 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…fornow.“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.

June 9, 2014
Position: On anchor, Tallahassee, Florida

Before we begin, I should clear up a misstatement I made in the High Latitudes posting. I said a boat should be considered expendable. That isn’t true. I should have said, could be lost. I purposely didn’t give any specifics of plans gone wrong but words alone don’t justify what I was trying to convey. This said, I am so serious about the reality of HLC, I’ll give a few examples to emphasize the point. It goes against my nature to write things like this, however it is Important. This is reality and why I was so serious. Anything less would be a disservice to you.

The year before Egret’s trek down the Argentine coast, two French sailboats were traveling in company; a couple aboard a ketch and the second a single hander aboard a small ocean race boat. Both boats entered the Magellan Strait then the wind began to blow. The ketch chose to lie ahull, was rolled and dismasted but survived. They found pieces of the smaller sailboat. A French couple had a propane explosion in the Chilean Channels, swam ashore with nothing but their clothes but was rescued thanks to a German ex-cruiser ashore in Chile operating a cruiser net. Boat lost. A German couple disappeared without a trace off Cape Horn.

During Egret’s year in Patagonia an American steel sloop foundered 500nm off the coast of Chile, called a Mayday and was rescued, boat lost. An Australian cruiser in a 40’ sloop was wintering with Egret and a few others. He was aboard several times while we were cruising in the Chilean Channels with he and an English couple in a large ketch. As we took pictures the day he left for Australia from the Channels, he did a 360, waved and headed out. A week or so later he was downflooded and lost his rudder, called a Mayday, drifted for 3 days and was picked up by a bulk carrier and dropped in Malaysia. Boat lost. Five sailors aboard a large Swan sailboat were caught in a storm between the Falklands and South Africa, were rolled, one lost overboard and the other 4 sustained serious injury. The 4 were rescued. Boat lost. You will never read words like these from me again.

Hello mis amigos, deviating from VofE’s usual, this will be the second magazine article type posting. The first was High Latitude Cruising and this posting will be World Cruising. We would normally do World Cruising before High Latitudes because first, it appeals to more people and it pays to be an accomplished World Cruiser before attempting High Latitudes. However, there was interest on the Nordhavn Owner’s Site in high latitudes so we reversed the order. We will reuse some of the text from the high latitudes posting because it is pertinent here.

This paragraph is worth repeating even though you have read it before. It is important for you to understand that Mary and I are no smarter or braver than any of you reading this narrative. We simply have a head start. Nothing more. We started as you have or will, at the beginning with plenty of doubts and nervousness. The first offshore trip in Egret was from our hometown of Ft Lauderdale to St Mary’s inlet at the Florida/Georgia border. That trip was nervous city, tiring, fun and exhilarating on arrival. What we didn’t know would fill volumes. After we completed the trip we were so proud of ourselves. Then we went on to make a lot of mistakes, ran aground a few times, got lost for a while but nevertheless, we wuz voyagers! And it went on from there. You will have/had a similar experience the first time you step/ed offshore.

You represent the next generation of boaters; coastal cruisers, ocean crossers and perhaps down the road, high latitude adventurers. There have been many generations of boaters before, however none have the advantage you have with the most reliable boats ever built, electronics* that until relatively recently even world naval forces didn’t have, and information at your fingertips. So what we’re saying is; World Cruising has never been easier or safer.

*Can you imagine being at sea with no sun sight for 3 days, not knowing where in the world you are, where the islands, reefs, shore, etc, are, all the while in a leaky sailboat? This was a couple generations back. Today is VERY different. It is magic and it is dependable magic. Fuel today in 99.99% of the world is clean, particularly where you are likely to cruise. The combination of well designed day tanks and killer Racor fuel filters have virtually eliminated fuel issues that years ago took out main engines on occasion. With modern electronics, radar and AIS, navigation is super easy and accurate. Weather forecasting is better than ever before as well as the ability to retrieve forecasts. However, the sea is still the sea and it is imperative you take the time to learn the important skills before heading Out.

When it comes to World Cruising destinations, it appears on the surface the world is coming apart. When you watch the idiot box’s talking heads selling bad news, you will believe there is no hope. Admittedly, countries like Venezuela are off limits to cruisers, and general areas like the west coast of Africa with the exception of Namibia and South Africa, and the Red Sea and it’s approaches. However, it is a big world with a lot to see safely with regard to personal safety. No boater can see it all. Like everything, you have to pick and choose.

There is a progression toward World Cruising we all go thru. In the beginning, once we cast off the lines for the first time and we are on our own, it is a pretty nervous time. Like a first date, we all manage to survive even though it may not be pretty. Then it get’s better. It actually gets better daily for the first weeks. Things begin to fall into place, you get more comfortable and instead of being somewhat ordealish, it actually becomes fun. With newly learned skills, ALL NEWBIES tend to race here and there to try and get it all in. It took Mary and I at least a year to begin to slow down. Knowing this, it pays to consciously begin to slow your pace as soon as you are able. You begin to see things, not just look. There is a difference. People ashore and aboard other boats begin to recognize you and associate you with your boat. Yachtie conversations begin on shore that didn’t happen before. It gets better and better when you slow your initial frantic pace.

Whether you had plans to become a world cruiser from the moment you ordered or bought your Precious, or it simply evolved over time like ourselves, sometime before you head out it pays to consciously work on improving your seamanship skills. This does not mean buying more boat Stuff. Stuff is nice but what is more important is having the ability to repair simple items and know what to do when the weather turns. These are personal skills that will carry you across the first ocean or at least the first substantial offshore trip.

