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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 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 27, 2013
Position: 66 04.21N 23 07.49W Isafjordur, West Fjords, Iceland

Velkomin mis amigos, so let’s take a brief look at the Big Announcement last VofE announcing Egret is for sale. We got a number of qualified inquiries* as well as well-wishers. Some well wishers were implying/hoping we didn’t have health problems, or that we were going to be lost souls or go to Dirt Dwelling when Egret sells or something unexciting or boring like that. So folks, all’s well, we’re just trying to sell Egret to begin the next adventure and it won’t involve Dirt or liveaboard boats. VofE will continue as always and we’ll work on our project behind the scenes. What is Way More Important is planning for Your Time. It’s what VofE is all about anyway.

*A different inquiry than mom and pops like ourselves is a youngish mega-yacht captain currently in France following VofE who wants to cruise, begin a family and see the world. All the while he and his partner would be adding to their resume. I should send them a photo of diapers hanging off a small sailboat’s lifelines anchored in remote Suwarow Atoll in the Cook Islands, South Pacific.

Mary and I took a long walk around Isafjordur the other day. We’ll give you another look at the town from different areas of the inner fjord. Isafjordur’ inner harbor has a U shaped head with the channel into the inner harbor to the north heading down toward the west end of the fjord. In this series of 3 photos we’ll keep the dock where Egret is berthed in the photographs to give you a sense of <em>Egret</em>direction. The more time we spend in Iceland, the more we like it.

<em>Egret</em>The first photograph is the view from the pilothouse looking to the left, north. The second is looking back at the dock from the end of the inner harbor. The third is looking back at Isafjordurfrom the terminal end of the fjord. The dock is at the far right. In the far background is <em>Egret</em>Isafjordur’s personal ice cap.

During the walk we passed the local ski area shown here in the upper left. The hidden stream and waterfall in the center of the photograph is where Mary and I <em>Egret</em>picked blueberries the other day. The visible small stream to the left turns a mini hydro electro plant that produces 700KW of electricity. Now in early fall colors the blueberries have taken a red hue. You can see in this photograph and others just how many blueberry bushes there are.

<em>Egret</em>Next to a more recent residential area is an old farmhouse still in use. Connected to the farmhouse is a chicken coop about in the middle and the low buildings connected to the farmhouse is where they keep sheep during the winter. The past weekends, local volunteers have been rounding up sheep from the high hills along the coast into pens along the different fjord’s waterfronts.

<em>Egret</em>This is the newer residential section next to the old farm. What is significant are the four bicycles abandoned by kids for a grander adventure. Or perhaps lunch. Notice there are 3 pink girl bikes protected by a kickstand or laid in the grass and a 4th boy bike dropped in the rocks. Bikes are like boats. Some are girl boats and others are boy boats for boy cruising offshore. Boy boats can take the abuse and girl boats, well………..

<em>Egret</em>And the last photo of the walking tour is of the local airport. The terminal is the building to the far left. There is one runway. The pilots have to/need to be great. They have too take off and land in a tight circle to miss the mountain on the far side. There are lights along the mountain to give the pilots a sense of how close they are to worm farm city.

Here’s how much we like Iceland. Knowing what we know today, before Egret’s arrival in late August we would have shipped the Bubba Truck to Iceland. Eimskip, a local Icelandic shipping company quoted $2350USP (U.S.Pesos) to ship a container from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Reykjavik (Iceland). “You give us the keys in Halifax and we’ll hand you the keys in Reykjavik with all fees paid”. Considering the Bubba Truck fits into a container, and it is a 4WD take no prisoners pop-top camper with propane and electric heat plus an Arctic Insulation package, Bubba would be great for winter camping (http://www.fourwheelcampers.com/ – Keystone model). If we had the Bubba Truck here we could mix winter camping with staying aboard Egret. It would absolutely optimize our stay in Iceland. After, the Bubba Truck could be sent on the (relatively inexpensive) ferry that leaves from the east coast of Iceland to a number of locations in Europe or return to Halifax. Would that be cool or what? What would be even cooler if we shipped the Bubba Truck AND the awe sum Jeep Rubicon. This way we could explore the island, plug in with electric heat keeping Bubba warm while we played in the Jeep. It would be luxuriant…….or something like that.

There were three great days of sun the other day. It began on Sunday when the Tourist Office was closed so no rental car. However, we did get a little micro engine rat car from late Monday morning until the same time on Tuesday.

There are two ways out of Isafjordur, both thru tunnels and one road we already spent time on. So we went in the other direction to see what was whipping. We didn’t have a clue what we would see as we wound around the edges of the fjords and over the mountains in between. It turned out to be a waterfall day. So it was a start-stop day hanging out at waterfalls to snap a few pics. Of course Mary is using my goodest bestest waterfall lens until she gets her own so I had to use a couple others; one a long telephoto and a super wide angle. Anyhow, she always managed to get in front of me to get Her Shots…….the wench. So what do you do when the wench gets in your way? Don’t be silly. Nothing, of course. I’m just happy she is acting like the young girl I married a few years back.

