[kensblog] It’s 2017. What are our cruising plans?



Greetings all!

Roberta with our new tender
Roberta with our new tender


Roberta and I will be off to a slow start on our cruising this year.

Over a decade ago I was told I needed a new right knee. I ignored the Doctors and the knee got worse. Finally, this year it became obvious that I could delay no further.

Knee replacement is not an easy surgery. Actually, I'm not sure there is such a thing as an easy surgery. That said, I found a clinic in St Helena Ca that offered minimally invasive total knee replacement, and on April 26 had the surgery.

Ken gets a new knee at the Coon Joint Replacement Institute
Ken gets a new knee at the Coon Joint Replacement Institute


I'm now a week past the surgery and am well into the recovery. The Doctor mentioned that the surgery took twice as long as anticipated. My delaying the surgery for a decade meant that I had damaged the ligaments around my knee. The Doctor fixed them but it wasn't easy.

I mention this only because we are unlikely to start cruising until July. I need a month or two of rehab before I'll be "boat-ready."

It's frustrating because we lost virtually all of the summer of 2016 to boat repairs, and now we'll be off to a slow start this summer due to my surgery.

And our 2016 cruising was more of a "checkout" ride than it was cruising. The boat had just undergone its own version of surgery on a much grander scale.

Arguably, we did more than we should have to the boat. We've been cruising in far-off lands where even minor repairs to the boat have been a struggle. This was the first year where the boat has been in the United States with my home mechanics and we could do anything to the boat that we wanted. We were so excited by the idea of making the boat new again that we got a bit carried away.

The repairs extended beyond last year's cruising and were still going up until March of this year.

Here's just a small sampling of all we did:

At rest stabilization: During our cruising in the Med we had a difficult time finding calm anchorages. We have giant plates (called flopper stoppers) that we hang from the boat to smooth the roll while at anchor but they only work up to a certain point. We've been talking about taking the boat to Hawaii and I've heard that calm anchorages are very rare. This led me to exploring options for stabilizing the boat while at anchor, and ultimately deciding on a stabilizer-based system. What started as a fairly simple idea quickly became expensive and complicated. I discovered I needed bigger stabilizers. A naval architect was engaged to verify the hull could handle the larger stabilizers and he recommended beefing up of the hull. I also needed to provide hydraulic power to the stabilizers while sitting at anchor and this meant finding room for a giant electrically driven hydraulic pump in my already-crowded engine room. We got it done, but had I really understood what I was getting into

Making the boat new again: Sans Souci has been through a lot. I still think of it as a new boat, but the boat was starting to show signs of age. We decided to spare no expense in resetting the clock. This meant new carpets, fixing all the fiberglass dings, replacing all the non-skid, fixing dings in the teak decks, reupholstering everything, a new couch, sanding down and refinishing the tables, fixing scratches in the teak floors, and a whole lot more.

Updating the electronics: We basically gutted all electronics on the boat and started fresh. This meant replacing all the navigation electronics, entertainment electronics and internet systems. We now have HD tv all over the boat, four beautiful monitors in the pilot house (as opposed to three smaller ones), the ability to pull up any video at any tv on the boat, and two high-end radars available at all times.

Replaced all the raw water cooling systems: We have struggled to keep the engines cool when in horribly hot places. I've been unable to run full throttle without the engines overheating even when running in fairly cool water. I've worked around the problems but wanted them solved once and for all. This meant up-sizing the sea chest and all the raw water plumbing. I also wanted all the thru-hulls replaced and beefed up.

Replaced our tender: We have an AB Inflatables DLX 15' tender that has been awesome, but has reached the end of its lifespan. We also had an 11' backup tender that never gets used. We bought a new identical tender to replace the 15 footer, and swapped the 11 footer for a couple kayaks.

Major maintenance on the various systems: We did things like replacing the engine mounts, going through the exhaust systems, rebuilding the windlasses. Every system on the boat had extensive maintenance.

Swapped the shore power cables: I had two 50 amp cables which used a Glendinning shorepower cord retrieval system (basically automated cord in/out system.) The two 50 amp cables were removed and replaced with a single 100 amp cable. It's a very long story but this increases the number of marinas in which I can have access to adequate power for the boat.

The bottom line --- Sans Souci is now a new boat!

