GSSR#8 – Roche Harbor to Nanaimo

Greetings all!

Total Distance: 5,276 nm
Run so far: 136 nm
Nautical Miles to go: 5,140 nm
Today’s goal: 35 nm – ???

Greetings all!

As I type this, we’re sitting in the marina at Nanaimo, with the wind blowing consistently at 15-20 knots. Over the past 15 minutes, it has been in the 20-26 knot range. My theory is that if the wind is that strong inside the marina, I really wouldn’t like it in open water. Our plan for today was to run the boat about 35 nautical miles north, to Lasqueti Island, and drop anchor. However, unless the wind dies down, we’ll relax for the day here in Nanaimo.

Note the flag in this picture…

Some of you may be thinking: “It’s a Nordhavn. Is 25 knots of wind really a problem?” The answer of course is “No. It really isn’t a problem. We could move safely if we wanted to” That said, it would be uncomfortable, and this trip is meant to be a fun one, so if the weather looks questionable, and we’re someplace with shopping, restaurants, and a cute little town, why hurry? We can spend the day just wandering around Nanaimo.

We still might go today. It’s 9am as I type this. I’m betting the wind is calm by noon. Our next leg is a short one, only 35 nm), so I can make the go/no-go decision as late as 1pm. Theoretically, I could make the decision even later, but going to anchor on an island we have never visited is something I would want to do with plenty of hours of daylight remaining. Who knows what surprises I’d hit? I’d need time to seek an alternate anchorage if my first choice doesn’t work.

The weather for our voyage yesterday, from Roche Harbor to Nanaimo, was as good as it gets. Calm seas and sunshine all the way. Many of you tracked us along the way, using our real-time tracking (

There were really only a couple bits of excitement worth commenting on.

About an hour into our run we found ourselves in an area noted for whirlpools! In the little chart snippet above, you can see the little circles on the water which indicate whirlpools. We were doing our best to avoid them, but they grabbed the boat, and rotated Sans Souci 20-30 degrees a couple of times.

Then, a bit later, we found ourselves in the middle of a sailing regatta. There were probably twenty sailboats, under sail, surrounding us. This had my full attention, as one of the basic “rules of the road” in boating is that a sailboat under sail always has the rightaway. Ordinarily, when there are targets on the radar, I can “mark” them, and the radar computes their speed and direction. This allows me to quickly see whether or not they are a potential problem. However, there were too many targets for this to be of use. The radar was just a useless jumble of dots, even on 1 mile range. Plus, sailboats are prone to frequent changes in direction as they tack back and forth to capture the wind.

Note: depending on your email programs limitations, you might see a video player below. If not, click this link to see the video:

Adding to the “fun”, I had a ferry coming at me from the south, that would be cutting in front of me, and a ferry from the north, that effectively cut me off from any turn to port. I can’t imagine what the ferry captain’s must have been thinking. Technically speaking, the sailboats have priority over the ferries. That said, there’s another unwritten rule of the road, called the “Rule of Greater Mass.” Small boats are more maneuverable than large boats. Even if a sailboat has the rightaway, the ferry is unlikely, or more accurately, unable, to move to avoid the sailboat. The ferry captain may do what he can, but the really large ferries do not have the maneuverability of smaller vessels. Generally, with freighters, cruise ships and large ferries, it is always best to assume they are moving faster than you think, and will not move to get out of your way.

Sorry for the lack of photos, but running the boat, and seeking a safe path through the clutter was priority #1.

Arrival in Nanaimo was simpler than expected. I had been warned against clearing customs in Nanaimo. According to the story I was told, Nanaimo is a training ground for new customs agents. Whereas the seasoned veterans can quickly see which boats are worth investigating fully and which aren’t, the rookies tend to give every boat the full procedure. I figured we had nothing to hide, so this wasn’t a big deal. Whether or not this rumor is true, I have no idea, but I can say that clearing in was exceptionally easy. I phoned Canada customs (1-888-CanPass).

Canadian customs asked a long list of questions; how long we would be in Canada, why we’re here, names of all passenger, birthdates, what alcohol I had on board, and whether I had any tobacco, fireams or commecial products. The only sticking point seemed to be Roberta. There must be a bad guy out there whose name is Roberta Williams! They wanted to verify her full name and when she had been in Canada before. Apparently I convinced them that she wasn’t a smuggler, because they welcomed us to the country over the phone. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. The only surprise was that they didn’t seem to want anyone’s passport number. I wonder why?