However, the wench didn’t have any filters to slow down the shutter speed and smooth out the <em>Egret</em>water. So she was wasting her time on touristy snapshots. Do you think for a second I told her I had the only filters. Nope.

<em>Egret</em>The last waterfalls were in an area called Dynjandi that has 7 named waterfalls down the mountain from the big falls at the top. This one is called Baejanfoss, or Baby Falls. So up we went trying to make the top before we lost the sun with me waiting on the wench. It <em>Egret</em>was OK for a while but as the sun got ready to disappear behind a mountain, Iused the wench as a model in my last couple snaps before the sun set. So in the end it worked out great having a beautiful lady in the photograph giving a sense of scale.

We got up early the next morning and headed out just before sunrise taking the second road out of town. Mary had a dentist appointment so we had to get back early but it didn’t matter. We had a great time driving thru the small towns along the edges of the fjords. Virtually all towns in the West Fjords exist on fishing. Isafjordur is the largest in the West Fjords and the rest <em>Egret</em>have from 24 residents to some towns in the hundreds. One sad town a few k’s off the gravel main road was hit by a massive snow avalanche a few years back that destroyed much of the town and killed a number of the residents. The government built a huge avalanche retaining wall but nevertheless the town never recovered and a third of the residents have left. This photograph shows the road leading into town.

One advantage to early morning driving is there is so little traffic we could stop in the road, shut off the engine and snap photos from inside the car and even leave the car. We only saw 2 cars until the return trip into town when 4 passed during rush hour. One thing about driving in off season, there is NO PLACE to buy a cup of coffee. Fortunately, Mary packed a lunch with lotsa stuff so we didn’t go hungry either day.

<em>Egret</em>It was super calm in the morning. We were driving past the end of one fjord enjoying the pink clouds in the sunrise when we saw all this beauty reflected into the mirror calm water. Mary took this classic shot of the fjord and the reflections. The silver streak in the middle left is the wake from an eider duck. They farm eider ducks in Iceland for the down. Wild eider ducks can be seen by the hundreds in most fjords as well as a few families of swans. Both the eider ducks and swans are year round residents. Most sea birds leave for the winter as well as many Icelanders.

So there you have it. A few days in The Life. Won’t it be great when it’s Your Time?


Egret is for sale. scottflndrs@yahoo.com for details.


September 17, 2013
Position: 66 04.21N 23 07.49W Isafjordur, West Fjords, Iceland

Velkomin mis amigos, OK so the Egret crew took a day off from hard cruiser work at pleasuring ourselves and went to work on a photo safari with Maik, a local photographer and super boat <em>Egret</em>enthusiast. Maik took us on a secret trail around a fjord that was made years ago by a determined farmer and a Caterpillar bulldozer. He worked for years with the bulldozer and dynamite to create the 50 kilometer – 30 mile road to open up valleys to graze his sheep. It is a Very Basic road with numerous streams to ford that is 4WD only, not a girl 4WD or AWD but a boy 4WD. Maik’s Toyota diesel truck has giant 35” tires and the truck has been lifted to clear the tires. Maik is one of many volunteer rescue persons stationed around the country that help deliver folks from whatever issues they have, summer or winter so the truck needs to be able to reach anywhere, anytime.

So off we went in a drizzle that was forecast to be clear. It didn’t matter. We just adapted and turned the photographs into black and white to fit the day. Maik has The Eye (for the unusual or beauty) so when we yelled STOP he did and also when he saw something interesting he stopped as well. It worked out great. So it was a start – stop deal all day.

<em>Egret</em>Part of the road was OK and some wasn’t. One part left any semblance of road and degenerated into running along the seaside on smooth slick rocks rounded by the North Atlantic. There was an overhang in one place and over that was a small waterfall. This shows Maik is negotiating the rocks under the waterfall. He wuz slippin’ n’ slidin’.

<em>Egret</em><em>Egret</em>Once back on the road we stopped at a rounded rock pinnacle at the edge of the fjord. The entire area is super scenic. There was a light drizzle but across the fjord it was raining heavily and the sun had broken thru the clouds and we were shooting that. I took this photo of Mary shooting across the way. In turn she was shooting light and rain. Next she picked up a cormorant readying to land. Then she <em>Egret</em>got the shot of the day when the cormorant tilted into a <em>Egret</em>hover mode to land on the guano covered sheer rock face. Is this cool or what?

Next up was a series of abandoned farms. Beyond the farming valley we stopped in another long gone villages’ church which is still maintained. Inside the church is an original painting fromthe 1600’s. We got a wild and crazy shot thru the church window andMary shot the spooky <em>Egret</em>gate leading to the worm farm. <em>Egret</em>

Later we stopped at a large abandoned farmhouse. It was interesting construction. Whoever built it used what they could get their hands on. Forming the walls where the outside cement fell off were smooth stones from the shore, blocks from wherever, and even a large ship’s chain that was cemented into the walls and down to the foundation on both sides. The interior was pretty much <em>Egret</em>trashed but there was one interesting item. Someone had hung a rusty set of tire chains over a window for some reason like a steel curtain.

