Of Dreams, Ditches, and Bubbles
Richard Mojena and Cynthia Mello
(An original version of this account appeared in the Krogen Cruisers Newsletter, February, 2001, pp. 11-14)
LOVE that boat. What is it? She was moored in Oak Bluffs,
days later we’re mooching a cousin’s condo in one of those
Long-Boat-Key marina and golfing complexes. And there she was again… that same hull. We practically ran to the marina office. What kind of boat is that? She’s a Krogen. A what!?
A Kadey Krogen 42. We were stunned… Cynthia had palled around
with Kim Krogen during
Do you believe our luck? We’re having lunch with Kim in
In late 1992 we bought an Albin 34, named her Frenesi, cruised and lived on her for seven glorious summers, making our mistakes, learning the “ropes.” In 1999, after countless hours researching the Internet, talking to brokers, and corresponding with Krogen owners, we bit the bullet in March, 2000, culminating life-changing, pre-retirement transactions: Sold the house of 30 years, sold the Albin, bought our dreamboat KK42 in North Palm Beach, renamed her Sinterra thanks to Josh’s take on “Without-land,” packed every possible nook and orifice in the 16-year-old Saab for its last trip, including our “cabin boy”, an eighteen-month-old Chihuahua, Benito “Beni” Juarez.
move up from a semi-displacement Albin 34 to a
full-displacement KK42 is semi-quantum. This
bad girl is big, tough, and beautiful.
Her curvy, soft lines belie her hardiness. She has a range of 5000
nautical miles at 6 knots, capable of crossing the
The new boat and trip up
“The Ditch” (Intracoastal Waterway) back to
And so we moved on… and what a move it was! North Palm to Wickford, RI in 25 cruising days over 34 total days and 1464 nautical miles. From the ship’s log:
we did ground the bow just north of
The security of the home slip in Wickford felt good, not to mention the relief of getting back without sinking or otherwise damaging our new year-round home. Our first summer aboard disappeared fast, with refits, redecorations, three-steps-forward-two-steps-back activities, some local cruising, and showing off the boat to family, friends, and interested strays. And… we have new “cabin boy” Eduardo “Eddie” Juarez.
And then came Winter… Non-boating acquaintances ask: Just what do you do all day on a boat? The response goes something like: Just what do you do at home all day? Actually, there are some differences. We don’t cover homes in a plastic bubble, unless we’re chasing down termites. On boats, we have to keep water taps dripping when temperatures fall below freezing, unless we relish thawing the dock’s water feed hose with boiling water or dangerous heating appliances. Houses don’t have brown juice flowing out of their pores from condensation in strange places. Keep the inner spaces heated!
And, oh yes, we do have to count our amps. We slept six over Thanksgiving and fried both ends of the two 30A power cables. These can be serious sources of fires, especially at the boat inlets. The aft circuit lives on the amp-edge, falling off a cliff if a 750W space heater competes with simultaneous demands from the Sub-Zeros, hot water heater, inverter, genset charger, TVs, and microwave or toaster oven. The circuit breakers protect the boat’s internal circuits, but not the outside hookups. And while the reverse-cycle air worked great until the harbor’s water temperature plunged below 45, the manipulation of appliances challenged Richard’s multitasking deficiency.
So, here’s how we stand mano a mano with what looks like a serious Winter ahead. The first line of defense is the bubble, shrink wrap that covers the entire boat. It’s like we live in a fancy tent, but it’s bright and not claustrophobic. The plastic is translucent, has strategically placed plastic zippered windows (that were later replaced by large Plexiglass windows), and promotes a greenhouse effect at 55-70 degrees inside the afterdeck, on sunny days with ambient temperatures of 10 to 30 degrees. Plants live here. The two sleeping cabins are easily heated to 65-70 degrees by small electric space heaters at their low 750W settings.
Two heaters live in the
main cabin (heating the pilot house by default), although just one is required
at any one time: an electric space
heater, with its own #12 outside extension cord running to a separate 30A dock
box with a 30/15A adapter, and a catalytic propane space heater, fed from a
20lb tank on the dock. We scoured the
RV Internet discussion sites and came up with the catalytic heater of choice:
Olympian. These heaters are placed on
floors or mounted to bulkheads, don’t require venting, are silent, cool to the
touch, mostly give off radiant heat, and operate at low temperatures that
generate heat by the catalytic reaction of propane flowing over platinum. This flameless process does not create carbon
monoxide directly, although it can if oxygen is depleted in the space. We crack the galley port, a saloon window,
and a pilot house door to supply the necessary oxygen… and have propane and
carbon monoxide sniffers on board. As an
additional precaution, no heaters are run while we’re away. Over eight-hour or so periods the temperature
drop has not exceeded 15 degrees. More
elaborate alternatives include either a propane or diesel cabin heater such as
those put out by Force10 or
Richard & Cynthia
lived aboard in Wickford for seven terrific years (2000-2007) and cruised
summers from Mass to the upper Hudson River, including many memorable trips and
adventures (misadventures?) with family to anchorages, moorings, and marinas,
including Newport, Watch Hill and Block Island, RI; Boston, Provincetown, Wood’s Hole, Cuttyhunk,
Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, MA; Montauk, the Hamptons, Sag Harbor, Port
Jefferson, Greenport, NYC, and up the Hudson River to Athens, NY. Then we retired and headed south in our
floating home. See the Sinterra and
Bambi Sojourns blog for the cruising sequence in 2007-2008. And then… it was time for (wild)life
back on land in