To test our new stabilizers we asked other boaters where the roughest anchorages were. This was typical of what we found. Where are the wind and waves when you need them?
To test our new stabilizers we asked other boaters where the roughest anchorages were. This was typical of what we found. Where are the wind and waves when you need them?


Another bay. Same flat water.
Another bay. Same flat water.


And, on a different topic



Many of you remember the GSSR run that we did across the Bering Sea in 2009.

The Great Siberian Sushi Run
The Great Siberian Sushi Run


That trip was the best trip of our lives. I can't imagine how any trip could ever be more fun or more interesting.

We traveled with three boats; Grey Pearl (a Nordhavn 62), Seabird (a Nordhavn 62) and our own Sans Souci (a Nordhavn 68.) I can write a book (and, indeed have) on the great things about traveling with a fleet of boats, as opposed to going it alone. The benefits include safety, entertainment, logistics and more.

I would never have tackled the Bering Sea alone. It would be a dream come true for the three boats who formed the GSSR to someday ride again.

Unfortunately though, I'm very sorry to report that our GSSR team of boats is looking more busted up than ever.

My medical issue is nothing compared to what Braun Jones (Captain of Grey Pearl) went through last year. I don't want to say too much about someone else's medical issues, but suffice it to say that he had major issues which included open heart surgery, months in the hospital, and a very long recovery. Braun is a fighter and he'll be back cruising the world on the Pearl at some point, but .. it has definitely slowed him down short-term.

And, as if that wasn't enough .. I recently spoke with Steven Argosy (Captain Seabird) who announced he would be selling the Bird!

Seabird in 47 knot winds off Albania
Seabird in 47 knot winds off Albania


Here's a link to the "for sale" ad for Seabird:
http://nordhavnonly.com/product/seabird-nordhavn-62/

Seabird being for sale led Roberta and I to a late and nostalgic evening of looking at old videos from our journeys together. It has been years since I've looked at the videos.

My personal favorite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzlaibBLzOE

All of them can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChV-EdhsKLQtOzIf0f6fkGA

I never really pushed Steven on "why" he and Carol were selling Seabird. The decision to sell a boat is a personal matter and I'm sure there were lots of things that contributed to the decision.

If I were to speculate as to "why" Seabird is for sale, my guess would be that Steven and Carol, like us, just finished a circumnavigation. It's the first time their boat has been home in many years. I think they want to enjoy a bit of time at home before (and if ever) setting off on another big adventure.

I completely understand that feeling. International cruising can be stressful and expensive. Nothing is ever as easy as it should be. It is tough to get back and forth from home to the boat. Getting spare parts can be a challenge. Finding a place to haul the boat can be difficult. Clearing in and out of countries can be time consuming. Marinas can be expensive, or worse yet not available. Language is a constant problem. Finding shore power is a problem. International travel certainly has its rewards, but those rewards come at a steep price.

A boat should be matched to its intended use, and the needs for regional cruising are different than for world cruising. If Roberta and I were to give up our interest in "exploring the world by boat" I might think about buying something smaller with more speed.

Today, as I sit here icing my knee it is hard to envision crossing another ocean, but it's premature for us to be thinking about limiting our cruising horizons.

Which raises the question .. what lies ahead for us?

Our "official"current plan is to take the boat from Seattle to Hawaii at the end of this summer.

That said, we're very soft on the idea and keep hoping one of us will suddenly have a wonderful idea for a direction to head. The best would be if some group of boats were to form with some remote destination in mind.

I read a cruising guide to Hawaii recently and it was somewhat depressing. The water is rough between the islands and there aren't many good anchorages. There are also some challenges getting our dogs in and out of Hawaii. The rules have loosened recently, but it will still be a process each time we want to go from the mainland to the boat.

On the other hand, we really don't have a good alternate idea. Our winters are committed for the next couple of years, so we need somewhere with good summer cruising. The Pacific NW where we are now is awesome in summers. But .. I'm really more of a warm water guy. The Pacific NW is beautiful with lots of well-protected anchorages, but the water never really warms up. You can't swim in "beautiful." By the time this summer ends I'll be in the mood to move the boat somewhere with warmer weather and water. The most obvious places, like Mexico, Costa Rica, the Caribbean, are all winter cruising grounds. They are miserable or hurricane prone during the summer.