<em>Egret</em>The road followed the shoreline the entire way until it dropped into a valley to return to the main road on the other end. The trip took most of the day. We stopped for a picnic lunch Mary had tucked away, later Maik produced home made pastries for a snack and then <em>Egret</em>we stopped for coffee later in the afternoon at an artsy fartsy café’ that happened to be holding a local camera club gathering. We met the local Tripod Head inside who was wearing a flexible tripod on his head. That was pretty cool but even better was this local and his loyal best friend.

Maik gave us a great tour of the seldom visited area. It was another special day in Iceland, or should I say…….The Life.

The boats are beginning to get set up for the winter. A large Dutch built steel sloop came in from its mooring and is now across from Egret with Dori’s boat – Bella Donna – rafted outside. Before we leave we will turn Egret around to put the bow into the winter weather. In the meantime we’ll keep her as she is for a better view.

(Later. We turned Egret around because the first weather from the north is expected in a couple of days. She is secured with a bazillion lines and the dock is lined with fenders tied to the dock. We also placed a 10,000lb test breast line ready to go if the weather seems to be strong. The line will go from the midship hawse/cleat to the bollards across the way. This way Egret will be suspended off the dock so the fenders are just in case.)

The next evening we were invited to the Austrian boat – Magellan – for snacks and a splash of whatever along with the rest of the dock. It was crowded aboard but it didn’t matter. It was a typical cruiser gathering with 4 nationalities represented – Icelandic, Austrian, German and American. Great fun.

As I wrote the last little bit, Dori waved and said he is turning his boat around and then Magellan will raft along side him preparing for the winter. The boats will be spidered in between the floating dock and the pier with no boat touching the other. Anyhow, we’ll give them a hand.

Now we have a bit of news. It is time Mary and I began thinking about the next stage of our lives. We have lived our lives in stages, beginning in the early years with an basic form of sports car motorsports with both driving, both graduating to vintage car racing and ultimately to my 6 year professional road racing fling. In the meantime we entered the Florida Keys weekend home stage with small-boat boating and fishing for the next 13 years. As that wound down the trawler years began; first with Proud Mary, our lovely 32’ Grand Banks and now the past 12+ years with Egret. We will never own another large boat. There is no boat we would rather have for our needs than Egret. She is the best of the best for what she was designed. In any case, Egret is for sale. We will sell her ourselves for a fair price that includes Everything but our personal items. We will help the new owners deliver Egret to Europe or back to North America next year at the first weather opportunity. Europe would be sometime in early June and North America would be in July to be sure the ice is clear in Prince Christian Sound, Greenland then on to Labrador and basically a reverse repeat of this years trip to Iceland. Prior to that we could teach the new owners all about Egret and boat handling in the protected fjords of Iceland. scottflndrs@yahoo.com for those seriously interested. No brokers please.

In the meantime we will continue to live our lives with no change. VofE will continue until Egret is delivered and we have begun a new life. For the moment all we plan is to return to the Bubba Truck in late October and winter camp in the American Southwest. After that, who knows? But we ain’t stoppin’. Life is too precious to waste. Tick, tick, tick.


September 13, 2013

Position: 66 04.21N 23 07.49W Isafjordur, West Fjords, Iceland

<em>Egret</em>Velkomin mis amigos, Dick left yesterday. Dick Anderson, aka Dickiedoo – D Doo from Nelson, South Island, New Zealand joined Egret in Boston and has been with her all the way to Isafjordur. Dick has many miles aboard Egret beginning in April, 2009 on her winter cruise to Stewart Island, New Zealand. So we’ll miss him and he said he had a great time. I suppose he did. Can you imagine what he saw and did?

<em>Egret</em>So we’re beginning to settle into our life here in Isafjordur until we leave sometime next month. Egret is snuggled in at the head of the dock with extra lines set and fenders lining the dock. The social whirl has been in full force with the few wintering boats trading visits, tea and coffee and so on the <em>Egret</em>past few days. The photograph shows Egret at the head of the dock, the Swedish boat Relax behind her and the German powerboat Gypsy Life on the end. On the other side of the dock is a small local boat that will be hauled for the winter and Dori’s local ketch Bella Donna at the head of the dock opposite Egret. The Austrian boat, Magellan is rafted next to Bella Donna. The young couple on the Swedish boat has since left for Norway to go back to work*.

*There are a number of ways to go cruising. The Swedish couple’s way is one. He is a skilled tradesman (boatbuilder and fine woodworker) and she is going back to work for a municipality. Because of tax laws they can’t sell their boat without a large penalty for 2 years. In the meantime they bought a small waterfront home to build out from a shell and they will live aboard. When they sell the boat, in their spare time he will build another boat. Of course we ragged on him to build a powerboat instead of another sailboat. He listened and agreed it would cost less to build and would cost less over a number of years in running costs. Whatever he builds I’m sure it will be nice. Their current boat is a knockout. They hope in 4-5 years they will be able to head Out for another few years cruising.

