[KensBlog] September Construction Update

The main deck to our Grand Banks 60
NOTE: This blog entry is very different from my normal blog entries. Roberta and I are building a new boat and this boat is focused on the construction process and decisions we are making. If you are seeking a travelogue, stay tuned. That is coming! But . . . we need to get the boat built first.  Greetings! Roberta and I are still in 'waiting mode'; waiting for our boat to be complete so we can start cruising. That said, I am using the word 'waiting' very loosely in that there hasn't been muc...
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[Kensblog] It’s starting to look like a boat!

Greetings all! Roberta and I are still awaiting the delivery of our new boat. This will be our first summer to be stuck on land in over twenty years. Even though we miss our boat, I must admit we are looking forward to a summer on land. As much as we love boating it will be good to take a break. That isn't to say we haven't been thinking about boating! Hardly a day goes by that we don't have an email from the factory building our new boat or one of our various experts with questions about the ...
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[Kensblog] The first pictures are here!

Our very first picture of the new boat?
Greetings all! It has been twenty years since Roberta and I had a summer where we weren't living on a boat. Sans Souci (our Nordhavn) sold quickly and our new boat won't be delivered until next Spring. It feels strange being stuck on land. I regularly monitor several boating blogs and discussion groups, but haven't participated in any of the discussions recently. It feels like I am now outside the boating community looking in. That said, Roberta and I wanted this. We've talked for a while abo...
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[KensBlog] Boatless in Seattle

The three GSSR boats
Greetings all! They say the two happiest days in a boaters life are: 1) The day they take delivery of a new boat 2) The day they sell the boat I can confirm the first of these sayings, but am struggling with the second. Sans Souci, our beautiful Nordhavn 68, now has a new owner. We are proud that Sans Souci's reputation, extensive upgrades and amazing condition allowed her to sell so quickly, but sorry to see her go. The closest analogue to this mixture of sadness and joy would be when we se...
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towery, Bob 9/19/2019

Ken, I have lots of time with Nobeltec and Furuno. But I went with Garmin on our 2018 build, and am super pleased. The latest chart update was great. It all works well, seamless, and it is easy to teach anyone else on the boat how to use it. Honestly, a 12 year old was on our boat and by just watching me she really got the hang of it. 

I have the 80kg Ultra and it is one super anchor. It's been in 3 fights with obstructions and won all three!  Sounds like you are making a lot of good decisions, no surprise there. All the best.

---Reply posted by admin on 9/19/2019

Thank you! I am looking forward to trying it out.

Ken W

Nicometo, Ryan 9/18/2019

Is the tilting mast something GB has done a bunch before? It's a great idea.

Also I'm wondering if you running spinning disks or SSDs in your NAS or onboard PCs in general. I'm curious if spinning disks bouncing around present problems with long term reliability.

The move to Garmin seems very sound but I like the idea from another comment of having a backup system. I do think you'll enjoy the reliability, more common parts, and hopefully lower maintenance. Keep it simple!

---Reply posted by admin on 9/18/2019


Yes -- I am running SSD in the Synology. I'm running 4tb with two 2tb SSDs in two of the four bays. I can add more storage later if ever needed. I chew up drive space fairly quickly in that I record all video when the cameras sense motion. The Synology allows me to set the retention period and I usually have it auto-delete video more than 30 days old, depending on the camera.

GB has never done a tilting mast before. That said, I am in frequent communications with the owner of the boat just before mine (his is due for completion in January and mine in April). His boat is also getting the tilting mast.

The good news (for me) is that he gets to be the pioneer, and I will profit from whatever they learn on his boat.

-Ken W

jsschieff 9/18/2019


Cygnus sounds terrific! 

RE your decision to go with Garmin chartplotters -- they are terrific units but you may want to consider using an additional chartplotter with different mapping software. Garmin owns Navionics so its charting software is basically  Navionics. If you plan to cruise the Bahamas, Navionics and Garmin do not use chart information from  Explorer chartbooks which  Bahamas cruisers swear by. Explorer chart information is incorporated into C-Map chart info which is used in Simrad, Raymarine, Furuno and B&G chartplotters. 

I have found it very helpful when navigating tricky or new areas to have two chartplotters with two different chart databases. It is like seeing a problem in two ways.

---Reply posted by admin on 9/18/2019

Thank you. I do plan on a backup. It was a long story, so I left it out of the blog. But .. here's the quick version...