And, speaking of Hawaii

I just read an interview with some other Nordhavn owners, Dick and Gail Barnes, which somewhat re-motivated us to go to Hawaii.

(CLICK HERE) to read the interview.

Makua Bay on Oahu Hawaii
Makua Bay on Oahu Hawaii


Anyway, there's no need to decide today.

Nordhavns are going places!

In 2004 we were part of a fleet of 18 power boats that crossed the Atlantic. It was my first experience with ocean crossing and a very cool experience.

A group of six Nordhavns is making an Atlantic crossing this month
A group of six Nordhavns is making an Atlantic crossing this month


There's another group about to retrace our route. They've been posting regular updates as they do all the preparation required for the trip and anyone contemplating crossing oceans should consider following their blog.

Follow their passage at: nap2017.blogspot.com/

And, here's a couple of amazing journeys

Nordhavns continue to push the limits of what is possible. I was particularly blown away by two amazing quests this past year. One Nordhavn went to the top of the world while another ventured to the bottom!

Migration (N68) in the artic
Migration (N68) in the artic


A Nordhavn (N68 the same as our Sans Souci) ventured to the North Pole. (click to read)

Reliance (N76) heads south to the anctartic
Reliance (N76) heads south to the anctartic


And another Nordhavn (an N76) headed to the south pole. (click to read)

And, while I'm thinking about Nordhavns "going places", I just saw this posting from James and Jennifer Hamilton on Dirona, a Nordhavn 52:

" We plan on getting way this weekend for Kinsale Ireland. It's a tiny bit early in the season but we have what looks to be a blocking high developing in the North Atlantic and Sunday morning is looking like a good time to get underway. We'll take on 2,000 gallons of fuel tomorrow morning and, depending upon the speed of the small low passing through, we'll get underway Saturday night or perhaps Sunday morning. Our plan is proceed east below the ice line carried south by the Labrador current and then make way directly towards Kinsale. Expect to take about 19 days to do the just short of 3,000 nm."


To follow their quest: www.mvdirona.com

Congratulations to all these people for these amazing journeys and to Nordhavn for making boats capable of taking their owners to such remote destinations.

Boatblogs.com – the same blogging software I use
Boatblogs.com the same blogging software I use


I should mention that you might start to see ads appearing in boating magazines and websites for Boatblogs.com. Behind the scenes, it's me offering to others the same software that I use for my own website and blog. I don't like to mix plugs for my own products with blogging, so .. I won't say much beyond, "If you want a website or blog, check it out!"

And, lastly

There's a chance I'll run the boat this next weekend. If so I may send another blog. I haven't been on the boat since the mechanics finished all their work. I'm very curious to give her a try!

Thank you all,

Ken and Roberta Williams
(and, the pups Toundra and Keely)
Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci
www.kensblog.com/www.boatblogs.com


Comments

Ken Williams 6/15/2017

Response to a post by Oleh who said:

Yes. The Lesser Antilles are way down the Caribbean chain near the coast of Venezuela and kind of end with Trinidad & Tobago so you would be fine regarding hurricanes. Although May to October are considered "wetter" months, its more like a quick dail...


You've given me a great idea! It's too late for this summer, but I will start researching for summer 2018. Thanks!

Oleh 6/14/2017

Response to a post by Ken Williams who said:

Is that a place you can be in summer? I'll check .. I'd need to be south of the hurricane zone . We checked on Costa Rica .. but in the summer it rains non-stop...


Yes. The Lesser Antilles are way down the Caribbean chain near the coast of Venezuela and kind of end with Trinidad & Tobago so you would be fine regarding hurricanes. Although May to October are considered "wetter" months, its more like a quick daily shower or spritz and life goes on, defeinetly no month long monsoon type rains there. Many of the islands are volcanic and thus have a more diverse ecosystem among them than the northern Caribbean archipelagos, including rain forests and such. Marigot Bay is a must see for cruisers such as yourselves !

Ken Williams 6/14/2017

Response to a post by Oleh who said:

Ken: If you are still looking for ideas for later this summer, what about cruising the Lesser Antilles. I realize its a bit of a haul now that you are in Seattle but its a great group of very diverse set of Caribbean islands. You can make the amazing...