The Austrian boat Magellan is the same. They are able to cruise 6 months a year and work the balance. Fritz and Claudia have professional jobs back home in Austria that allows this type of schedule. They have a loose schedule of adventures planned out for years. Their plans are Very Exciting.

A beautiful Dutch built aluminum sailboat arrived from Greenland in trouble. They had a series of issues and two of those were major problems. Both seem to me to be design failures. Even though it was a large boat that cost tons of euros it didn’t matter. The first issue was the forward looking sonar snagged a line and got ripped out flooding the forward compartment. The saving grace was the compartment had a watertight door. The forward looking sonar apparently didn’t have a foolproof wet box to contain the water in case there was damage to the unit. So there was just a big hole in the boat. Big hole, big problem. The other thing was all the electrical equipment including the batteries are in the forward compartment. Geesh, enough said there. So they got patched up in Greenland and on the way to Iceland the steering failed to the point the only way to steer the boat was with the autopilot. There were no spares for a simple fix. So the planned voyage ended and now the boat is headed back to Holland for a major refit. The boat is a year old. Their planned voyage was a Major High Latitudes affair with lotsa ice and lotsa miles. You can fill in the rest yourselves without me getting more critical. The only reason I mentioned this is for you to learn from other’s mistakes, which include our own.

The Austrians that plan to winter have been taking multi-day trips during good weather. They left today for example. They will leave the boat in a couple weeks and head back to Austria and work thru the winter and they will return in the spring and head back to Greenland. Fritz is a former mountain guide used to an adventurous life and now his venue for adventure is high latitude sailing. The Admiral, Claudia, matches Fritz step for step.

A wild and crazy German boat arrived from Greenland a week ago. The boat was designed for high latitude cruising including freezing in the ice. They did freeze-in in northern Labrador 2 years ago and hoped to freeze-in in Greenland this year but there was too much ice so they turned around and they are here for the winter. The boat is well built with heavier steel than a normal recreational boat and it’s a good looking design. However, it is typical of many Dutch designs with a full bow that rises to each wave instead of slicing thru. It is successful to the point of keeping heavy water off the deck but it appears to hobby horse like crazy. However the big problem is it isn’t stabilized. In theory, its deep draft keel for its size, 36’, should help with rolling in beam seas but it doesn’t. Two years ago and again this year they had to call for help because of exhaustion. Here again I’m being critical but it has nothing to do with the owners or really the design. The boat just isn’t designed for being offshore in anything but the best weather and it is being used for long hauls. So it’s a coastal boat out of its element.

We’ve become buddies so of course we told them they need paravanes, get rid of the girl fuel filters and put in dual Racor’s, plus a few other items. In the beginning he told us how well built the boat was, how good the boat was in ice and so on. So we listened before we dropped the hammer. At first they didn’t know what to think because he has it all figured out. Today he came over to check out Egret’s boy fuel filters. He had figurative tears in his eyes when he saw Egret’s giant Racors that would solve his rusty tank problems. Next he told me he has 8,500 hours on the original injectors and the engine runs fine. Yea, right. Then he told me he has two sets of spares. So I told him to get out of my boat and don’t come back until he changed the injectors. He started whining and I told him to Get Out and don’t come back. He left and we were both cackling. Great fun. Dontsujustloveit?

Harald and Sylvia made a 75 minute DVD movie about their Labrador freeze in. We bought one and enjoyed their adventure. It is an eye opener. The ice story is interesting and you get to see just how tough these folks are and what it takes to freeze in and survive the winter. However, during the latter part of the movie you will see how this tough couple is reduced to jelly by the seas and no stabilization. It is important you see this and not just read about it. Don’t think it can’t happen to you if you buy a poor design because these two are most likely tougher than you will ever be or want to be. Bottom line: comfort at sea is everything. The DVD’s are available at http://www.haraldpaul.com/, Abenteuer Kanada, ISBN 978-3-0032529-8. It is in German with English sub titles.

Before the Dutch built sailboat and the Swedish boat left, someone organized duty free fuel that was a great price. Egret is nearly full but we took 205 liters/54Gallons which is all we could handle before we sunk the generator and wing exhaust thru hulls on the port side. So she has fuel for the next year and most likely more. As always we added Standadyne fuel additive to lubricate the injection pump and keep the injectors clean.

<em>Egret</em>Isafjordur has 3,000 friendly folks including this welcoming polar bear. Did you know that Icelanders drink more Coca Cola per capita than anywhere, AND they are one of the longest lived countries in the world?

“Isafjordur is the largest city and de facto capital of the West Fjords. The area was first settled in the 10th century by Helgi ‘the lean’ Hrolfsson who left Norway for Iceland only to discover the favourable properties in Eyjafjordur had already been taken. By and by he made his way to a solitary fjord in the West Fjords where he found a harpoon lying on the shore. Such a good omen convinced him to stick around and he named the place Skutulsfjordur. The town itself was founded in 1569 as a salting station for fish.”

