[Kensblog] End of the season

Greetings all!

I’m typing this as we are doing our final packing. Tomorrow at this time, we’llbe on a plane to Seattle!

First off, I want to thank everyone who wrote to see if we were ok after therecent Turkey earthquake. Turkey is a large country, and the epicenter wasnearly a thousand miles from where we are, so we never knew it occurred until Iopened my email to see the flood of inquiries.

Epicenter of the recent eathquake inTurkey. A long way from Sans Souci!

The earthquake did cause Roberta and I to ask each other, “What if it had beencloser?” Sadly, we know the answer to that question. A marina we were in during2009, in Japan, was near where the tsunami hit last year. I’ve seen aerialphotos of boats washed onto land, and the town destroyed.

Speaking of which, I’ve always said that bad things tend to come in threes (theydon’t really, but I do confess to believing in some superstitions).

So, here’s the other two:

Engine room fire?

While waiting to enter the marina, anchored in front of the town of Gocek, Roberta asked me why smoke was pouring froma boat near to us. Looking over, it appeared to be an engine room fire. Iphoned it in to the Coast Guard. Luckily, the fire suppression system in theengine room must have activated and put the fire out. After thirty minutes, thesmoke stopped.

80′ boat, with a very brave marina staffer

The third incident in the series arrived right on time, as I suspected it might.We had entered the marina and were tied to the dock. I was sitting at mycomputer, doing email, when I felt the boat rock strongly to the right. Hadsomething hit us? Or, was it a large wake? How could there be a wake insidethe marina? I ran to the pilothouse door, and saw the 80′ boat in the pictureabove being pushed away from our boat by the tender you see in this photo.

Roberta came running up the stairs. “Did you see that?” she asked. “We werealmost struck by that boat!” Apparently, the boat had been moving rapidlythrough the marina, and was turning to enter a fairway when the captain eitherlost control, or the engines lost power. I’m not clear which. Roberta saidthat she was downstairs on our boat when she saw the other boat’s stern rapidlycoming at us on a collision course. Amazingly, a marina employee saw theincident occurring and interjected his tender between the other boat andSans Souci, instants before the collision. He was joined almost instantaneously byanother tender, which appeared out of nowhere. What I had felt was their tendersbouncing off of our boat as they were pushed into our side. 

I didn’t know whether to thank the marina employees for risking their life on ourbehalf, or shout, “What were you thinking?????” Putting yourself, and a plasticraft, between two large heavy boats, just to save a few thousand dollars infiberglass repairs, is not the wisest of moves. I do thank them, and their fastaction did save me money, but I hope they never try a stunt like that again.

And, speaking of the amazing marina staff, here at D-Marin, in GocekTurkey….

Sans Souci is now in a new marina. We decided to move, in hopes of findingbetter protection from the winter storms. This also puts us closer to the officeof the company that is watching over our boat. And, best of all, we were able tofind a side-tie!

One of the “joys” of entering a new marina is figuring out the shore power.

The ends of my shore power cables

[WARNING — these next few paragraphs get a bit techie. Non boaters may wish tonap for the next five paragraphs]

I have had bad luck in Europe with each new marina having different shorepower,and different physical connectors for attaching to the shorepower. On the dockwhere Sans Souci is now sitting there are two kinds of shorepower, 220v singlephase, 50hz, and 380v three phase, 50hz. The pedestal closest to me was of the220v, single phase, variety.

Ordinarily I do not mess with the connectors that are attached to my shorepowercables. I keep pigtails on the boat (short pieces of shore power cable with barewire at one end, and a female connector at the other). This allows me to putdifferent connectors on my shore power cables, as I move from marina to marina,without physically touching my actual shorepower cables. 

At some marinas I’ve had the office lend me the shorepower adapters that work inthe marina. At others, I’ve had the marina sell me expensive adapters, or justshrug, and leave it as my problem. In all situations, prior to Turkey, it hasbeen up to me to wire and test my own shorepower cables.

This is only my second marina in Turkey, but, at both marinas, the marina hassent an electrician to my boat. Here at D-Marin, the electrician was great towork with. He struggled for a couple of hours, in the heat, to get theshorepower working with my boat. Finally, I discovered the problem. There is arotary switch inside Sans Souci which identifies which shorepower connector touse. The boat was turned to Cord B, and he was attaching Cord A. This was veryembarrassing. By the time I discovered the problem he had shifted to trying the3-phase power on the other side of the dock. I discovered the problem with therotary dial at the same time he discovered that the 3-phase power worked for myboat. (Sans Souci has an international shorepower converter that makes it veryfriendly to different shorepower voltages.)  I tried to explain to him thatwe could go back to single phase, but communications between languages are notalways easy. He had convinced himself that I needed 3-phase power, and that’swhat I was going to have.