I'll have a Windows PC (probably a little Intel NUC fanless PC) which I'll run Maretron on. I'll put Nobeltec on the same PC. Garmin allows (I think ...) for an external HDMI input. I'll feed the video from that PC into the Garmin system and have Nobeltec available for when I need it. I haven't figured how I'll feed AIS and GPS data into the backup PC. My current plan is to not do so, and just have Nobeltec for looking at detail on alternate charts.Although ..during commissioning I'll look to see if I can find a way.

I have two monitors at the helm .. so, on one I can run the Garmin chart plotting .. and on the other look at Nobeltec. It won't be perfect .. but .. will let me look at the alternate set of charts side by side with what Garmin is seeing. 

I'll also have my ipad .. with chart plotting software on it.

So ... hopefully .. I'll be triple-covered.

-Ken W

Birch, Murray 9/17/2019


Things are progressing nicely! Out of curiosity, are your Volvo’s pod drives with the prop pointing forward?  I ran across a boat this summer with pod drives that had a quite large log jammed between the drive and the hull. It took a diver many hours to cut it and get it dislodged from the drive. You can also imagine the damage it caused to the motor and drive mechanism. Not sure those drives are really suited to the PNW. If you are considering them you might want to discuss how to protect them if you are planning to come down the Inside Passage.

Just another thing to think about.

All the best. We look forward to running into you once you launch.


Murray Birch

Operata De


---Reply posted by admin on 9/17/2019


I'm going with conventional shafts, not the pod drives. 

You are right though about the problems with the inside passage and logs. I added a steel plate to the bow of the boat which will help with logs, but the props are completely un-protected. If I hit a log it will be no fun (not as bad as with a pod drive, but still not fun). 

There is nothing I can do about it. I suggested a cage to both Grand Banks and Steve D'Antonio and they thought I was crazy. 

In the Pac NW I'll run slow, probably around 15 kts .. so that if I do hit a log my odds of damaging the prop are slightly lower.

Nothing beats a Nordhavn twin engine boat for protected props.

-Ken W

Roach, Eric 9/17/2019


I’m an old acquaintance from our Nordhavn days and also considering a GB. 

I’d love to see your analysis of the projected boat speed vs what you expect now with your adds. 

Thx always,


---Reply posted by admin on 9/18/2019

We did consider pods. There is much to love about them. 

I can't find the data now, but believe the range with pods was something like 10% greater than with shafts. Also .. the draft is over a foot less. 

The problem is: Ability to get repairs and the cost of repairs. You can find someone to straighten a banged up prop much simpler than a broken pod. If ten years from now pods are on 90% of boats it will be a different answer, but for now I was having visions of the pod needing a fairly minor repair and them having to remove it and ship it off to Volvo. Shafts and props are old technology. It seemed more practical.

I did consider the zero speed fins and read great things about the ones that Grand Bank recommends (Sleipner). At one point I had spec'd them. 

  • The fins take up less room inside the engine room, which is a definite advantage. 


  • There is a large complicated hydraulic pump required to run them. 
  • When the fins work you hear them from inside the boat, as they flip back and forth.  
  • On Sans Souci (our prior boat) I was never impressed with the fin-based at-rest stabilization system. We never really gave it a good workout, but the little I did wasn't great
  • They are two more appendages on the bottom of the boat that will catch crab pots

The Seakeeper will be a nice consistent gentle hum, and easier to sleep with. 

It was a tough decision though. My engine room is tight. I'll be constantly crawling over the seakeeper.

-Ken W

---Reply posted by Roach, Eric on 9/17/2019


Basically the same ones you have been through. I do like the beam of the 55 and up PB, but not so much the layout.  I'm worried the 60 is a little big. I'll be looking more closely at the FTL boat show this year.

On my Nordhavn 60 I had the Ultra anchor and loved it.  Never dragged - not once. Mine too was oversized.

Did you consider zero speed fins and why the shafts with dp vs the pods?

BTW - thx so much for the detailed posts -- really is appreciated.


---Reply posted by admin on 9/17/2019


So would I! I'm very nervous that I am overloading the boat. 

I think that it won't be an issue, but until the boat is complete I will not know. If you do talk to GB push them a little on the topic and see what they say. When I've talked to them they thought I might lose half-a-knot, but that's it.  

I will get some good information in January. I'm in frequent contact with the buyer of a boat that completes in January. Our two boats are very similar. I'll get some real-world performance data from his boat. 

Which boat are you considering? I would have happily gotten the PB55 or PB65 had it not been for the tiny tender. Beautiful boats. I figure this is very close. It's effectively the PB65 hull with a bigger top deck.

-Ken W

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