The main part of town is a peninsula projecting into a fjord near its end. There is an outer harbor for the majority of the larger offshore fishing boats and an area for smaller commercial fishing boats. <em>Egret</em>The outside of the harbor is the cruise ship dock. Around the end of the peninsula and back north is another docking area for larger fishing boats and a small jetty <em>Egret</em>that protects the single floating dock where Egret is berthed. The town map shows the harbor layout. There is a small town square and behind that are homes from the late 1800’s. Most of the old homes are simple designs sheathed in corrugated iron. Most are well kept and in good repair. The town appears prosperous and there isn’t the slightest bit of poverty in sight. In fact, all of Iceland seems prosperous and doing well. Thinking about it, I don’t believe there is anywhere in Egret’s travels that has this lack of apparent poverty including places in our home town.



Wandering around town we took a few snaps of local things of interest. Of course there are flowers and we can’t pass that up. Here is the bestest town bakeri inside and out. The vintage car out front of the bakery is a 1929 Ford that has spent its life in Iceland. It is driven to and from the bakery each day. And last but not least is my new barber. He got rid of my prisoner look of months <em>Egret</em>without a haircut. Of course I dye my hair gray so I had to do a dye job the day before going to the barber so he couldn’t see the light brown roots.

The school is a modern design and quite large for a town of this size. The playing field has an astro turf type surface and it is in perfect condition. There is a golf course just outside the main town and a ski lift farther up the hill. One sorta cool spot is the summer homes of <em>Egret</em>townspeople. There is a wooded area that was originally planted with several types of spruce in the 1920’s. Inside this area are small summer homes of townspeople. What is unique is they are less than two miles from town. Because an avalanche a few years ago killed a local, the homes must be vacated by the end of October.

<em>Egret</em>Mary and I did a 5 hour hike up to this area earlier today. We hiked up the new avalanche restraining wall to just before the ski resort then went off road to check out a small iron roofed hut. Then we found a ton of blueberries so we did that deal for a while and filled a jacket pocket lined with a town map. There was a slight trail leading away so we took a hike in that direction that included a trip to the local waterfall. Then it was back around and down to the highway and back. The dogs were barkin’. It isn’t the climbing that is my problem, it is hiking down steep hills and my toes jam into the front of my hiking boots. %^$%#@$& Of course Mary just went up and down. No problems.

Later in the evening Mary said how pretty it looked outside and I should take a photograph. It’s always pretty outside after dark unless it is raining so I think I was being gotten rid of. Anyhow, out I went, set up the tripod and took a few snaps with a long (30 second) exposure. Well, guess what? I got my first shot of the Aurora Borealis – Northern Lights completely by accident. Because of the town lights the green light in the photo was just a wisp of grey cloud seen from the ground. Cool, eh?

We’re still working on getting insurance for this year and next. It is interesting when you travel outside the norm. Insurance companies must use an oracle, witch doctor, voodoo, throw bones or at least read palms to determine cruising limits and time. In this case someone said we have to be below a certain low latitude in Norway next year by July 18th (61.30N) even though the policy limits go as far north as Tromso, near the top. Before I get all wound up AGAIN, I’ll post my reply to the insurance agency*. The only reason I’m mentioning this is because even with insurance companies you can present your case. We have in the past and they agreed after doing
their homework.

*Later. Its not worth it. It is better to leave it along and let me steam alone than get into the insurance madness and say something I shouldn't.

We got a scary e-mail the other day from a cruising buddy. He had a mechanic tell him that Deere block Luggers needed a top end rebuild after 12,000 hours. I never heard of this but I was naturally concerned so I fired off an e-mail to Lugger Bob – Bob Senter from Northern Lights/Lugger. Bob replied back quickly as usual. This is a copy and paste of our correspondence with Bob just for the record.

“Hi Scott,

A top end rebuild would be very unusual on a Lugger or Deere at 12,000 hours unless there were some very extreme maintenance issues.... like salt spray entering the intake, running with no air filter and aspirating dirt/debris or never receiving a valve adjustment. In the harshest commercial environment, those engines will occasionally see a top end service, valve grind only, at around 20,000 hours but only if the ship engineer is incredibly conservative and pro-active. We hear of a lot more running out to 40K or more in Alaska genset service - many of those engines are prime power and run 24/7, so there is a long track record.
Your engines were based on designs that Deere Marine sells by the thousands at 300 HP, heavily turbocharged and aftercooled. The highest power rated 6.8 liter 2-valve Lugger is 175 HP. Your valves are either stellite faced or a very special grade of stainless steel with replaceable stellite seats, guides, positive rotators and seals.You can draw your own conclusions about power density and likely wear rates”.

Next up was a question about Lugger circulation pumps.

Re: Life of a circulating water pump

”After polling all of the more-clever-than-I talent in house, it seems there is no more consensus of opinion on water pump life among the 6.8 liter engines than in my previous emails. So, we can say:

1. The big 90 lb. cast iron pump on the L6414 and early L668 Luggers could last a very long time, 10K hours or more.
2. The physically smaller LP445/668, L1064 and L1066 pump has smaller bearings and probably won't last as long but Deere specified a 5000 hour minimum life bearing set. These pumps don't like crappy coolant or restricted inlets (from keel coolers) and may reward transgressions with cavitation erosion failures.