I only half-hearted tried to explain the confusion to him, because the truth beknown, I greatly prefer the higher voltage power. With 3-phase, 380v power, andtwin 50 amp cables, I can get something like 40kw of electricity into the boat.This means NO POWER MANAGEMENT! Unlimited electricity!

Hooking up my shorepower

To get my cables to the other side of thedock, without anyone tripping over them, the cable was run under the dock

A very professional job! However, ifthe boat ever needs to leave the dock rapidly, it will be impossible

The water in the marina is amazingly clear!

The clarity of the water in Turkey isamazing. This is the prop on the boat ahead of me on the dock. That prop isabout eight feet under the water. Incredible, and even clearer when you leavethe marina

So, Roberta and I decided to go to Oludeniz…

Roberta and I came to Turkey with grand plans of seeing historical sights.And we have seen a few, but really, it’s just the tip of an iceberg. There isMUCH here to see. We know we are coming back nextMay, and wanted to save most of the sightseeing for when our friends arrive.

In any event, we decided we’d go see Oludeniz, awaterfront city about a 45 minute drive from the marina in Gocek. It looked pretty incredible in the pictures.

Oludeniz – A beautiful lagoon

At one time it was possible to anchor inside the lagoon, but now, to keep itnice, you have to anchor at the entrance.We thought about anchoring out when we passed by here with the boat, but theseas were rough, and the anchorage isn’t well protected. I can see though, thaton a hot summer day, this would be my kind of anchoring.

Paddle boats can be rented to explore thelake

Even though we were at Oludeniz after the season, at the end of October, we sawLOTS of tourists lining the beach. The vast majority were British.

Roberta and Coco on the beach

We have found Turkey to be amongst the best countries we’ve ever traveled withour dogs. Usually when taking the dogs to a restaurant we call ahead to verifythat the dogs can join us for dinner. In Turkey, thus far, no restaurant hassaid no. Lately, we don’t even think about it, or call to ask permission. Dogs arefine everywhere! More importantly, our dogs are really liked by the people weencounter. They have had their pictures taken dozens of times. American touristsare rare, and tourists with dogs are even rarer. Coco and Toundra are goingto have to readjust to life outside Turkey. They have become very spoiled.

Want a genuine fake Rolex?

Both the good, and the bad, of Oludeniz, and many parts of southern Turkey, arethat they are tourist towns. Oludeniz was the most touristy tourist-town wevisited. Roberta and I live in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, five months a year, whichis also a tourist town. T-shirt shops, lots of forgettable restaurants, andstores selling stuff no one really needs. But also, incredible beauty, beautifulbeaches, and wonderfully friendly people. We felt right at home!

These are real Turkey-Turkeys. Howcould I not take their picture?

Sans Souci, at the D-Marin marina, Gocek Turkey

And, here’s a topic that didn’t seem to fit anywhere, but I thought was worth mentioning…
Last week, Roberta and I found ourselves anchored in a situation where we didn’t completely trust the anchor. We were anchored deeper thanwe liked (122 feet),and on a gentle incline.

After dropping the anchor we always back up a bit, to verify that the anchor is set.

 Looking at the anchor chain

Roberta drives the boat, as we back up gently, and I watch the chain. I stop her when the chain reaches a direct line between the boat and the anchor, and the boat stops backing. The goal is to verify that theanchor is well set, and dig it a bit deeper into the bottom, not to jerk at it until it comes free.

Recently, another cruiser commented to me that I should start paying attentionto the wind, and the angle of the anchor chain. He said, “If the chain isn’t taut, and at the angle you testedwhen you dropped it, it isn’t going to drag.”After a while, you get to know how much wind it takes to make the chain go taut. I’ve never really thought about it this way, so I can’t honestly say what the magic number(where the chain is completely taut) is onSans Souci, but the other night, when I was standing anchor watch, I took out a flashlight and watched the chain at different wind speeds. At 22 knots, the anchor chain wasstill hanging vertically in the water, which tells me we were no where near dragging. I’ll experiment more next year…

