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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.


March 25, 2011

Mulle Deportivo, Slip N73, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

G’ Day mis amigos, today is techno day. The last couple VofE’s had important messages we didn’t want to dilute with techno.

But thinking about it, let’s have desert first. I don’t rewrite anything so we’ll do the techno at the end of this VofE and now we’ll pass along something that is interesting to everyone. Mary and I rented a car for the past 3 days, first of all to scope out boatyards to haul Egret and secondly to play tourista. We are seeing to see a pattern here with volcanic islands like Gran Canaria, Ascension Island, St Helena, Reunion and so on. The windward side of the island is the greenest with a dry fringe around most of the perimeter with green, mountainous interiors.

Roads in Spain (Canaries are part of Spain) all seem to be new, are well signed and safe if you drive slowly. Spain spent their EU money well. We were told, and I don’t know if it is true or not but it makes a good story, that Spain spent their EU money on infrastructure and France gave theirs to the nobles, so I suppose commoners got a whiff when the nobles spend their windfall making them of course, nobler. A trick to driving in Spain is forget looking at road numbers on the map. They are a fairy tale and you know how we Americans like our numbers. Drive to the towns shown on signs, link them along your route and all will be well.

Mountains are different to us than coastlines so we spent much of our time inland wandering tiny squiggly roads passing thru small farming villages. The Canaries are tempered by the Atlantic and are farther south than much of mainland Europe so in the flat spots most available land is used for agriculture. The Canaries supply much of the winter vegetables for mainland Europe. The plots are small family plots except for the coastal fringe where acres and acres are under tents growing hypnotic tomatoes and the like.

I believe to best describe what we saw is to give lengthy explanations to today’s pictures. As always, what we show is what you can do as well which is more important, not just what we did. We’ll start simple then will end with The Best.

Picture 1. This is not only a nice artsy picture but the curtains in the window represent the colors of Gran Canaria. Spain and the Canaries have two different faces; the traditional ‘White Villages’ and the in your face bright ocher colors. The Italian and French Rivera’s have the same ocher colors but they are more subdued pastels.

Picture 2. Faces of Spain. Jose Frio* – Joe Cool. (*the translation isn’t exact but close enough)

Picture 3. Faces of Spain. El Noche Negra – The Black Knight* El Noche Negra is a modern day Zorro in Grand Canaria. ENN races around the countryside righting wrong or perhaps just trying to stay upright.

Picture 4. Wildflowers are Everywhere in the countryside. In places there are carpets of purple and yellow and white and red and………

Picture 5. Typical inland scene with Roque Ranlayga (Roque – Rock) in the distance. Roque Ranlayga was a sacred site to the ancient aboriginals. The first inhabitants were Mediterranean Europeans who drifted ashore in rafts. The islands were populated with different groups the same way. Once here they lost the art of navigation (as if drifting downwind without a happy little Lugger or GPS is navigating) so lived in very different cultures close to each other, sometimes on the same islands. Once European sailors arrived their cultures did not last long.

Picture 6. There is a story here. At first glance it looks like a typical ‘White Village’ with the church the center of town. However, if you look carefully the housing is not ancient at all so I suppose it is a modern retro village. But let’s say It Is an old village where in ol tymes folks gathered close together for defense and commonality. Of course commonality = boring usual. Vanilla, or white in this case. Same same. Ho hum. But if you look closely, in the bottom center (L) you see an individual with an in your face bright ocher home AND it is set apart. This person dares to be different. Just like long distance cruisers. In fact, the owner of the house may own the Spanish flagged Amel (53’ sailboat) two boats away from Egret. Now that would be frio.

Picture 7. The Best. We stopped when we had a chance to pull over exiting the mountains and entering a narrow valley. At the head of the valley is a V shaped notch in the mountains that were green in an otherwise dry area. So we went exploring inland climbing over rocks in an old river bed, then discovered small pools of water and Then discovered a small waterfall. So we sat and enjoyed the scenery, the warm sun, listening to the waterfall and watching tiny yellow and black birds that got braver and braver the longer we stayed still. The sun was getting low and lit up MS’s hair so I snapped this picture. So it’s not just a nice picture of a beautiful lady but there is more to the story as you now know. This is what we did yesterday. What did …………?

OK, back to a couple techno items.

