Here are some additional thoughts on why we made some of the decisions we have on the boat. If you see anything else you’d like me to comment on, or think I should reconsider: email me (kenw at seanet.com – Ken Williams) and I’ll add it here.
Nordhavn is really the only production powerboat that has had a number of boats circumnavigate. All owners we have spoken to are passionate about their boats.
We considered seriously Northern Marine, who makes custom fiberglass powerboats. Their boats are solid, and several have crossed oceans. However, the reference checks weren’t perfect. The general theme seemed to be cost overruns and schedule slippage.
We also considered Real Ships, as well as pursuing the idea of having a custom steel boat constructed. Real Ships owners that we spoke with were very happy with their boats, and after evaluating the idea of a steel hull, we decided that a steel hull is a valid option. However, everyone we know warned us about the maintenance problems with steel hulls, and when it came time to make a decision we just couldn’t buy anything but a Nordhavn.
Customer support at Nordhavn was a major factor for us. The people at Nordhavn are incredible.
Why the Nordhavn 68?
We wanted the largest boat that we felt the two of us (Roberta and I) could handle safely. We also wanted an aft pilothouse boat.
Our previous boat, a Nordhavn 62 was a near-perfect boat. We chose to upgrade in order to get:
- larger master stateroom (fewer, larger staterooms)
- hot tub on fly bridge
- stand-up engine room
- larger deck behind the pilot house (this deck is our primary living space when in port or at anchor.)
The 68 works perfectly for us, because it is a size we are comfortable with, yet has the look we want.
Most Nordhavn’s are built with a single engine, and a smaller “wing” (or get-home) engine. Our first Nordhavn was like this.
We made the change after chartering a twin engine powerboat in Croatia. I liked the extra tight-quarters maneuverability. I also had a situation a few years back where we had to run for 20 hours on the wing engine, at 3.5 knots. The 68’s engine room is sized to take twin engines, and Nordhavn believes the loss in fuel economy is under 10%.
There’s a lot to be said for having two engines, each capable of moving the boat at 8+ knots (my guess…)
We are going with a chilled water system, rather than a conventional system. I’m no expert on these things, but my understanding is that now, instead of pumping warm or cold air through the boat, we will be pumping chilled or hot water through the boat. In each room there will be a blower that blows air over the water pipe, to cool the room.
We chose to go this route because on Sans Souci 1 we sometimes had a problem of the air conditioning system moving odors through the boat, particularly from the engine room.
The trade-off is size and cost. My understanding is that overall a chilled water system is better, but that it takes up more space (than a conventional system) in the engine room, and costs more.
We are going with a “hidden” passarelle.
In Europe, you park such that the boat is about 5 to 10 feet from the dock, and use a passarelle (gang plank) to reach the dock. Sans Souci II will have a remote controled passarelle that hides completely within the lazarette when not in use.
Nordhavn offers two types of main cabin, Asymmetrical and Symmetrical.
The Asymmetrical cabin gives more space to the main salon and galley. However, it has two “issues”:
- You lose flexibility as to side tying at the dock from either side. A starboard tie is forced on you
- The “Med Moor” where you must walk a line down both sides of the boat is made much more difficult
We prefer cooking with gas, but are going with an all-electric galley and barbecue.
- Propane is a fire hazard
- Without crew, I am the one stuck lugging the bottles all over town to get them refilled
- In foreign countries the adapters to fill the bottle are usually wrong
- In some foreign countries, you can’t get propane, no matter what you do. I wasted an entire day in Gibraltar (and Spain) trying to refill the damn bottle unsuccessfully.
Those of you who know me, and even those of you who are just meeting me, can guess that the Internet is a big deal in my life…
On Sans Souci, we had a Fleet 77 system. It DOES NOT provide high bandwidth internet, however we’re going with it again on Sans Souci II.
There are high-bandwidth solutions available, but we’re passing. The reason: they do not work worldwide, and require a larger dome than I want to install.
Here’s my thinking: Most marinas have wireless high-speed internet. Wireless is cheap and readily available. At sea, and on occasions when no high-speed is available, I make do with slow speed. This saves me a ton of money, but more importantly reduces complexity on the boat, and gives me a system that works world wide, without requiring a four foot dome.
Electrical We are installing an Atlas power management system. Theoretically, this will allow me to get 110v 60 cycle power from virtually any power source, anywhere in the world.
We’re installing THREE 6kw invertors. This is being done to minimize our need to think about power management. If we drain the batteries too fast, a generator will kick on, but at least we won’t constantly need to be thinking about turning off the washing machine so we can make coffee.
We have a large bow, and a large crane, but will most likely go with a small light tender (probably a 13′ hard bottom inflatable, like a Caribe).
On Sans Souci I, we started with a 15′ Boston Whaler, and got rid of it. An inflatable is lighter, and self-fenders. It is just Roberta and I on the boat, and we frequently found ourselves dropping the tender in rough sea conditions, or with inconsiderate boaters zooming by at just the wrong time.
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