[KensBlog] End of the 2012 Cruising Season

Greetings all!

Roberta and I are now back home in Seattle.

I had planned to do one or two more blogs, but nothing blog-worthy happened in the final days of our trip. The season went out with a whimper, not a bang. We stayed at anchor until the last possible moment, only a few miles from the marina. Each morning we would wake and say, “You ready to go to the marina?” “No.” “Me neither.” Finally, the fun had to stop and it was time to return to reality.

End of the season for Sans Souci. Time to go home.

In preparation for our trip home, we needed to obtain a health certificate for the dogs. We found a vet who spoke ok english, but he insisted we didn’t need health certificates. We’ve done this drill a few times, and are experts on what we need, so we insisted. Arriving at his office, on time for our appointment, he was gone to lunch, and had to be coerced via his cell phone to come in. We then guided him through the paper work, and paid his $15 fee. As we were leaving we asked if he wanted to see the dogs. He looked at us like, “Why would I want to do that?,” and we left quickly.

Our last two days on the boat were spent with mechanics. It was a strange feeling. For over three months the boat had been our home. It had transported us safely to some amazing places, and suddenly it wasn’t our home anymore.

Putting the boat away for the season

Mike Kronfield, Jeff Sanson

Jeff Sanson, of Pacific Yacht Management watches over our boat in the off season. Twice each year, Jeff Sanson, flies to the boat with his team. Once to prepare the boat for our cruising season, and another to “put the boat away” for the season. Jeff will be assisted this winter by Sanli Gulec, of Moda Yacht

Sans Souci has a seachest, which is central distribution point for sea water, used to cool the hydraulic system, the air condition compressors, and generators. It also provides water to the watermakers. The seachest is fed by dual 3″ hoses.

As you can see in this photo, the hoses are partially obstructed by coral.

The strainers themselves were caked with crud. This is surprising in that they were just cleaned a couple weeks earlier.

The seachest was also loaded with crud. I’m not sure I would have been running much longer.

This is the sea water intake, viewed from the bottom of the boat. Lots of crud! I had hoped that the cooler water in the Med (as opposed to Asia), and lack of life in the water, would translate into less clogging of my lines. Wishful thinking.

My watermakers have always been rock-solid and one of the most reliable appliances on the boat. However, this year, the quality slipped. I have two Village Marine 800 gallon-a-day watermakers, both of which ran fine, but produced bad water. In order to have water for showers I tweaked the watermaker to pass through water that it thought was no good, and used the water only for flushing toilets and showers. We drank bottled water.

This is one of the membranes, a long cylindrical filter through which water is pushed at high pressure. I’m not sure how it ocurred, but rust had worked its way inside the membranes. We’ll start next year with fresh membranes (and have clean water!)

I insisted on having twin engines, but it does come at a price. One of the downsides of having twin engines, each capable of running my boat at full speed, is that at normal cruising speeds, the engines are lightly loaded. One possible result of under-loading a diesel engine over a long period of time, is that the turbochargers can experience a shortened life. To counter this I run at full throttle 15 minutes a day. In this picture we see one of my turbos, which is now in need of replacement.

One of Jeff’s tasks is to exercise all of the various valves and thru-hulls on the boat. Here you see the valve which selects between two sea strainers, and the result when a valve sticks. I prefer doing this exercise when the boat is out of the water. One of my great fears is that someday I’ll turn one of these valves, while in the water, and the handle will snap off with water flooding into the boat.

These little pieces of metal, called zincs, are attached to the bottom of the boat, and are my first line of defense against electrolysis. The idea is that if there is electricity in the water, such as someone in a marina with an electrical short, that the zincs will be eaten by the electricity rather than my props or shafts.

Approaching the haul-out lift. The decision to haul-out was a tough one. I’ve always left my boat in the water during the off-season, but Gocek is prone to rough winters, and the boat took a beating last winter. This is an experiment to see how I like leaving the boat on shore all winter. My goal is that we put the boat away clean and ready to go, and that next year when I return, it will be exactly as I left it.

My bottom paint did an amazing job. Zero growth on the bottom of the boat!

Another experiment — shrinkwrapping the boat. The boat is freshly washed and waxed. Theoretically, because of the shrinkwrapping, the boat will look identical to when I left it when I return next year. The shrinkwrap was expensive ($4,500).

I had never seen the process before. It’s quite a project! Here you see them constructing a netting that goes around the boat, prior to putting on the shrinkwrap.