Is that a place you can be in summer? I'll check .. I'd need to be south of the hurricane zone . We checked on Costa Rica .. but in the summer it rains non-stop...

Oleh 6/14/2017

Ken: If you are still looking for ideas for later this summer, what about cruising the Lesser Antilles. I realize its a bit of a haul now that you are in Seattle but its a great group of very diverse set of Caribbean islands. You can make the amazing Marigot Bay in St Lucia (just got back) your HQ during the trip and hop around to islands featuring incredible beaches, anchoirages and rocky adventure islands as well.

Steve 6/11/2017

Glad you finally got knee repaired and hope you guys have fun the rest of the year. While you are healing, have you seen this video that came out last month on YouTube? It was very interesting. Any information you can add would be awesome. I found it very interesting.

https://youtu.be/qmNCFtAlYN0 (https://youtu.be/qmNCFtAlYN0)

mbrochu 5/15/2017

SUBJECT: RE: [kensblog] It’s 2017. What are our cruising plans?

Bummer on the knee, but glad you had it repaired. Caprice tore her ACL and MCL skiing this winter. Surgery. 9 months rehab. Happens.
Did you get your M’s tickets this year?
How are you fixed for wines? Our latest received 92 points from Rob Parker. Pleased.
Stay in touch and follow your rehab religiously…

Cheers,
Mike

Michael A. Brochu
16548 SE 59 Place
Bellevue, WA 98006

"Life is not a journey to the grave

hsw 5/14/2017

SUBJECT: RE: [kensblog] It’s 2017. What are our cruising plans?

Ken; great to have you back blogposting again; and a speedy recovery to the knee!
-Howard and Kate.

H.S. Wright III | Chairman & Founder
Seattle Hospitality Group
p: 206-674-3020 | f: 206-674-3023
www.shgllc.com (http://www.shgllc.com) www.shgllc.com (http://www.shgllc.com) ="">

From: Passagemaking with a Nordhavn [mailto:blogcomments-F2R7Q@[...]]
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 10:40
To: H.S. Wright III
Subject: [kensblog] It’s 2017. What are our cr

Ken Williams 5/14/2017

Response to a post by tugzman who said:

SUBJECT: Re: [kensblog] It’s 2017. What are our cruising plans? Hi Ken, I have been a long time reader of your Blog. We are in the process of building N-76-26 and I was wondering why the single 100 amp shore power cable is better than two 50 amp ca...


Greetings Chris! And, congrats on the new boat. Are you a member of the Nordhavn Big Boat's group? I'll also post this response there. If you aren't in the group email me offline and I'll get you set up. (ken at kensblog.com (http://kensblog.com) )

My reason for swapping to the single 100 amp cord has to do with my Atlas system. If you don't have an Atlas or an At-Sea system this probably doesn't apply to you.

To start at the beginning:

I went with dual 50 amp cables because:
- They are lighter and easier to work with
- I thought my boat would be fine off of a single 50 amp cord most of the time

I was right on the first of these issues. But, the second has been a challenge.

In Europe, where the voltage is higher and the power is three-phase, a single 50 amp cord was all I ever needed.

But, now that the boat is back in the U.S, a single 50 amp cord is insufficient. If I put out a single 50 amp cord I need to start the generator to do laundry, run the stove, make water or cook.

Putting out two 50 amp cords has been unreliable. It works only about a third of the time, particularly in marinas with single phase power. I'm not exactly sure why, but vaguely remember that the two circuits need to be phased 180 out of sync with each other (I probably have this wrong.) The part I know is that when I plug in the second shorepower cable I either get a green light or a red light. If it is the red light then it isn't going to work. I often run up and down the dock seeking alternate pedestals to plug into hoping the power will work.

With dual 50 amp cables the power first hits my boat in something called a "smart box" that is supposed to stack the power from the dual 50 amp cables. Overall, my Atlas system has been a challenge. It has failed often and been difficult to get repaired. I love it when it works, but failures have been frequent and expensive.

Thus I spoke with Mickey Smith, the original designer of my electrical system about how to make the Atlas system more reliable and also boost the odds that dual 50 amp cords would work.

Mickey's suggestion was to remove the smart box and use a single 100 amp cord. I'll now have a 50 amp adapter I can use in situations where the marina has only 50 amp connections. I'll also have the ability to split to two 50 amp connections (which Mickey says will be more reliable than what I had before.)