W/P Seals are protected by coolant - so good cooling system maintenance will increase w/p life; if the seal goes, the bearing will be washed with hot coolant and fail soon thereafter.

Komatsu based Luggers (L6125, L6140 and L6170) have bigger/huge pumps like the early Deere based Luggers and have equally long service life expectancies. The L6108 Komatsu based Lugger has a small bearing pump more like the later Deere based Luggers.

Deere 6081's were used in a very few commercial gensets and were quickly replaced by 6.8 liter 4 valve HPCR L1066H engines. They have a little teeny, tiny gear driven water pump buried deep in the timing cover. Don't ask me to editorialize on 6081's. You might consider my attitude a bit harsh. Think: antiques that were the benchmark when we were in high school and 175 HP was good enough for anything. Time and technology moves on. Adding more power does not add an equal amount of wonderfulness to legacy designs.

Deere 6125/Lugger L1276 12.5 liter engine use a very well designed, heavy duty gear driven W/P that has an extremely long service life, perhaps the longest.

Generators use ISM, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Deere base engines - all of them have smaller bearings and small cooling systems so their w/p life will be very dependent on cooling system condition. Fortunately, all of them have extremely light belt loads, so bearings live an easy life”.

Best regards,
Bob Senter
Northern Lights/Lugger Service Training
cell: 360-531-1444

Bottom line on circulation pumps. Egret’s circ pump has 12,800 hours with no drips. It has lived it’s life with religious coolant maintenance. We will remove the original circ pump and replace it with our spare. We’ll keep the original as a spare.

Those of you on the N Owners site and the N Dreamers site will be familiar with Lugger Bob’s help with Lugger and Northern Lights issues. We have a friend who had an electrical issue with a Lugger main on an ocean passage. Bob stayed with him day and night thru very different time zones until he was able to get the issue taken care of. He told Mary and I that if he ever builds a new boat it will have a Lugger/Luggers just because of Bob. Pretty cool.

We changed Egret’s main oil the other day and other than a valve adjustment before we leave, that’s it until spring except for an occasional start-up before we leave. We’re still doing laundry using the generator so that oil won’t get changed until just before we leave and the wing oil is new. When we return we’ll change Egret’s circulation pump we mentioned earlier as well as the front vibration dampener. Deere recommends the vibration dampener be changed at 5,000 hours. We just learned this recently. Obviously we have many more hours but because of the light loading it has run all this time without any issues. Incidentally, Lugger missed this item in their recommended service log so be warned if you have a Lugger/Deere or will have one someday.

So life is good in Isafjordur. Tomorrow we head out with Maik for a Sunday drive to see some of his favorite spots. Maik is a photographer as well so I suppose we’ll have a few snaps for the next VofE.



September 6, 2013
Position: 66 04.21N 23 07.49W Isafjordur, West Fjords, Iceland

Hello mis amigos, things have been happening big time. After meeting our sailboat neighbor Dori on the docks, Petur a local businessman stopped by to introduce himself. It turns out Petur has been following the N site for years and when VofE began during 2006 in Turkey he began following that as well. Petur knew that Egret had arrived in Iceland but when she turned up in his hometown he couldn’t believe it. So Petur took Mary and I on a tour of the town, up into the hills and gave us a quick overlook of the lower fjord.

I mentioned before this place is great. Dori began selling Isafjordur as soon as the docklines were secure and we listened. However, we had plans for a year to winter in Akureyri, sent there by a Canadian cruiser who left his boat on the hard during the winter. We have also been in contact with the Harbormaster in Akureyri for a year. The rates were more than reasonable and we were sure we could find another cruiser or someone from his office to keep an eye on Egret during our time away. However, when in high latitudes you have to be super careful how and where you leave the boat, even if you overwinter on board. So we rented a car for 2 days planning to drive to Akureyri, check out the dock situation, spend the night and return to Isafjordur to make up our minds to stay here or move to Akureyri after a coming northerly storm blows thru.

<em>Egret</em>The trip, or should I say the endurance run to Akureyri was a pretty wild affair. By air, the distance from Isafjordur to Akureyri is 125.1nm. By land it is 555.1 kilometers or around 333 statute miles. You can see in the C Map chart photo what the West Fjord peninsula looks like and the little red boat is Egret’s location. The road to Akureyri follows the relatively level shorelines of ALL the small N/S fjords in between. The interiors are impassable mountains. So up and around and down and thru tunnels we went heading on a “6 hour trip to Akureyri”. Yea, right. Six hours if you take a different route with Paved Roads, and drive like you didn’t care to see anything and perhaps not live much longer.