The first is a major dumb attack on my part and the same could happen to you if you don’t pay attention. Egret’s 12kw Northern Lights generator raw water intake pump (seawater cooling pump) has failed twice; once at 425 hours and the second just a few weeks ago at more than 4000 hours. The ceramic seal (the white seal you can see thru the casting) failed causing a weep of sea water. A small leak isn’t that big of a deal but it WILL get worse and start spraying sea water. This in turn gets everything close by covered by salt AND fills the drip tray under the generator. Now, the electrical end is cooled by a gigundus fan which can pick up the sea water and distribute it nicely thru the electrical end and things could and will get VERY bad soon.

Here’s the fix. Close the seacox to the pump. Remove the top and bottom hoses from the pump. The bottom hose is the intake side and the top is the discharge side. Using a ¼” drive ratchet, a short extension with a 12mm socket, remove the pump.

Here are the steps to rebuild the pump.

  1. Remove the gear (the pump is gear drive) with a gear puller.

  2. Remove the large C-clip at the rear of the pump.

  3. Remove the pump face plate.

  4. Remove the impeller with an impeller puller (Jabsco number 50070-0040), NOT with two screwdrivers that will booger the soft metal.

  5. Remove the screw holding the black plastic cam in place, snap out the cam.

  6. Remove the flat plate under the cam (faceplate).

  7. Using a wood block and a small hammer, pound the shaft down until the shaft is level with the casting, then use a small (10mm is what I use) deep socket to tap the shaft the rest of the way.

  8. Now you have the shaft assembly in your hand with the two bearings in place.

  9. Remove the seals, small c-clip, and spacer washers and replace the seals with new seating them against the proper shoulder in the shaft or the small c-clip.

  10. Reassemble in reverse order. Make sure you put a dab of silicone seal on the cam screw and a thin amount on the cam itself.

  11. As a quick test to see if you got everything right and the seals don’t leak, put your fingers over the two hose barbs and fill the housing with water. It shouldn’t leak.

  12. Replace the gear, remount the pump and hoses, OPEN the seacox and see how you did. All should be well.

If you noticed I did a little smoke and mirrors when it came to reassembly because I don’t remember it exactly. However, I did write a cheat sheet, as should you so when you get it apart you will see how things are assembled. Also, take digital pictures of the process and save them somewhere as well.

If all fails, install your spare pump and all Will be well. Northern Lights charges nominal prices for their parts and pumps unlike most manufactures today. A spare pump WITH a gear installed is a prudent spare. The gear isn’t expensive and if you are in a situation when you NEED to keep the generator running instead of letting things cool, a spare pump with a gear installed is so much easier than trying to work on a hot pump and gear….finding your gear puller, etc.

I guess I got sidetracked with rebuilding the pump so let’s get to the dumb attack. I rebuilt the pump when it was cold so there was no issue there. After everything was cleaned up I reinstalled the pump, hooked up the hoses, opened the seacox and fired up the gen. ALWAYS check the exhaust discharge after any maintenance on the gen pump or any raw water pump for that matter. No water was coming out of the exhaust. So off came the pump, checked the impeller (new), put it back on……no water. Then took the intake hose off and with dock pressure from a garden hose blew back thru the intake to see if anything was blocking the intake. Hooked the hose back to the pump……no %$#@@#%&* water. Of course during all this, Dickiedoo was watching from the salon and putting in his two cents worth and all I wanted to do was end his miserable life so I wouldn’t have to listen to it. Grrrrr. So as a final solution I installed the spare pump…….no $%$#@#$%& water. Just now D Doo was closer to death than he’ll ever know. So to double check the water supply (previously we opened the seacox with the intake hose off and it bubbled seawater) I hooked up a spare piece of ¾” hose and stuck it in a bucket of fresh water.

If you haven’t guessed, it blew bubbles. I had mounted the pump upside down……..twice. So here’s the bottom line: If you remove your generator pump, make SURE the cam screw is facing away from the service side of the engine. We put the rebuilt pump back on and all was well. And Dickiedoo lived.

While we were gone, Dickiedoo came up with a solution to a problem we have had for a long time. The only time the forward head gets used is when we have crew. Over the course of our cruising this is a short period of time. However, the forward head hoses seem to clog as fast as the master. As a second minor irritant, the forward head slowly fills the holding tank even though the Y valve is set to overboard. Some years back I checked the Y valve and vented loop in the forward head to see if there were any changes I could make to lessen the problem. Vented loops are installed in boats where the toilet is mounted below the waterline to keep water from siphoning back aboard. Egret’s forward head is mounted above the waterline but pitching in head seas it is below the waterline. PAE didn’t take any chances and installed a vented loop (that has an anti siphon valve). The nature of the guest head sink and cabinet arrangement made the builder to install the Y valve and vented loop higher than necessary. This means you have to use more water to push the stuff up and over the top of the loop when discharging overboard. Boats have two commodities; water and electricity (amps). We watch both like hawks. So I lowered the Y valve and vented loop assembly as much as I could and still have access……about 4”.