The Istanbul-based company (www.coverport.com.tr) that “won” the bidding to shrinkwrap my boat was a lot less happy when they physically saw the boat. Sans Souci may only be 68 feet long, but it’s a BIG boat.

Using a heat gun to seal the shrink wrap.

The package is wrapped, and all ready to be opened next May!.

Memories Of The 2012 Cruising Season

I apologize for repeating pictures, but as I look at this blog entry, it’s depressing to see all of the effort required to keep the boat maintained and prepared for cruising each year.

Therefore, I couldn’t let the season end without a few reminders of what makes it all MORE than worthwhile:

Cave exploring and warm crystal-clear water, near Dalyan Turkey.

Making new friends, and seeking lattes in unusual places!.

Exploring hundreds of miles of coastline and islands.

Anchoring in amazing places. Sometimes, having entire bays all to yourself.

Seeing history, up close.

Roberta insisted there be at least one picture of me before she’d approve my sending the blog out.

Dropping anchor in the ancient port of Knidos, just inside the submerged walls.

Does life get much better than this?

Looking Forward

I mentioned at the end of my last blog that our GSSR group (Great Siberian Sushi Run – three boats that crossed the Pacific together via the Bering Sea in 2009) is back in discussions about cruising together. Those discussions are continuing, and it is looking good for the group to reunite. No plans have been made, and it is all just discussion at this point, but the idea tossed around most frequently is to gather in London, in 2014 or 2015, and head north. My fingers are crossed.

The Mandalina Marina, in Sibenik Croatia, will be Sans Souci’s base of operations for the 2013 cruising season.

Shorter term, Roberta and I are focused on the 2013 crusing season. Our plan is to traverse Greece and Albania, heading northwest to Croatia. I predict it will be a great year for the blog, and a longer season on the boat. We hope to return to the boat in mid-May and be underway by June 1st.

As always, the blog wouldn’t be what it is without all of the assistance and helpful emails I get from all of you.

Thank you, and I am looking forward to the 2013 season!
Ken Williams

PS You don’t need to miss the blog this winter, check out this page for my books:


10 Responses

  1. i have so caught up in your blog and being the noses one that i am i was woundering how did the grey pear catch fire and is the ocean pearl a nordhavn they as well as yall r good people your blogs r great have and will injoy

  2. Hi Ken and Roberta,looked all over to find a place to write to you and eventually found this comments page. My wife and I will be chartering a sailboat in June and will be doing the west coast from Marmaris around to Orhaniya then making our way back past Symi and Rhodes then a few other ports and back to Marmaris. Your blog is so informative and you bring the dream alive for others. Well done. I have started a blog which I took from your site and being a computer dummy, have learned to build it with the great help of John in support. We are keen sailors and keep a holiday home and a yacht (holiday 23) at the Vaal Dam South Africa which is the largest dam closest to our domain in Johannesburg. We recently lost our Boerboel pet dog which was more a child than a dog to us and have not had the opportunity to get away for the past 7 years due to his constant needs with bad back legs but that’s another story.
    We have travelled extensively but always separately to to our Dog’s needs so this is a special and exciting break. We hope to see you somewhere on the water in Turkey. We usually say “may you find lots of down wind in your sails ” but in your case, this could create lots of smelly diesel fumes so ” smooth sailing to you both.
    Allan and Debbie Rosenberg

  3. Sorry for crashing your blog, but I just wanted to thank you guys for everything you did with Sierra games. Thanks to you, it was great being a computer gaming kid in the 80s / 90s!

  4. Hi Ken,

    I’m a big fan of Sierra games, they meant so much to me when I was younger. So, now I was looking to find something about them on the Internet, and I stumbled upon your sailing blog. It’s a real pleasure to read that you’re coming to my country, Croatia, the next year. There’s a lot to see here, the coast is beautiful, and I hope you and Roberta will enjoy yourselves.

    And, now for some trivia… did you know that 15 minutes away from your marina in Sibenik, there is a town called Skradin where Bill Gates (really!) used to come for summer holidays?