Lastly, I would like to close out the season by mentioning that although it is usually just Roberta and I on the boat, there is really a team behind Sans Souci.I confess to being somewhat lazy when it comes to PERSONALLY doing boat maintenance. I suppose it is possible to take great pleasure fromfixing the toilets, washing the boat or changing the oil,and I have done those things, and many more, at various times. However, I prefer to cherry pick the bits of boating thatare the most fun, and to outsource as many maintenance and cleaning tasks as I can. Each year beforearrival at the boat, and each offseason while we are gone, I have a team of people who keeps Sans Souci clean and well maintained. Much of what Roberta and I have been doingthe past few days is making lists: lists of spare parts to be ordered, lists of things to be cleaned, lists of things to be fixed.[Note: Roberta said I should mention that just because I’m lazy doesn’t mean sheis! Over the past few days, she has been cleaning the interior virtuallynon-stop] We’ve been taking pictures ofanything that looks worn or in need of repair, and as soon as we leave the boat, Sans Souci will be madenew again. I’d like to thank these people who are thehidden heros behind our cruising adventures.

In Seattle — Jeff Sanson, at Pacific Yacht Management

And, in Turkey — Riza Cagdas Cakir, at Emek Marin

And, of course, I’d like to thank all of you, without whom the blog wouldn’t be possible.

See you next season!

Ken Williams

PS As this is likely to be my last blog for several months, I thought I’d close on a personal note. I’ve been reading Steve Job’s biography. Idealt with him a few times over the years, and as you canimagine, he has always been one of my heroes. The first few chapters of the book speak about his relationship with his father, and how his father influenced his career. Of course,that got my thinking about my own dad, our relationship, and his influence on my own career.Some of you may remember that this blog started as a way to keep my dad informedwhile we were away. He lost a battle with cancer, in 2008, just after accompanying me on Sans Soucifor the Fubar rally (San Diego to La Paz Mexico).

I miss him, and would like to share this video that my son sent me, a few years ago when he was in Japan for college. I hope it reminds you of your ownparents, and how they affected your lives…
David Williams

Note: if you don’t see a video above, click THIS LINK to see the video.


10 Responses

  1. You and your wife took me to worlds that I couldn’t imagine as a kid with Sierra On-Line. I love the fact that you are living what would be my dream, on a boat, around the world.



  2. Wow, what a turn of events you’ve been having, both good and bad.
    Our family has been going through similar struggles and I would just like to wish you my deepest condolances and let you know you and your family are in our prayers.


  3. I can’t tell you how much it means to me personally that you all share your life with us through your blog. I’m 45 now and grew up playing all the Sierra games and to know you guys are still around and having a good time and living out your dreams (and well deserved) and then sharing them with all of us really is amazing! We don’t have to ask…”I wonder what Ken and Roberta are up to these days?” because it’s all mostly right here.

    I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your dad in 2008, Ken. I lost my dad in 2004 and your son Chris’ video really meant a lot.

    Thank you and keep sailing and keep blogging. So many people would miss you guys if you vanished.

    Cleburne, TX

  4. You’re welcome Ken!

    Well… 4 years isn’t so bad. Hope that in 4 years we have a better economy to show. Although I find my country to be an example for many, we have been ruled the wrong way for the past 20 years, and now we are paying the price.

    My people, although of easy traditions and extremely peaceful, will for sure come out on top at the end.

    To help you pass those 4 years, I leave you another video:

    http://youtu.be/13JzhYcS0mw (http://youtu.be/13JzhYcS0mw)

    Best wishes!

    Nuno Nunes

  5. Just to share a video of the region where I am so fortunate to have been born, raised and living 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watc (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbG4M–OlsU)

    Best wishes,

    Nuno Nunes

    —————-Answer by Ken Williams – 2011/11/11 —-

    Nuno, Thank you for the link. I’m running out the door, to catch a plane, but will look at it today.

    Portugal is absolutely on our list, and the Algarve will be a definite stop. However, we’re taking our time working our way west, and moving at roughly one country a year. We might speed up at some point, but currently, I’m guessing we won’t arrive in Portugal for at least another four or five years.

    We were “a little bit” in Portugal in 2004, when Sans Souci visited Horta, and another island (which I’ve forgotten the name of).

    Thank you!

    -Ken W

  6. Hello Roberta and Ken,

    First of all I must say that I only discovered your blog last week and I have been reading all you posts for the past five days, without missing a paragraph. I’m hooked on your adventures.