What D Doo found was when I remounted the Y valve I twisted it slightly with the mounting screws and distorted the valves inside that allowed weeping into the holding tank. Dickiedoo remounted the Y valve properly. So the bottom line is; guests have to use more water or we have to change the hoses more often.

So why do we mention things like these two issues at all? It is all part of the deal and something you need to be aware of. It is not always dolphins in the bow wake and sundowners with other cruisers. However, I will say it is a small price to pay for our freedom.

OK, if you are still with us, here’s the deal. Egret’s long distance travels are coming to and end for the foreseeable future until some day we decide to recross the Atlantic. However, we won’t leave you cold turkey. It is about 700nm from Gran Canaria to Gibraltar and another 5 days or so to the Balearic Islands where we slow down and start the typical Mediterranean cruising deal of short hops. In any case we will be back to normal cruising anyone can do if they wish in most any type of boat. In a recent e-mail to web guru, Doug Harlow, I told him our goal is to double VofE readership. One thing Doug is thinking about is some type of interactive map that shows more detail than we used in the past to put locations to names. From my part I have been thinking about giving more life to pictures as we did in today’s VofE as well as more history. I’m sure this will be fine tuned over time but if you have something you would like to see beyond what we are doing a short note to doug.harlow@nordhavn.com would be appreciated.

For your part if you would, tell your boating friends about VofE. VofE will perhaps help them as well. As you know, VofE is not a commercial venture. We are not paid and have no venue. The folks from PAE kindly host VofE on their website at no charge to us. I suspect it helps them a bit, but I also suspect VofE helps a lot of folks in the boat business in new boat sales as well as brokerage, power and sail. So don’t think the hammer is going to fall for this or that for ourselves. It isn’t and hasn’t since 2006.

So there you have it. A short VofE with more coming soon, a few pictures brought to life, a bit of techno and how can we help? Ciao.


March 18, 2011

Position: Slip N73, Mulle Deportivo, Las Palmas, Grand Canaria, Canary Islands

G’ Day mis amigos, the Egret crew is still dirt dwelling and it is time to get back home. We have been staying with Scott Jr and family then with lifelong friends. During the evenings we have been bombarded as you with political venues of Big Dogs controlling the networks, fuel price scare tactics and most recently the Japanese tsunami. In their frantic rush to report suffering and devastation in Japan we see a few holes in their broadcasting. The latest was the tsunami watch in Easter Island, about a jillion miles south of Japan. There was nothing mentioned from the Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Philippines, Fiji, Kingdom of Tonga, Samoas, French Polynesia or anything else in the way before Easter Island. Such is reporting. We can’t wait to get back aboard and away from this nonsense sensationalism of bleeding is leading. I guess we have changed to a simpler, less stressful life.

Later...Our condolences to the people of Japan. I believe what we see today,
3-18- 2011 is the tip of the iceberg of their suffering, physical and monetary, and a precursor to world changes.

Some news that is real, at least at the pumps, is the cost of fuel. So let’s talk about it from Egret’s travel prospective. Let’s just say Egret averaged 5.5 knots for the past 10,000 engine hours and we have been traveling 10 years so her total mileage is 55,000nm. Neither three figures are accurate but close enough to make a point and keep math simple. So if you do the math, Egret has averaged 5,500nm per year. Egret’s recent fuel mileage is over 3nm per U.S. gallon so let’s say it is exactly 3nm per gallon average. Egret’s tanks are 1000 U.S. gallons so let’s say she burns two tanks a year average, including generator burn on a long distance cruise. And now let’s say fuel averages $5.00 U.S. per gallon here and there. (Actually it is less overall) So her fuel burn is $10,000 U.S. per year. I’m not belittling $10,000 but it is not a backbreaker for the squeaker Egret crew and I suspect the far majority of you reading this drivel. And if you are coastal cruising like most and Egret will be soon once in the Med, fuel costs per year is much less. So the bottom line is, what are your dreams worth? I hope more than $10,000* or less per year. If not, you are selling your dreams short mis amigos. And if your dreams aren’t worth this much, perhaps TV Is for you like the boring majority.
*Larger boats burn more of course but we tend to spend what we have so proportionate spending is spread evenly or probably much less the larger the boat.