There are small farms along the way that are super picturesque. Several were standouts. Fat Icelandic sheep are behind fences at times and a lot of the time, not. One of the first stops was an ol’ tyme farmhouse that looked interesting. While we were wandering some folks pulled up and waved us inside. So we went. Here’s the deal. <em>Egret</em>The farmhouse was built in the 1800’s and lived in until fairly recently. The elderly gent (EG) inside was born and raised in the farmhouse. These days it has been restored into a mini museum and the elderly gent’s wife (EGW) makes the world’s best, light as feathers waffles. She served the waffles with rhubarb jam, blueberry jam, fresh blueberrys and of course a dispenser with fresh whipped cream. Real cream, not the canned junk. It was Dick’s first waffle. We told him from here on the waffles only go down hill. It’s like climbing Everest on your first hike. The coffee was fresh ground and she dropped off an insulated pot in case we wanted refills. Ho hum, it’s tough to be in Iceland.

So anyhow, we arrived in Akureyri at 1900, just after the Tourist Office closed and any chance of easily getting a room. The Tourist Office is next to the marina so we checked out Egret’s winter berth. The floating dock was Brand New. It looked great but there weren’t any pilings, just chains to keep it in place. It is protected from the north but not completely from the south. However it looked good and Akureyri in a modern town, abet super touristy.

Next up was getting a room. It wasn’t easy. Finally, Mary found a lady in a hotel that was full but called another and there were rooms. She quoted a price that was crazy expensive but we didn’t have a choice and off we went. We got there and some arrogant young punk kid quoted quite a bit more for the same room. I’m a pretty giving guy but I don’t put up with arrogance. So off we went back to Isafjordur. It was a long night worrying about sheep sleeping on the road. At least their eyes and ear tags glowed and gave us a warning that they were sheep and not boulders. We arrived in the early morning twilight, Mary fixed breakfast and we crashed for a bit.

Later in the day we got up and went out for a shorter run. Not far away there is a tracking station for aircraft on top of a mountain with a single lane road to the top. The views across the fjord entrance and the ice cap on the other side was spectacular. The cliffs below are called the Bird Cliffs locally where during the season, thousands of birds nest on the cliff face. There are metal stakes and a line to limit your distance to the cliff edge, according to a local a few birders have gotten blown off the cliff by wind gusts when they crept next to the edge.

<em>Egret</em>On the way to the top we spotted another single lane rock road to a valley to the south. So we gave it a shot. What we <em>Egret</em>found was super picturesque. There is a small farming area at the head of thevalley with what looked to be summer farms and cottages for locals. The road is impassable in winter. One small farm was pristine and had a vintage John Deere tractor with hay rake attached in the front paddock. Here’s a close up of the Deer tractor. Of course nothing runs like a Deere and particularly a Deere marinized by Lugger. Coming back we ran across 3 berry pickers. Late August to early <em>Egret</em>September the local berries ripen and folks <em>Egret</em>are out everywhere along the roads with berry rakes getting ready tobejammin. Along with the berries ripening the cotton flowers were loosing their round summer shapes and beginning to seed. Cotton flowers grow in wet areas. When you see white patches on the mountain sides you can bet there is a small stream nearby.

Along with Dori to take Egret’s lines was an Austrian couple on a capable sailboat. They cruised northern Norway for a couple years, passed thru Iceland this year on their way to Greenland but they had an engine problem and turned back to Isafjordur to get repairs and spend the winter. Mary and I had them over for a chat and they painted a glowing picture of northern Norway and the Svalbard Archipelago of islands farther north. They are very articulate in their opinions and gave us real information we cruisers look for based on real world experience and not newbie impressions. So we listened and later told them to come back and we would tell them what they needed to know about Patagonia down the road.

And then a young couple on a Swedish sailboat arrived the next day. We took their lines and invited them over for a touch of rum. They too cruised northern Norway for two years and were so taken with the area they bought a tiny house with a dock in northern Norway. They repeated much of what we heard from the Austrians. So we listened and filed everything away.

The bottom line of all this is we fired off an e-mail today telling our boat insurance agent, Al Golden from IMIS Insurance al@imis.pro we now planned to winter in Isafjordur and why*, and asked a few ‘what if’ questions. We’ll see how painful the answers are.

*The floating docks in Isafjordur are massive with huge piles the docks ride the tide up and down on. They have just finished putting steel braces and banding to the first two piles and are fabricating and installing steel inserts for the piles to ride inside as they move up and down with the tide. Because Egret is heavier than the other boats that plan to winter she will be at the head of the dock. Also, there are places to tie lines across so Egret will be suspended between the dock and the other side so the fenders don’t do any work. The Harbormasters office is 150’ away and it overlooks the dock. During weather they inspect the boats every two hours. Dori, and I’m sure Petur will also keep an eye on Egret. Our first and foremost concern is Egret’s safety, under way or at a dock. We don’t compromise anything. So we’re comfortable staying in Isafjordur.

