New owners Wes and Amanda asked me to help them learn more about handling their new Kadey Krogen 39 Trawler. This is a great boat with a single diesel, bow thruster and active fin stabilizers. But this wasn’t the first boat they looked at, nor the first time we worked together. So let’s start from the beginning.
Learning the ABCs
We met first at TrawlerFest, presenting many different seminars. Then, our first “training” was via our set of Ask Captain Chris videos. It is amazing what you can learn by watching any of our training topics such as Docking, Locking, Anchoring, Bridges and The Perfect Boat. Next, this couple asked me to attend a survey of what they thought was their future boat. Acting as a translator for them, I was able to make sense of what sometimes seems like a foreign language during the survey and help them to understand the report which follows. While that particular boat failed survey, they learned so much from the experience. Now prepared to forge ahead, they quickly found a sistership in better condition. So let’s fast forward to my arrival at Halifax Harbor Marina in Daytona.
Exploring Below Deck Systems
As soon as I hopped aboard we began exploring the below deck systems. We started with the generator, both diesel and electrical, John Deere propulsion engine and Hydraulic PTO (Power Take Off) to provide hydraulic power to the active fin stabilizers. More exploring we reviewed the sewage system, potable water and hydraulic steering in the lazarette.
Then the basics on the navigation electronics before casting off to do docking practice near an ICW Channel Marker. All good we returned to port for dinner and plan our next day’s cruise north to St Augustine, FL.
To top off the evening we were able to see a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral a few miles south of us. See below photos for the orange flame moving through the sky.
Weather , Tide and….
Initial marine forecasts offered great weather, a good reason to be in FL in February. We had few delays with drawbridges and wonderful cruising until we arrived in St Augustine. As expected, the tidal currents were running hard and we had to crab the boat into the marina selected specifically because it had a man made lagoon with no cross current in the marina basin. BUT we had to get into the fairway by crabbing the boat at 45 degrees to our course line. We made it easily and docked with no problem.
Up and at ’em. We rise early with an evening anchorage planned in Alligator Creek just below Fernandina Beach, FL near the Georgia State line. Cruising along we learned the electronic GPS chart plotter and real world buoys do not always agree. The ICW buoys were relocated to show the new deeper channel that did not match the image on the chart plotter. This area is notorious for shifting shoals and we were prepared for the possibility. Look out the window for any changes in the channels!
As we approached the St John’s River we planned to cross into the next leg of the ICW. We saw a ship in the river outbound being swallowed by fog and then it happened to us – FOG. Quick! What should we do and where will we go? We lost sight of the Sisters Creek Bridge on the ICW (click here to watch video) and did see a small boat ramp dock to our port. Checking the water depth we were confident we could tie up for a while to see what the fog will do.
The fog stayed, then cleared a little. But it returned with a vengeance giving us poor visibility. So we decided to find a better dock to spend the night here. As luck goes we were able to move up and around the trailer boat back down ramp into a side creek with about 500 feet of FREE dock. No power but that’s OK, we were safe here. Later we met more cruisers and Loopers as they too, came in for refuge from the fog.
The Last Leg of Our Trip
Next morning we were up and cast off early to take advantage of favorable tidal currents. We anticipated rounding the bend at St Andrews Sound and heading into Jekyll Creek before low tide. All went according to plan. High tide welcomed us at Jekyll Creek (YEAH!) but St Andrews Sound was…shall we say exciting. A few pointers here:
- The Magenta Line is on the wrong side of the buoy at the eastern buoy in the sound.
- If it is rough then the buoys are difficult to see in the strong seas.
- A storm was approaching making dark skies, high winds and big waves. Lucky for us the storm was east bound and in our face and we were stabilized making the turn and ride easier than it could have been without stabilizers.
- Trip Planning involves more than your final destination. Be sure to check out the course in advance. Look for open water that may be exposed to the wind/current. and yes, the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) does have open and exposed routes that may not always be pleasurable in your boat. So be prepared to alter your plans.
Tying Up Loose Ends
Since we did not get a chance to anchor earlier in the trip we did anchor drills near the big bridge in Brunswick. This allowed us to complete the check-off list of all the skills the insurance company requested we accomplish.
Many new owners are not comfortable with close quarter maneuvering. So take advantage of any and all opportunities to practice. We approached the fuel dock as our first stop in Brunswick Marina. Never miss the chance to pump out the holding tank, too. Next, we moved into our assigned slip for the evening. After a cruise debriefing over dinner then it was lights out. Sweet dreams for the crew of this stunning Kadey Krogen 39.
And please enjoy these additional photos of our training delivery! Click on each photo for captions too.