Safe in Newport Oregon

Sans Souci is at the dock, in Newport Oregon, where she shall remain until the seas calm.


Here’s an email exchange from yesterday, between Jeff, my deliver shipper, and Bob, the weather router:


Bob: I stopped short in Newport Oregon because of the exciting conditions that are coming in tonight. I am going home in the AM and will wait for an e-mail from you or call to get back under way. Right now it looks like maybe Tuesday? What are your thoughts?


Thank you – Jeff


Jeff: As of now, Tuesday looks to be the day. However a new system will approach quickly from the west and could produce rough conditions by as early as Wed/am. If that is the case, this window may be only 24hrs or so. Would you prefer a window closer to 48-72hrs or are smaller windows OK?B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI


Bob: I am 240 mile from Cape Flattery. I need about 28 Hours. to get up then make my turn. We can be back on board and ready on monday or when you tell me.. I will keep an eye on the bouys to get an idea and will be ready to go.


Thank you – Jeff



So, my guess is that it will be mid-next week before the boat is moving again.




My current project is to focus on marinas for our boats in Japan. All of us are planning to spend six months to a year in Japan. I wrote to one marina, near Osaka, that hasn’t written back yet. I also swapped a couple of emails with a friend of a friend who is now in Japan, trying to convince him to visit as many marinas as possible in Japan, to find a spot for our boats. I’m expecting we’re going to have a heck of a time finding moorage, but it’s really too soon to say.


My other project yesterday was to sign up for a “Marine Electrical Certification Course” which is being taught in Seattle.


Here’s what the course catalog says about it:


“…This 4 day course is designed for the experienced technician with at least 3 – 5 years experience working with marine electricity. The student needs to be very familiar with ABYC electrical standards. Course topics include electrical theory, lead-acid batteries, using a multi-meter, battery testing, generator sets, inverters, grounding and bonding systems, troubleshooting and more. At the time of registration, each student will be shipped a study guide which should be studied prior to class along with the ABYC standards. The class concludes with a 200 question certification exam. …”


I spoke with the instructor, trying to decide if the course was too advanced for me or not. The course is intended for marine electricians, and I’m a software developer. I’ll be a bit of a “fish out of water”, but I’m good at studying, and a fast learner, so it should be fine.


-Ken W

PS Some good comments came in yesterday on my blog entry from a couple days ago.

12 Responses

  1. John (aka 4061): Yes. My thoughts exactly. I once had an office in Japan, and our son lived there for seven years. His name is Christopher Scott Williams, which is EXACTLY how EVERYTHING had to be written. I once goofed, and got him plane tickets in the name of Chris S Williams, and he wouldn’t even go to the airport. He was convinced that they wouldn’t let him on the flight, and I suspect he was right.

    As soon as I find some free time (actually, as soon as I MAKE some free time), I will be figuring out the process to fix the certificate of documentation.

    -Ken W

  2. Ken, getting caught up on your past updates. regarding dealing with the Japanese and the misspelling of the boats name take my advise and correct it now! My recent dealing with the Japanese governemnt (defense angency) and industry in general has resulted in much frustration and time spent working out details that i would normally not touch. Items including a misspelled word has resulted in numerous long and frustrating meetings. A misspelled boat name on your registration could cause you more grief than you can imagine.

  3. Ken,

    The mention of Baja filters made me think of the subject of filters for bad fuel. First, I had trouble coping with the smaller of the two Baja filters (from West Marine) on a 37′ Crealock cutter with a 40 gallon tank. Even at known good sources of fuel, I usually collected a little water in the filter; but its capacity is quite limited. A big one would be too slow for a Nordhavn 68. Gulf depth filters have been discussed on the T&T list for some time – but usually in the fuel-polishing context. However, many Gulf Coast crewboats use them as primary filters to great effect. They are marketed as oil, fuel, and coolant filters. The filter material is paper towel rolls. They are capable of removing sub-micron carbon black from these liquids. Vessels which have taken on contaminated fuel (belatedly noted on other vessels fueling from the same source) have continued to run without incident. There are other makers of depth filters, but none with such cheap filter material. They would be ideal for vessels on the Sushi Run. I cannot imagine leaving without this minor investment. They are specified on Diesel Ducks and I *think* they once appeared as stock on Nordhavns.


  4. Ken,

    For the name of your cruise, I suggest the “Slush to Sushi Cruise”. Of course, if you wish a consistent food theme, then the “Salmon to Sushi Cruise”.


  5. Dale: I found the course through ABYC. You can see their calendar of classes at: (

    The class I’m taking doesn’t show even though it is an ABYC course. I’m a little confused about why. My understanding is that ABYC originally had the course, but that they had inadequate attendees. Rather than cancel it, they somehow handed it off to a local Seattle company to adminstrate (Seawide) – (

    There are two different electrical courses: Basic Marine Electricity, and Marine Electric Certification. My guess is that I would have been a hero in the one course, and will now be the class dummy in the more advanced class. We’ll see.

    Good luck! – Ken W

  6. Hello Ken,

    I am very interested in taking the class you referrred to and wonder if it might be offered again in the future since I am currently in Arizona and home during the summers and over Christmas thru 2010. I understand you must be quite busy with the San Souci so close to home, but hope you could tell me the school where you found this course offered.

    The cameras at Salmon Bay are great. I grew up in Ballard (Blue Ridge)but the ship cannel is my favorite place to go in the tender. Now, if I’m a little home sick, I can watch boats pass under the Ballard Bridge. The SBM looks like an exellent facility.