    Sans Souci is a wonderful boat and clearly demonstrates your good taste and attention to detail. I’m proud that almost all Nordhavns show their Portuguese bridge to the world, since I’m Portuguese and live in the beautiful and sunny Algarve.
    I come from a modest Portuguese middle class family, and my dad was a fisherman in North and South America, before returning to Portugal and meeting my mom. He fled the country when the Portuguese government started drafting for the Colonial war in Africa. In those days you had 3 choices: Go to war, go serve in famous Portuguese Cod Fishing boats that operated in Canadian waters… or “jump” the border and run as fast as you could without looking back.
    My dad was politically against the Dictatorial Regime, so he chose to leave the country just has his brother was drafted (and 1 year later was MIA).
    To me… my dad was a hero. I lost him to cancer 14 years ago when I was only 20.

    On another note:
    I’m feeling a little bit sad that up until now you have mentioned allot of European countries in the Med but didn’t refer a visit to Portugal. Without detracting other countries, we are the nicest, most welcoming people. Great wine (from the best in the world) great food, great weather (avoid July though… 40 Celsius is a bit hard) and good boating infrastructures.
    I think that we are worth the visit, and that would also give me an opportunity to see a Nordhavn (boating eden to me) moored in one of our marinas.
    I dream of doing what you are accomplishing now. I still have allot of hard work (a a good portion of luck) in front of me if I ever wish to accomplishing anything remotely close to what you have. But we do have a saying here: Dreaming does not pay tax!
    I also would like to present my feelings for the loss of Shelby. I also share my life with a loyal Labrador and a Groenendael Belgian Shepherd, and the lines that you wrote about the loss of Shelby made me drop a few tears.

    Best wishes in the world for all of you, and hope that Sans Souci, Gray Pearl and Seabird can pay a visit to my country and specially my region (Algarve- just make a slight right turn after Gibraltar and wait to pass the delta of the Guadiana River)
    Nuno Nunes

  7. Hello Roberta and Ken

    I have been following your blog for a few months now and have been reading “backissues” of you postings. Thank you very much!Y our experiences and willingness to share knowledge and findings has been instrumental in our considerations and finally decision to get us a Nordhavn as the next boat. So we are in the process of visiting Nordhavns around Europe when possible. At the moment we have seen N43, N47, N55 and N76. We are quite sure the N76 will be too big for the 2 of us to handle and do not feel sure the 55 is big enough – so with the help of Nordhavn Europe we are now locating possibilities to see a couple of boats in the 60 series.

    I have a tonne of questions I’d like to ask you right now though the most pressing one is about captains licensing. What is your experience with that. Which do you have, how often and where has it been requested by various authorities around the world?

    Al the best

    —————–Response by Ken Williams Nov 5 2011 —————-

    Greetings, and best wishes on a tough decision!

    I wouldn’t rule out the N76. It’s a big boat, but whether or not it is too big for two people really depends more on the depth of your pockets than the size of your crew. Roberta and I have no problem running our N68 and I’m confident we could run an N76, but, we’d cheat the same way as we do with our current boat — almost all maintenance and cleaning is outsourced. The big boats have big thrusters and twin engines. Driving them is fairly easy.

    As to licensing: I do have a USCG captain’s license, as well as a Yachtmaster’s license (for Europe). The US has no license requirement, and as a US-flagged vessel I “should” be able to go anywhere in the world without a license. That said, outside the US I have hit several countries where they (marinas, and customs) automatically demand a copy of my captain’s license. I get the sense that without it I would still be admitted, but there’d be lots of confusion as they figure what to do with me. The US is rare amongst modern countries in that there is no requirement for a license on powerboats.

    Getting a license can be easy. I was able to complete my 100 ton license in a week, and did the same for my Yachtmaster’s license (one week). Normally, the courses spread over months, but I have little time, and couldn’t sit still for a multi-week course. I contacted schools and lobbied them for a fast course, and made it happen. You can do the same if you push hard and do some digging. The tougher part is having the “sea time” required. Both Yachtmasters and USCG have mimimum seatime requirements. Luckily, I have enough hours.

    I know others who have had to volunteer on long deliveries to rack up enough hours. It’s a big number (although I forget what it is).

    Good luck!

    -Ken W

  8. Great report as usual…. By the way, when you click on current location, it shows SS in South China Sea…. Second, by the way, my daughter is in Turkey now on a State Department Scholarship…Looking forward to more reports… Have a great holiday season and a safe new year…

  9. Thanks, Ken. If you want to drop us a post or two over the winter, I’m sure we wouldn’t mind. I’m gonna go call my dad now.

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