A Rotten Day, a Strange Boat?, and Something New From Nordhavn

Today is our last day in the south of france, and I’m sorry to be leaving. Tomorrow we’ll be on a plane… so, no updates for a few days…

Yesterday was a terrible day….

The day began with my receiving an updated shipping schedule which said that because of the hurricance, they were swapping the boat that would be bringing my boat from Costa Rica to Victoria Canada. The smaller boat they were moving us onto was the “Marie Rickmers”, which is the same ship that months ago discovered that its crane could not lift my boat. Essentially, this meant our boat would not be shipped.

I immediately made the decision that we would run the boat on its own bottom, and stop waiting on the freight company. This triggered a series of correspondence with Jeff Sanson (my delivery skipper) and Weather Bob at Omni ( ocmarnav@aol.com). The biggest problem is “hurricane season”. We were trying to find a way to move the boat before the end of hurricane season safely.

Here’s a brief excerpt from one of his emails yesterday:

“..One thing that could be done is to leave ASAP and head north to Acapulco then wait out the res tof the Hurrcane season there. However, this area (and northward to Puerta Vallarta) is not the best Hurricane anchorage and being in one of these ports could be “worse” than being at sea, so proceeding north as far north possible, as soon as possible is a risky venture with San Souci. In addition, you may have to wait 3-4 weeks in order to make a safe passage northward from Acapulco…”

I contacted Dockwise to ask about their shipping schedules, and discovered they had a freighter coming north in December. I immediately asked them to send me the sign-up forms.

However… Jeff then spoke to the original freight company who said that the earlier email, canceling my trip, had been sent in error, and that they had been doing damage control all day– and, that I should relax. According to them, my boat WILL be picked up within a couple of weeks.


And.. on a different topic… We had a boat anchored in front of us yesterday that was really strange. And, REALLY huge – 393 feet! (CLICK HERE to see some pictures I took) The pictures don’t do the boat justice, but it is in the top 10 of largest private yachts in the world. It just finished construction, at a cost of over $400 million, and belongs to a 36 year old Russian named Andrei Melnichenko. An article in the Wall Street Journal named it as “the ugliest boat in the world.” And, coincidentally, Dan Streetch, Nordhavn’s CEO, when I sent him a picture, wrote back to say “What is that? It’s the ugliest boat I’ve seen!” … I actually think it looks kind of cool, so form your own opinion. One fun fact: The swimming pool is above the disco, and has a glass bottom, so that the disco partyers can watch the other guests swimming above.

Dan sent me back some very impressive photos of their new Nordhavn 120, which recently started construction in China, and of the amazing factory Nordhavn has there.

A quote from Dan’s email:


attached are some photos of our new factory. I can’t remember how much I have told you about this factory, but it is HUGE and GEORGOUS. It will almost certainly be the last factory expansion that we need and it will probably take us a couple of years to completely fill and utilize it. Our existing China factory is on 6 acres of land and has about 500 workers (Ta Shing including both factories is about 3 acres of land with about 275 workers). The new China factory is on 21 acres of land and will have room for about 1500 workers- as well as a small hotel for PAE people, owners and crew. The word “NORDHAVN” is written on the roof of the N120 building (that building will hold 6 N120s under construction) in letters 30 feet high. […] It is our hope that the next time that Google Earth updates, the word NORDHAVN will be visible. Attached is a Google Earth photo of the “old” China factory. The new one is just a few hundred yards southwest. You can just see the test tank and launching lock under construction. Subsequent to that photo, the road was moved and the mountain blasted away to create the space- only in China. If that were the USA, we would still be caught up in the permit process….”

Here are the pictures he sent:

Nordhavn 120 Photos, and Nordhavn’s China Factory

Here’s a zip file with the google earth file Dan was referring to:

South Coast Marine- Xiamen China.zip


Dan (and, I assume it was the same Dan), published a comment on my blog entry a few days ago that I thought I’d repeat here…

Hi Ken,

The German couple Wolfgang and Heidi Hass have just arrived in Dana Point with their N46 KANALOA. Incredibly, this completes their SECOND circumnavigation with their Nordhavn- and even more incredibly their THIRD circumnavigation if you count the voyage with their sailboat.