How to handle a boat in weather is strictly a hands-on learning endeavor that can not be learned from books or postings like this. World Cruising is a major endeavor and it really needs to be approached like any project with a serious commitment. It doesn’t have to be a military drill, it may be simply learned over time as you expand your comfort level at sea. One gift that keeps on giving during your boating years is each other’s comfort at sea, both physical and mental. These comforts are relatively easy to obtain. As a simple test, head offshore when the waves are 4’ or so then both of you run the boat up-sea, down-sea and cross-sea just to see what happens. If either one or both of you are uncomfortable, talk about it then work on it. If 4’ is no biggie, purposely keep running in increased sea states and keep trading time at the helm. By sharing your thoughts and working on whatever together, it becomes so much easier. You will be surprised how fast your comfort level at sea increases with miles.

Also, it takes two who are committed. 80-20 or 70-30 doesn’t work long term. It takes two to world cruise. One who tries to do everything soon gets worn out and the other never really buys in. This doesn’t make for a happy long-term commitment to boating.

Preparing a boat for an ocean crossing takes time and commitment. In our personal case, I worked off and on pretty heavily for 3 months preparing Egret for her first ocean crossing. At the pre-Nordhavn Atlantic Rally inspection, the inspector said they didn’t have to look at Egret because they knew she was perfect. I thought she was. I invited them to take a look and it took just a few minutes for the inspector to come up with a 4-5 item list of things I missed. So anyhow, it takes time.

In the last posting on High Latitude Cruising I mentioned weather forecasting, spares and briefly mentioned costs. If by chance you didn’t read the last posting, these subjects are there but I’ll include one more item on cost. I wrote this offering as a reply to an ongoing discussion on the Nordhavn Dreamers site as various participants were giving their real time cruising costs. What they wrote was accurate for them and it was good information. However, in the big picture there is a more universal truth.

“This discussion is interesting. We are all such individuals there isn’t any rule of thumb. We have N owners who are super frugal and others who don’t have to be. We all see the same sights.

However, there is a bottom line that is universal. You spend what you have.

Personally what we have done was buy a boat that is smaller than we could have afforded leaving more for play. Playing to me is more important than a few more feet or a larger living space. There is a big difference between want and need. Our boat has less square footage than our bedroom when we were dirt dwellers. We have been living since last October in a box with less square footage than our old bathroom. We did it the year before as well. You can’t possibly imagine what we have seen and done; first by boat and the past months by Bubba Truck and by boat again shortly.

Most long term boaters go thru a metamorphosis that is unusual for folks living on dirt. We become less competitive, simple things mean more, stuff looses its relevance and we become kinder to each other and others. This is what money can’t buy. Money also can’t buy freedom and adventure, at least not on a long term boater’s scale.

So we believe it is best to be more conservative up front, you won’t miss the couple extra feet and you will have more play money. Play brings happiness and that’s what it is all about. The rest is just stuff. Doesn’t matter.”

Now let’s take a look at safe World Cruising Destinations. General areas are, from east to west: Scandinavia, UK and the Mediterranean, North America from Labrador south to the Florida Keys, the Bahamas Island chain south along the Eastern Caribbean to Trinidad, east coast Central America thru the Panama Canal, north along the west coast of Mexico to Alaska. Farther west lies the South Pacific, Micronesia, New Zealand, Australia, and west to Thailand. Also there are favorites we didn’t mention like Cartagena, Columbia, the Galapagos and others. These are huge areas to cruise that could and should take years and years to explore. For example, using New Zealand as a summer base, many cruisers spend years making the 6 month pilgrimage north to the 3 favorite island chains; The Kingdom of Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu. Some even trek farther north into the Solomon Islands and beyond. Once typhoon season approaches, the cruisers retreat to New Zealand, which is a world class destination in itself. The bottom line is there is so much to see and do, none of us can more than scratch the surface. We just chug here and there and enjoy what destinations we feel makes us the happiest. So it’s a big world with lots to see safely and comfortably.

We push World Cruising because it is so exciting and rewarding for ourselves. But what if you wanted to visit some of these destinations without crossing an ocean? There are alternatives. You can ship your Precious on a Dock Express type boat safely across an ocean. If you amortize the cost of shipping for as many years you plan to stay away, the costs are reasonable. For example, if you ship from the east coast of the U.S. to Palma de Majorca in the Balearic Islands off the Mediterranean coast of Spain, you can travel from Turkey to the east, to the northern tip of Norway to the west and never make more than a 2 day passage. If you want to keep one foot on the beach, it is all day hops even though it greatly increases the mileage. You may also ship from South Florida or Panama to the Pacific North West. Heading farther west, you can ship to Tahiti and the longest passage is 1,100nm from Tonga to New Zealand. This was a 7 day trip for Egret. So anyhow, there are a number of options to ship. Whatever you do, don’t think you have to cross an ocean on your own bottom to get where ever. It is quite an accomplishment, however shipping is much easier.

In wrap up, if you wish to world cruise it is best to purchase a boat that has the proven ability. Remember, you can put wings on a pig but you can’t make it fly. Pioneering an unproven or marginal design to cross an ocean in my opinion is a silly venture.

Also, you must tackle your education because it is important. Education can be great fun with the right attitude and it keeps on getting better. You will become closer than ever before. You will depend on each other and both of you will quietly share personal achievements as the years and miles pass. World Cruising is a very, very good life. I don’t know what could possibly be better. The feeling of accomplishment for both of you is priceless. It can’t be bought. It must be earned.

So it’s up to you. Good luck to you. However, you make your own luck.


Egret is for sale. http://youtu.be/AAR5wK-sWRs

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

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