Mickey works at www.pacificyachtmanagement.com (http://www.pacificyachtmanagement.com) and is the father of the electrical system on your new boat. You may want to contact him for more details.

Hope this helps!

-Ken W

tugzman 5/14/2017

SUBJECT: Re: [kensblog] It’s 2017. What are our cruising plans?

Hi Ken,

I have been a long time reader of your
Blog. We are in the process of building N-76-26 and I was wondering why the single 100 amp shore power cable is better than two 50 amp cables? What is the advantage?

Thanks,

Chris Roehrig

> On May 10, 2017, at 10:41, Passagemaking with a Nordhavn wrote:
>
>

Ken 5/13/2017

Response to a post by Ken Williams who said:

That's it! You've found her. Tuesday I'm going to take the boat for about a 50' run across the canal to fill the fuel tanks. It will feel great just to be back on board.


Ken While we are actively shopping for a trawler we are still sailors, so I suspect your fuel bill will be bigger than what we are used to. If you were around the Thursday before last when we were heading thru, you would know that the weather was, well.. interesting... The power boaters moored next to us referred to us as their lightning protection...

braun 5/13/2017

SUBJECT: RE: [kensblog] It’s 2017. What are our cruising plans?

Ken,

Nice blog,

We are moving the boat from Fla. To Maine this summer, mild stuff considering the ‘before’.

Best to you and Roberta.

Braun and Tina

From: Passagemaking with a Nordhavn [mailto:blogcomments-F2R7Q@[...]]
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 1:41 PM
To: braun@[...]
Subject: [kensblog] It’s 2017. What are our cruising plans?

Ken Williams 5/13/2017

Response to a post by Ken who said:

HI Ken, After following your blog for the past few years I finally saw Sans Souci "in person" last week. We were taking the boat thru the locks to tie up at the log boom for Opening Day and I noticed Her, tied up, just west of Fisherman's terminal o...


That's it! You've found her. Tuesday I'm going to take the boat for about a 50' run across the canal to fill the fuel tanks. It will feel great just to be back on board.

Ken Williams 5/13/2017

Response to a post by terry who said:

SUBJECT: RE: [kensblog] It’s 2017. What are our cruising plans? Hope you get better fast Thank You, Terry Kilbane [cid:__storage_emulated_0__EmailTempImage_96346684142984cachecopyImage_bmp@s...] www.kilbanearchitecture.com (http://www.k...


Thank you Terry. Best wishes!

Ken 5/12/2017

HI Ken,
After following your blog for the past few years I finally saw Sans Souci "in person" last week. We were taking the boat thru the locks to tie up at the log boom for Opening Day and I noticed Her, tied up, just west of Fisherman's terminal on the Magnolia side (where I grew up).

terry 5/11/2017

SUBJECT: RE: [kensblog] It’s 2017. What are our cruising plans?

Hope you get better fast

Thank You,

Terry Kilbane

[cid:__storage_emulated_0__EmailTempImage_96346684142984cachecopyImage_bmp@s...]

www.kilbanearchitecture.com (http://www.kilbanearchitecture.com) www.kilbanearchitecture.com (http://www.kilbanearchitecture.com) ="">

36800 N Sidewinder Rd. Suite B-15
Post Office Box 997
Carefree, AZ 85377
(480) 488-1239 office
(602) 684-9851 cell

From: Passagemaking with a Nordhavn [mailto:blogcomments-F2R7Q@[...]]
Sent: Wednesday, May

Ken Williams 5/11/2017

Response to a post by magicjochef who said:

SUBJECT: Re: [kensblog] It’s 2017. What are our cruising plans? hi ken nice to get some news about all of you. im always like to follow your adventures. i dont see drone pictures yet.get a DJI marveric .and learn yo fly.this drone does all for you i...


I do have a DJI Phantom 3 -- and want a Maveric. I was positive Santa would bring me one, but .. no luck.

At a minimum I'll take my Phantom when we are on the boat.

Thanks!

Garry Goldsworthy 5/10/2017

Response to a post by Ken Williams who said:

Garry - hopefully you'll get this message. Let me know if you want help and I'll make the payment on your site for you. We can sort it out someday in the future. We have an amazing solution for blogging with no bandwidth. I need to get you set up on...