My point of this posting is that they had their cherished Norfolk Terrier Zulu aboard for this most recent circumnavigation. I know that they spent about 6 months in Australia as well as long stints in other locations including South Africa, so they probably have some great dog information.

I will send you their e-mail address off line and let them know to expect an inquiry from you.



5 Responses

  1. Mark: Because I mentioned Roberta in my comment, I read her yesterday’s blob entry. The only thing in the entire posting she disagreed with was my comparison of the N46 to a Yugo. She told me to fix that, and with 20/20 hindsight, I should have. It was a dumb thing to have said, and unfair to the N46, which is probably one of the best trawlers ever built. I also suspect that more sea-miles have been logged on the N46 than any other trawler. Oops… – Ken W

  2. A N46 a Yugo? You sure you want to go exactly there? Your N68 is a sweet-as-can-be boat, and I would actually mark it a bit higher than an Escalade, but an N46 a Yugo?

  3. I assume your comment is “tongue in cheek.” I would be very surprised if Wolfgang and Heidi did any shipping of their boat anywhere. I do hope to meet them to discuss their trip, and have tremendous respect for people like them who circumnavigate the world in small boats.

    We plan on circumnavigating, but I’d be the first to admit that we are doing it much differently than Wolfgang and Heidi.

    – I’d be willing to bet that they spent 99% of their time on the boat. Whereas, Roberta and I will fly home six months a year.
    – You can’t compare a Nordhavn 46 to a Nordhavn 68. It’s like comparing a Yugo to a Cadillac Escalade.
    – We will take on crew to assist with difficult passages, whereas they probably made many long passsages alone.
    – If we get into a dangerous part of the world, the odds are Roberta and I will load the boat on a freighter and skip ahead, or hire a delivery crew.
    – If the boat needs waxed, I am far more likely to hire someone to wax it, than get out a rag myself

    So.. overall… I would have to plead guilty to doing a circumnavigation the wimpy way. That said, the vast majority of the time Roberta and I will run the boat alone, without crew, and it is not always as easy as it appears. And, we don’t “outsource” all the rough runs. Roberta and I will do every inch of the run from Seattle to Japan, via Alaska, the Bering Sea and Siberia, ourselves. I certainly hope it is calm seas and blue skies all the way, but I suspect I’ll have some “adventures” to report.

    Anyway… as I started by saying, people like Wolfgang and Heidi, or Eric and Christi (an N43 now circumnavigating), or the Flanders (Egret, an N46 now circumnavigating) and many more, are heroes for me. I’m amazed and impressed by their accomplishments.

    Roberta’s and my cruising goals are much more modest. I usually refer to our circumnavigation philosophy as “hubbing”. We want to move (or have the boat moved) around the world to interesting spots, and then explore in depth the region, for a whole season. Instead of circumnavigating in two or three years, we’ll take ten years, and dedicate as little time as possible to moving the boat from place to place, and as much as possible to a really in depth exploration of all the great regional cruising opportunities and anchorages that the area has to offer. We’re thinking of the world as ten regions (or hubs) that we’ll use ten seasons to explore. My focus is on thinking about where the ten best cruising regions are, to establish our hubs, as we go around the world.

    The tension in our family is that Roberta and I usually have different opinions about where the hubs should be. Roberta is an incredibly interesting person who is a wealth of information on virtually any topic and who has a deep appreciation of cultures and history. She wanted to be an archeologist and sees our cruising as a way to go historical places. She has been seriously working for years on a historical novel on the irish immigration. I on the other hand am usually happy with steaks on the barbecue, a drink with an umbrella in it, clear warm water, a full scuba tank, and a fast internet connection. As Roberta and I stare at the globe we see a very different planet. Fortunately for readers of my blog Roberta tends to control our cruising plans, or my blog would be incredibly boring…

    -Ken W

  4. Ken,
    These pictures are incredible as I am fasinated by the build process of the Nordhavn Yachts. To see the mold for a 120 being formed was better than the entire DVD Nordhavn sent me of “Behind the Scenes”. Pehaps in the future PAE will really show us who haven’t been to the factory such initimate details as to how Nordhavns are built.

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