Aftermath.

This post isn’t about sailing. I thought that some readers might be interested in what my plans might be and I have received some questions, hence this short article.

Dagny has been missing since December 22nd. There have been no new sightings after the original USCG report on the 23rd. Either someone found the boat and kept it, it sunk in a storm, or she is still somewhere in the Atlantic drifting towards Europe. My hopes have dwindled.

I found France to be worse off than when I left twenty two years ago, with more regulations and taxes. Then there are the migrant issues… Although going back was the right decision regarding my parents, as well as momentary financial relief (no rent), I do not intend on staying past September, if all goes well, but you never know. There is no work to be found here and I am very fortunate to still have a regular client in the United States. I could use one more, so if anyone needs web development or Unix server management work, I am your guy! I have started to refund Paypal loans, unless stated otherwise (thanks!), but it will take a while, please be patient.

I will be forty nine in two days! Time flies, and unfortunately my dream of cruising has been indeterminately postponed. It took me years to finally leave the dock, and I fear it might take me as long to do it again. That thought is very stressful. Not being able to get another boat would be a disaster. I will do everything I can to get back on the water. I estimate my losses at about $25K. I don’t even want to think about it and the sacrifices it will take to save that up again, not to mention the efforts in preparing a boat. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Sorry, this is not a happy post. I am not overly depressed despite it all, but still worried that it might hit me some time in the near future, or eat me up inside until I am well into a new project. It might be a while until I post again and I’ll only do so if anything new happens. Thanks again to all my friends who made this short trip possible and the great people from the Cruisers Forum. I don’t regret trying. I did cross the Gulf Stream on my own boat, fought sea sickness and adversity and sailed two days without an engine to finally reach my destination. In that sense, I succeeded. If only it had lasted a while longer… I will go further next time.

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Latest Drift Analysis by Chris Parker.

No sightings today as of yet. Here is the latest drift analysis by meteorologist Chris Parker, who’s routing service I will certainly subscribe to if Dagny is found, when I resume my voyage. Thank you Sir!

  • At 5pm on Tue29, I now estimate Dagny might lie near 30-36N/80-59W, based on drift from wind of 15mi, in direction 350T.
  • At 5pm on Wed30, I now estimate Dagny might lie near 30-50N/80-56W, based on drift from wind of 15mi, in direction 010T.
  • At 5pm on Thu31, I now estimate Dagny might lie near 30-59N/80-50W, based on drift from wind of 10mi, in direction 030T.

Drift Analysis Dec31st

Drift Analysis Dec31st


I’ll reiterate: Of course, all of the above is only an educated guess, and the possible errors compound over time…cheers…Chris.

Chris Parker
Weather Forecasting & Vessel Routing
Weather & Communications – Hardware, Software, Sales, Consulting, Books,
Seminars
www.mwxc.com
Marine Weather & Communications LLC (and dba Marine Weather Center)
5130 Medulla Rd
Lakeland FL 33811
ph 863-248-2702
fax 863-248-4666

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Delorme inReach Review.

Stuck here in West-End Bahamas, I might as well post something hopefully useful. With satellite phones still being out of financial reach, I decided to get a Delorme inReach satellite communicator. The Spot was another option, but the inReach has better global coverage and allows texting. Mine is the SE model, without the navigation features, bought for $300. The expedition plan offers unlimited texting for $65 a month.

Delorme inReach SE

Delorme inReach SE

The device feels sturdy enough. I can attest of its waterproofing in Dagny’s cockpit, and after a few fresh water rinses. My only wish is that Delorme had made it with a flat bottom so you could stand it up on a table.

The inReach charges very quickly and the battery lasts a very long time, at least twenty four hours with tracking set at one hour interval. I also had the neoprene case, a must-have on a boat. Forget trying to read the screen on a sunny day. It does however pair with your phone or tablet for easier message typing.

I first thought Delorme would provide me with a phone number attached to the device for texting. Unfortunately it wasn’t so. When texting contacts, the number they see as the inReach sender isn’t always the same. The only way to keep a conversation going is to keep the thread open and keep replying to it. This in itself isn’t a problem, but it is for those wanting to message me first. They must go to my map page and click on the message icon. It would be fine if it wasn’t the only way to do so. Your map can be set to private, which sets your device to private by default. The problem is when you want your map to be public and prevent strangers from texting you at the same time. Delorme should have a separate messaging page from the map, which could be set to private or public. The best solution of course would be a dedicated phone number.

Another issue I have encountered is the unreliability of the GPS. When it works, it works great. Sometimes however it seems to fail to initialize, and you could be thinking that you are sending position reports when you are not. One better check that the GPS has started before heading out. I hope a future firmware update will fix the problem. They probably used the cheapest GPS chip they could get their hands on. A Spot user mentioned the same issue, once almost triggering a Coast Guards search because a concerned friend did not see position reports for a while.

Fortunately I did not have to trigger an emergency as I lay on my bunk for three days on the Little Bahama Bank, sick as a dog. It was comforting to know I had the option. Few ships sailed by, and contacting any of them via VHF wasn’t guaranteed.