    Good Luck ( Happy Birthday, Young Man )

    Dave Evans

  7. JohnA: Great thoughts on fuel. I’ll add those recommendations to my list.

    One other thing I’ve never done, but should do — is get a “baja filter” (at least that’s what I have heard them called). It’s just a filter to pour new fuel through when taking on fuel in dubious places. I’ve never had one, and have always thought the odds of getting bad fuel low enough, that it isn’t worth the bother and slowing down the process.

    However, recently, when fueling in Hualtuco, they were bringing rusty barrels of fuel to the boat, and if I’d had one .. I’d have been using it, slow or not.

    Thank you!
    -Ken W

  8. Note to everyone: When posting, include your name somewhere… It’s tough to respond to “unknown”…

    To the person who spoke about weather: I left the wrong impression on my posting about “longest passage”. Our longest passage at sea is really only 500 miles; from Attu to Petropavlosk Siberia. That’s only 2.5 days. Actually, we have a similar distance across the Gulf of Alaska, so we have a couple 2-3 day passages. Everything else is just short island hopping. The 1,000 miles that I mentioned is the longest distance without fuel; which is from Adak (in the Aleutians) to Petropavlosk.

    To muddy the water a bit farther. Whereas our longest open water passages are only 500 miles; we might actually do some runs which are much longer. Our policy will be to keep moving when the sun is shining. If we suddenly get a 7 day weather window, expect we’ll move 1,400 miles.

    As to “what happens if we get a bad storm and can’t hide” – I found a terrific site which has all the good hiding places in the Aleutians (anchorages). ( We’ve all seen enough rough seas to have a healthy respect. If there’s any sign of trouble, you can bet we’ll be anchored. The beauty of this trip is that we really only have a couple longer passages, and for most the rest we are always alongside good hiding places.

    All of this said: We are likely to get caught in something really ugly at least once. It’s just how the game is played. All of us have very seaworthy boats, and I expect we’ll get frightened a bit, wish we had never made the trip (for a few hours), do some cussing and puking, and then be just fine.

    Statistically speaking: We’re in good shape. I’ve looked at the pilot charts, cruising guides, spoke to many people who have made the trip, and will speak to many more. I also regularly watched the weather in the region this past summer. We’re doing all we can to ensure it is a safe and boring trip, but recognizing it won’t always be. As they say: “No guts. No glory.”

    I’m glad the topic of pilot charts came up. I’m always looking for blog topics. That would make a good one.

    Thank you! – Ken W

  9. Ken, I’d like to add something to the fuel discussion, if I may.

    Fuel problems do account for a large percentage of diesel failures, though not nearly as large as some suggest. I agree with you, operator error accounts for a lot of problems, but let me suggest that inadequate fuel management is another cause for concern.

    Bad fuel concerns can be mitigated in the following ways:

    (1) Before you take on NEW fuel it is prudent to transfer your OLD fuel into as few tanks as you can, so as to minimize the mixing OLD and NEW fuel.

    (2) After you take on NEW fuel, let it sit for a while so that any bad stuff like water and dirt can settle. Then polish it for a few hours. No need to be in a hurry, right?

    (3) Never, ever leave port using your OLD, good fuel, leave with the NEW stuff so if there are problems they will be manifested early on, instead of 500 miles out to sea.

    The above was my standard operating procedure on commercial ships. In 30 years, I never had a fuel problem out at sea, though I can remember several “dead ship” situations alongside the dock or at anchor due to bad fuel. Much better than on a long passeage, right?


  10. Ken-I have studied the weather around Newport and north and the forecast of winds up to 40 knots and seas up to 15 feet is good reason to stop in Newport. I am sure your vessel could handle these seas, but obviously anyone on board would be in for an extremely rough/terrible ride. It is interesting that the forecast seemed to be ok from Bob when the boat left Newport, Ca. But of course, we all know forecasts out 4 days or more are probably just a good guess. See the comments from Bob regarding next week, for example. So, with that said, you have indicated the longest leg on your Japan excursion is 1,000 miles assuming you can gain entry into Siberia, and if you can’t gain entry it will be even more. You have also said the boat at 8 knots will make 200 miles a day or 5 days for 1,000 and 10 days for 2,000. If you can only do 6-7 knots the time frame obviously gets longer. So, you have expressed concern about typhoons for this trip. Understandably so. But what about just really rough weather, similar to the conditions off the coast currently. I would think there is a rather high probability you could encounter similar conditions and no matter how good the weather router, you may not be able to avoid it. Are you, your crew, and your fellow cruisers really ready to roll the dice that you could very well be in the same sea conditions as exist today on the west coast, but with no place to “duck out”?? A suggestion would be to pull weather history for the last three years for your route, if it is available, and see what the probability %’s are for encountering rough weather. I for one, with a 100 ton license too and 3 thousand coastal cruising hours, would want to have some statistical background before undertaking this trip. As Jeff said when the steel fishing boats are going in it is time to take their lead and go in too. Unfortunately you may not have that option upon the open ocean. Anyway, just a thought, not trying to rain on your parade.

  11. Ken,
    Unfortunately no N68 of my own on order, I am fortunate enough to have been cruising for many years with our best friends on their Nordhavn’s and have played a part in helping them spec out their last two, as well as making trips to the factory. The owner has talked to you in the past and you will see the boat in Seattle in the spring!

    Hope all is well
    Todd P.
    Kirkland WA

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