Thanks Ken. I'll send you an email. Costs are blowing out. We are limited to a travellers sim in Japan. $40 for 2Gb and it is running out every couple of days just with FB and weather.

magicjochef 5/10/2017

SUBJECT: Re: [kensblog] It’s 2017. What are our cruising plans?

hi ken nice to get some news about all of you. im always like to follow your adventures. i dont see drone pictures yet.get a DJI marveric .and learn yo fly.this drone does all for you in 4k picture quality .folds up small sets up fast and is fun.....check it out at DJI drone........happy flying .

________________________________
From: Passagemaking with a Nordhavn
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Ken Williams 5/10/2017

Response to a post by RVN SF VET who said:

Glad to get news from you and it's good to know that you attacked your knee problem. I had both knees replaced at the same time in 2004 and have found that it's nice to be without pain - and I'm an inch taller now! I requested extra large nodules of ...


Thank you Ron. They are definitely making me hurt. I can't imagine how you did both legs at the same time. I asked my doctor and he said he wouldn't even do it.

Best to you!

RVN SF VET 5/10/2017

Glad to get news from you and it's good to know that you attacked your knee problem. I had both knees replaced at the same time in 2004 and have found that it's nice to be without pain - and I'm an inch taller now! I requested extra large nodules of titanium. {;*)) Only one piece of advice. If the physical therapy doesn't hurt, they are not doing it correctly. To regain full flexure and break up any scar tissue - it hurts. I had to leave a PT outfit that avoided pain to attract business and go back to the hospital for rigorous PT. If you can find a PT outfit that uses a WARM WATER POOL followed by "dry land" therapy - it will radically reduce the pain of good therapy.
My best to you, Roberta, and the doggies,
Ron Rogers

Ken Williams 5/10/2017

Response to a post by Garry Goldsworthy who said:

Hi Ken, Hope to see you and Roberta back under way soon and you making a speedy recovery. I will send you a PM soon. Our internet time is limited as we are cruising the Japanese Seto Sea this summer and would like your advise on blogging. We have ha...


Garry - hopefully you'll get this message. Let me know if you want help and I'll make the payment on your site for you. We can sort it out someday in the future.

We have an amazing solution for blogging with no bandwidth. I need to get you set up on it. Email me the next time you have email and I'll tell you what to do.

ken (at) kensblog.com (http://kensblog.com)

Garry Goldsworthy 5/9/2017

Hi Ken,
Hope to see you and Roberta back under way soon and you making a speedy recovery.
I will send you a PM soon. Our internet time is limited as we are cruising the Japanese Seto Sea this summer and would like your advise on blogging. We have had to let www.sobraon.com (http://www.sobraon.com) lapse as we were having difficulties in Japan and Korea staying online to update.
Regards,
Garry and Wendy

Pete Leander 5/9/2017

Ken,
You will be extremely glad you did the knee replacement if your not already...Had both mine replaced by 45 and have not regretted it a minute...Play tennis weekly and get around great...so much better than "dealing with it"! I was skeptical about how they would react on a long range cruise but I made the San Diego to Palm Beach run on the "Large Flightless Birds" just fine! Needless to say ice was my best friend during my recovery. Looking forward to more posts. cheers!

Ken Williams 5/9/2017

Response to a post by Brad Pyatt who said:

So great to finally see an update. Best wishes for a quick recovery and many fun hours on the boat. I live vicariously through your adventures and enjoy reading them immensely. I'm very land locked in Dallas and my little 18' open bow is hardly bigge...


Thank you! - Ken W

PS I would settle for being on any boat right now. I'm not even allowed to get my leg wet at this time!

Brad Pyatt 5/9/2017

So great to finally see an update. Best wishes for a quick recovery and many fun hours on the boat. I live vicariously through your adventures and enjoy reading them immensely. I'm very land locked in Dallas and my little 18' open bow is hardly bigger than your dingy but it's still great to be on the water. I'll look forward to seeing more from you.

Want to know what is happening in the world of trawlers?

Quick Updates

CLICK HERE

I am experimenting with doing daily quick updates. Click here to see more!

Blog from anywhere - from any device
Click image to check out Ken's books
SansSouci.png