I wish the inReach had been on board when Dagny drifted off. While the device isn’t meant for tracking assets, it can be used in such a way. I would never again leave a boat unattended without some sort of tracking device or AIS transmitter. Unfortunately I had taken the inReach with me to recharge it.

All in all, the Delorme SE gets my thumbs up.

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West-End Bahamas And a Possible Sighting.

West-End is a peculiar place. You basically have the Old Bahama Bay Marina and resort, and the village. Customs and Immigration are in a one-desk building on the West side. The resort has a series of good looking brightly painted bungalows with luxurious rooms, one which I rented for one night at a discounted rate, thanks to the Office of Tourism. Million-dollar houses are scattered around. Luxury yachts stop by to check-in and refuel, maybe go on some fishing adventure. That world is alien to me. A few cruisers make it a pit stop as well, like Scott and his wife Noi on their Tayana 37. I spent the evening with them and slept on their boat last night. Scott happened to need a dinghy outboard motor so I sold him mine. If Dagny is found I can always buy another one later. I have received good help from the marina as well, letting me make phone calls, loaning me a bicycle and other largesses.

The village is another story. Poverty is widely apparent, with many abandoned houses, run-down buildings and many other signs that the island is having a hard time. There are no jobs available and tourists can only eat so many conch fritters. I was given a good tour by Keith Cooper and Eric Darville who rents houses and cars here. You can ask for them to anyone in West-End, it is a small community. Keith offers eco-tours on his boat, and he knows his stuff.

My second day on the island I needed medications so I header for the health clinic in the village. I never had such a thorough medical examination in my twenty two years in the United States, and for a mere thirty two dollars to boot. It turns out that I was badly dehydrated, but otherwise healthy. I did need to take my beta-blocker that day however, and they put much efforts in finding a replacement drug that afternoon. My hat is off to nurse Quant, the doctor and receptionist.

Yesterday was spent shopping in Freeport with Keith to find some clothes. Freeport reminds me of some areas of Florida. Mainly a commercial port, it does not seem widely populated. A lot of products here cost twice as much as what you would pay in the States.

I do get the clear impression that to visit the Bahamas you need to be self-sufficient, as I was with Dagny. Otherwise, you are pretty much visiting a bunch of resorts and better have a budget to accommodate the fact. Accommodations are the main issue, which a boat solves rather nicely. Anchoring out will save you a bundle, just make sure your anchor is holding…

A sailboat was presumably spotted, seemingly anchored near Memory Rock. Keith got the information from a local fisherman. There are no other details at this time, and I am not getting my hopes up. Dagny was presumably spotted way North of that point, so it seems very unlikely that the boat would have back-tracked South. It could be anyone spending the night on the Bank before continuing on. I am waiting for Keith to be back from one of his tours to go talk to the guy and ask for a description. Of course it is possible that the USCG report was wrong and Dagny could have gotten caught on the shallows around Memory Rock if her anchor was still dangling. I consider the possibility unlikely, but one can always hope. If the description of the fisherman fits, then I will hire him or someone else to go have a look this afternoon.

Update: False alarm.. Clearly not the same boat.

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Last Drift Analysis. Dagny’s Possible Location.

Re-posted from the SSCA:

Estimated Dec. 26, 17:00Hrs.

Estimated Dec. 26, 17:00Hrs.

Chris Parker has come up with a revised wind/drift analysis on the whereabouts of the S/V DAGNY which dragged anchor off of West End , Bahamas on 12/22/15. This information has been provided to the USCG RCC Miami, however, since the vessel is unoccupied, they can not actively search for it. However… If they happen to be on a “routine patrol” in the area, they will obtain its position and advise KPK.

I just spoke with the owner, Gil Gruson, who is currently in West End. He advised the vessel is a 1977 Morris Frances double ender sloop, white in color. According to Chris Parker’s drift analysis, tonight at 1700, 26 Dec 2015, the vessel may be at approximately position 30 N / 80-30 W or about 40 NM East of St Augustine, Florida.

Dick Giddings (St Jude) has a friend who is a private pilot flying from North Carolina tomorrow, and will ask him to look at the drift analysis and look for the vessel during his flight. If he is not able to locate the vessel, I am wondering if the Civil Air Patrol would consider searching for the vessel on Sunday.

Does anyone have any contacts in the Civil Air Patrol, or know of a private pilot who might we willing to search for the vessel?

Presuming the vessel is located, we can then contract with Tow Boat US, or ask a fellow cruiser to retrieve it and tow or sail it into a marina somewhere.

Gil is very grateful of the assistance of BASRA and the SSCA.

Anyone with ideas can please post here, or send me an e-mail to KPK@ssca.org
Thank you, and please spread the word. We need all the help we can get to get Gil’s boat back to him. He is a live aboard single hand sailor, and the S/V DAGNY is his home.

Glenn Tuttle
SSCA Radio “KPK”
Net Manager

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