Our buddies that bought the last N46 produced ordered fresh chain from lewismarine.com. He special ordered a full 400’ barrel of 3/8” (11mm) high test chain. He ordered the chain cut into a 300’ length and two 50’ lengths. (by buying a full barrel you get a substantial discount) On each end of each chain length he custom ordered elongated links (oversize links). With elongated links you can link the chain to the anchor swivel with a galvanized shackle that exceeds the strength of the chain. Without elongated links and using the largest forged galvanized shackle that fits inside the chain link you end up with a sacrificial anchor. However, you will save the chain. I wrote this once before on VofE giving all the sizes and breaking strengths. I don’t have that information with me now or I would repeat the specs. Obviously it is important when all you have between you and shore is your anchor tackle while on anchor. K will flake the two 50’ pieces of chain under the main engine as Egret if and when he needs it. K also ordered a 40kg (88lb) Rocna anchor that came in today.

In addition to this we have two more additions to the anchoring system. A Ft Lauderdale company, Rope Inc, custom spliced two 5/16” stainless steel D shackles* to each end of a 5/8” x 100’ piece of polypropylene line. One end will attach to a pad eye inside the anchor locker and the other end will attach to the tag end of the chain. Picture 3. This way if there is any reason to dump all the chain in an emergency situation, once the chain is overboard and the polypro follows, all you have to do is cut the line and it will float above the chain until you can return and retrieve the chain and anchor. K has the 1” x 2” (3/4” x 1 ½” actual measurement) pressure treated strips to make a triangular grid on the floor of the anchor locker. This is a very easy item to make that keeps the chain and rode from lying in mud and also allowing the chain and rode to breath keeping corrosion to a minimum. Picture 4.

*5/16” stainless steel shackles seem small for anchoring but they exceed the working strength of the 5/8” polypro. The polypro will never used as anchor line but a simple tell tale to retrieve the anchor.

To complete the anchoring system, Rope Inc has special ordered three, 3/8” forged stainless chain hooks and will splice 25’ lengths of 5/8”, 3 lay twist nylon line (not braided). K googled used fire hose and found a company that sells used 50’ pieces of 1 ½” (36mm) fire hose for about 50 USP. The new looking hose arrived after a few days and he will cut that into 5’ lengths for chafe guard where the snubber goes over the anchor roller next to the chain.
Soon K will have a bullet proof anchoring system that is as good as you can get. Rope Inc also made a new set of 5/8”* yacht braid docklines wth 2’ loops and chafe guard inside the loops and a new lifting harness. (more on the dinghy change later) The only thing missing is retirement but that is on its way.
*5/8” for a single line is not enough in a serious blow for a N46, but 5/8” is Much easier to handle than ¾” for day to day usual docking. K ordered 8 lines so they can be doubled if need be. Mary and I do the same as well and have never had a problem.

We extended our stay in Florida a week because of a medical issue (Scott). In the end the fix is taking a couple pills and we are back to ground zero and all is well. However the importance of yearly check ups really hit home with this deal and also reinforces what we say about sooner is better than later. You know we have too many places to go and people to see to have an issue with health. What would happen if this would have tethered us to dirt dwelling or worse? I will say, if the worst or dirt would have happened at least we lived our lives as best we could.

Finally, Mary and I are back home aboard Egret in Las Palmas. Not that we didn’t enjoy our family and friends because that time was priceless, however the busyness of South Florida was wearing. We got back aboard early evening, enjoyed a bit of mind altering liquids then went to Sailor’s Bar for dinner. Listening to second or third language cruiser’s English was like fine music. In no time we had a fellow from Belgium at the table for this n’ that tales then were joined later by a lady from Holland. Dinner was enslada de poulpo (octopus salad) and a splash of red. We felt right at home.

Dickiedoo left a few days before we returned. We can tell he was bored beyond bored with nothing to do. Egret is clean beyond clean. Mary’s stainless is spotless, everything was washed and he even concoured the dinghy. Dick is a great friend and of course a great crewman. We will miss D Doo but he has his own life back in New Zealand and a ton of memories from the past miles at sea and countries visited.

So what’s next? Today was unpack day and making lists day. When we know what is going on we’ll pass it along. Ciao.



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

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