  5. Hi Ken and Roberta,
    My wife and I love your blogs and read every one of them. Keep up the good work 🙂 I noticed the growth in your sea chest and intake hoses. We – own a Nordhavn 57 – installed a seperate through hull for the A/C last winter and can report that it has resulted in zero growth in our Sea Chest after a whole season in warm Gulf Water. Another 57 owner did the same thing after a miserable summer in the Bahamas with lots of growth challlenges and has had the same experience (we exchanged ideas the other day and discussed this subject). In addition my fellow N57 owner added fresh water “back flush” that will kill any growth before it can take hold – next on my to do list since I am jealous. The 76 Nordhavn Sheer Madness did this with great success as well. Enough bla, bla from me…. Have fun in Mexico and look forward to your next blog installment

  6. SUBJECT: Thanks for the blog

    Hi Ken and Roberta,

    My husband and I enjoy your blog very much. Being a working stiff I have missed reading some of the emails but plan on revisiting the blog during your off season.

    We were able to sail quite a bit before kids. My husband navigated and I crewed/provisioned and cooked on many southern Californian to Mexico sailboat races. We now dream of owning a trawler. My husband also cruised for a year from Florida through the Panama cannel after grad school back in the 70’s. After moving to the Northwest in the late 80’s, we just couldn’t get used to the no wind in the summer and freezing sailing conditions up here. We ended up with a wake boarding boat and enjoyed many lake vacations with the kids.

    I hope someday we can cruise during our retirement……although it just might end up being a trailer able one and exploring the San Juan’s. Oh to have had kids earlier in life and not have to deal with 2 college tuitions!

    All the best to you and Roberta. Keep up the fun!

    PS Just had a thought…..you should consider getting a Philips AED for the boat. I believe CostCo sells them on-line. They are rated very high in the industry and have saved many lives.

    Best regards,

    Cathy D

    ————-Response by Ken — 2012-09-18

    Cathy, Prior to us selling our company, Roberta and I had a smaller boat that we could only cruise on weekends. We did that for many years. We bought our trawler within a month of selling the company, and have never regretted it.

    We do have a Philips defib on board. I took over replacement pads and a new battery this year. Last year, it beeped almost non-stop…

    Thank you!

    -Ken W

  7. Ken,
    Thanks for great information and sights this year. Somewhere down the road I will be following in your footsteps, although my San Souci will be slightly less 5th avenue :). I am curious about the “out of water experience” the boat is having. I keep mine out when not in use and added a small vented battery charger as well as a portable air conditioner that works fabulous. They keep the humidity out (I’m in Fla) and usually the boat around 80-82f. All this comes from an outlet at the house. I am anxious about Croatia! There and Greece are/were my absolute treasure vacation spots. Enjoy.

  8. Thank you, Ken! We always enjoy reading your blog. Glad this was a great season for you and Roberta.

    Did you hear or experience any of the uprising about the anti-Muslim film in the middle east while you were there? There was supposedly a riot in Istanbul.

    Be safe,

    ————-Response by Ken — 2012-09-16

    I was never concerned for safety while in Turkey, anywhere. That said, we would have avoided any protests, and we avoided Eastern Turkey.

    In a prior blog I said that Turkey was a little “too good to be true,” and I meant it. I don’t understand how Turkey has managed to avoid the unrest that exists in all the surrounding muslim countries. My hope is that over the next five to ten years, Turkey’s success spreads to its neighbors, but it wouldn’t surprise me if things skid the other way around.

    On the positive side, I googled to see what protests there were in Istanbul, and the first news story that popped up had this headline: “Istanbul sees peaceful protest over anti-Islam film.” Perfect.

    I’d say I am cautiously optimistic.

    -Ken W

  9. Thanks for another great year, Ken! As you say, good for you, boring for us; but I don’t think there have ever been more beautiful photos, either.

    Nor do I recall seeing a photo of Sans Souci out of the water before; I bet they felt a little less smug about winning the bid! Don’t hesitate to entertain us with maintenance details; I for one love the technical stuff.

    London would be incredible….

    Can’t wait to for Greece in the meantime, though, and may the marina treat her well over the winter.

    ————Reponse by Ken – 2012-09-16

    My biggest fear, with Sans Souci in Shrink wrap, is the humidity inside the boat. They are putting fans to keep the air moving, but I’m not sure that moving around the humidity is much better than letting it sit.

    Also, my first understanding was that the boat could just sit there, and now I have people going onto the boat every week to charge the batteries, and air it out.

    Ask me again in May, but thus far, I’m not that enamored with haul-out as an option.

    Nothing is ever easy with a boat.

    Thank you!
    -Ken W

  10. Great blog Ken. Glad you had a good time. I especially liked seeing all of the pics regarding your layup process. Nice to see someone a little bit more paranoid about seacocks than me.

    ———-Response by Ken — 2012-09-16

    Thank you!

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