Mary and I were interviewed by a representative from the local Development Board who has been interviewing the wintering boats asking why they chose Iceland, why Isafjordur and so on. What is interesting is how Isafjordur is looking at the Big Picture for their small town of 3,000 friendly folks. This year Isafjordur got 33 cruise ships and that was only 5% of Iceland’s cruise ship landings. Some ships disgorged more passengers than residents. They overwhelm the town and the town receives little monetary gain. The far majority of the profits leave with the ship. In the past, Icelanders typically took the precious summer months off or at least the majority. With 33 cruise ships docking days over a third of their summer is gone to being overwhelmed by tourists. They know from other towns in Iceland like Reykjavik, the townspeople not directly involved in the tourist industry just want to get away and return when they get their town back. Its happening all over the world where tourists are loving interesting locations to death and many of the townspeople are getting cynical and tired of the hordes of folks and some loose their usual good nature. We have witnessed this here and there, not to mention names. So perhaps instead of being dictated to by the cruise ships, they will dictate to the cruise ships how they want to run their small piece of summer paradise.

<em>Egret</em><em>Egret</em>As an offshoot of that thinking, a small village nearby has gone back to traditional 1-2 man fishing boats to fish their nearby patch with traditional handlines or short long lines for cod to keep their fishing grounds sustainable for the next generations. The photographs are the fishing village in the distance and an example of a 1-2 man fishing boat. This is a big step in the right direction. Later we saw that Isafjordur has quite a 1-2 man boat fleet as well. They all use 3 or 4 ‘one arm bandits’ or electric fishing reels on a short rod. They fish 5 baits on a single line with a heavy weight at the end to drop quickly.

Speaking of cod, tonight just before dark our Swedish neighbor threw a line over and immediately caught a keeper cod. Then another within 2 minutes. Maik from the Development Board was over with his 5 year old son* for a bit and said the harbor is full of cod. Oh ho hum, I guess we’ll have to have fresh cod at will sorta like in Stewart Island, New Zealand during Egret’s 2009 winter cruise.

*So you think a N46 doesn’t have a stand up engine room? Five year old Felix wandered around Egret’s engine room asking about this n’ that. He stood up the entire time.

Today we had the expected weather blow thru a bit early. There were gusts up to 36 knots. Egret barely moved. We have triple lines and lotsa fenders out. The floating dock didn’t move. No problem. Another good thing that came from the blow was the Harbormasters office had folks adding lines to a couple boats that were unattended and added extra fenders to those they didn’t think had enough so they really do take care of the boats on their pier. Last night there was light snow on top of the surrounding mountains. During the blow the snow crept down to about half way. The little blowing snow at sea level didn’t stick. We’ll see in the morning when the wind calms and the cool weather hits. I’m sure this is just an early storm and it will warm again in a day or three. The locals say it doesn’t really snow until much later.

Next day. The sun was up and shining early in the morning. It was cool outside but not cold. The snow was half way down the mountains. Mary and I went for a 5 hour walk around town and up in the hills above town. Of course along the way we had to stop at our new bestest bakeri for coffee and a sweet. Before leaving we picked up a rhubarb pie and fresh baked bread. So that was nice. After dropping off the pie and bread off we went again to the hills and met a couple local couples on the way. Everyone here is soooo friendly. We are gonna like this place.

While Mary and I were hiking, Dick had been making arrangements to head back to New Zealand via England, Scotland, US, Canada and Australia. His father’s family was from Scotland so he’s going back to his father’s village to see what he can find out about his lineage.

Now that Egret has arrived at her winter port we have a few statistics from this year’s trip from Ft Lauderdale, to Boston, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland’s west coast, Labrador, Greenland and now Iceland. You have been along with us and know what a great ride it has been. Egret traveled 4,175nm on this trip at an average speed of 6.5 knots. The speed includes an early boost from the Gulf Stream, weeks of Intracoastal travel, waiting on bridges, forgetting to turn off the gps until later, putzing here and there, anchoring and weighing anchor and so on. So the real average speed we’ll never know and it really doesn’t matter. However, we believe Egret reached a milestone in her travels. The Happy Little Lugger has 12,845.1 hours. At an average speed of just 6 knots, this means she has traveled 77,070.6nm. So I believe it is realistic to say she has traveled 75,000nm* during the past 12 years. Seventy five thousand nautical miles and not a scratch**, no major expenses, not a propeller ding, not the first insurance claim, no nothing but a mom and pop chugging around a bit having the time of their lives. Pretty cool, eh? You know what is even cooler? When You get to do it. Tick, tick, tick.

*There are three high mileage N’s I’m aware of. All three have roughly the same miles and most likely Heidi and Wolfgang on N46 Kanaloa have the most. The third high mileage N is Dick and Gail on N57 Ice Dancer with the same N mileage using a combination of 2 N’s – N57 and a N50. Who ends up with the most miles in any boat, power or sail, doesn’t matter. It is the quality of those miles that matter. The bottom line in our waterworld is happiness. True happiness can’t be bought; it must be earned. However, it isn’t difficult. Tick, tick.

**Well, OK, we got hull scratches in Ushuaia during a major blow and in Barcelona when I screwed up docking. I scratched the bulwarks on a neighbor’s anchor. So what? It was easy to repair and it is repaired.

The next VofE will focus on Isafjordur itself and more about our neighbors including a super interesting, small high northern latitude powerboat with two friendly Germans aboard that pulled in early this morning.


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

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