Tying to the dock was somewhat less fun. We had the worst of all circumstances. The wind was blowing fairly strongly away from the dock. Once at the dock, Roberta used the thrusters to keep us pinned against the dock, while I tied us down. We are traveling with just Roberta, myself and her parents. Her parents are wonderful people, and enthusiastic to help, but there are times when no help is better than some help. Sans Souci weighs over 200,000 pounds. Her dad, John, kept trying to pull the lines to help Sans Souci get to the dock. I was continuously explaining to him that with my 200,000 pounds competing in a tug of war with his 150 pounds, Sans Souci was likely to be the victor. My fear was that a sudden gust of wind might push us off the dock, and he’d try to counter it, and wind up swimming.

Adding to the complexity, I was at a dock with wood rails to tie to, instead of cleats. I’m positive there is a trick to tying to these that makes it easy, but I confess to not knowing it. Whenever I try, I get splinters from the wood, and it takes forever to work the slack out of the lines. I never did achieve a clean tie-down.

No sooner had we tied down than we were greeted at the dock by some Nanaimo locals who shouted “We read your blog. Welcome to Nanaimo!”. Thirty minutes earlier we had been passed by a Nordhavn, who said on the radio: “We read your blog. Welcome to Nanaimo!”. We are constantly astounded by how many people read my blog….

As I finish typing this blog entry, I notice the wind is now at 27 knots, and not showing any signs of dropping. It’s looking like we’ll have PLENTY of time to explore Nanaimo, and that’s a good thing!

Thank you, Ken Williams
Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci

PS Thank you everyone for all the emails yesterday! We were reading them while underway and getting a chuckle out of all the people following us. Here’s one email I thought I’d respond to here:

“[…]I have a few questions of your selection of boat and accessories. Did you investigate the ”Marlow Explorer” with Resin infused hull with claims of lighter weight and 3 times stronger and all the benefits of lighter weight. A 70’ boat with cat 1015 hp documented at 25 knots max to get into a harbor if needed and still the economy of hull speeds when appropriate. I have compared Marlow with the Grand Banks Aleutian 72 of more conventional construction and the Fleming. Have not compared the Nordhaven. Can you give me some comparison and reason for the selections you made. One of My lifeline AGM batteries in my motor home went south and dragged the other three into early retirement within a year. They claimed that the batteries were to be tested at the ambient temperature here in Florida of 80 degrees but use the battery capacity rating at zero degrees to determine if it was good. Even a dying horse with enough adrenaline can still wag his tail even if he can’t get up. I gave up on Lifeline and turned successfully to Master Volt. Do you ever get bored on the long runs? Do you take turns at the helm? Have you considered Solar Power to charge house batteries? Do you feel venerable with a 10 knot max. speed? Does your wife ever complain about being on board for lengthy periods. Your comments would be greatly appreciated….Bruce D “


Thank you for writing. You might want to consider ordering a copy of “Voyaging Under Power” by Robert Beebe. It’s the book that I read back when I was trying to understand this issue. I’m not a naval architect, so I only vaguely understand the issues, but here’s my understanding:

The world of power boats divides into three categories; planing, semi-displacement, and full-displacement. Most smaller boats and sport fishers are planing boats. When moving through the water, planing hulled boats ride on top of the water. Think of yourself on water-skis. It takes a ton of power to get you out of the water, and keep you on top of the water. At the other end of the spectrum are full-displacement boats, such as my own Sans Souci. There is a formula which correlates the length of a boat to the maximum speed at which it can efficiently move in the water, not ON the water. This magic maximum speed is called “Hull Speed.” It is the speed beneath which a boat can move through the water at very little horsepower. For instance, my boat can be moved at up to 10.6 knots with less horsepower than might be on an ordinary ski boat. 10.6 really is a wall though. To go 10.7 knots means adding a huge amount of horsepower. Thus, if you know the length of a full-displacement boat, such as a Nordhavn, you know it’s maximum realistic speed. Semi-displacement boats are boats which are designed to run efficiently by sitting fully in the water, as a full-displacement boat, but which have a hull design, and the horsepower, to be able to lift out of the water when so desired. This sounds too good to be true, and to some extent it is. The hull design of a semi-displacement boat isn’t as stable in rough seas, as that of a full-displacement boat. If you won’t be crossing oceans, then this probably isn’t a big deal, but if you expect to be in rough seas, you’ll quickly trade that extra speed for added safety. Also, I haven’t researched this, but I don’t know how a semi-displacement boat could have stabilizers. They would be sitting above the water when the boat is planing. A power boat without stabilizers would be very uncomfortable in rolling seas. I guess I would summarize by saying that any boat which claims speed greater than hull speed must have a planing or semi-displacement hull. In any scenario except full-displacement, you are talking lots of horsepower, and lots of fuel burn – plus, a hull shape that doesn’t lend itself to maximum safety in rough conditions.

As to your other questions: One dead battery in a bank of batteries will pull down the other batteries. I doubt that swapping brands makes a difference. As to us getting bored on long runs, that has never been a problem. For some reason, we are always busy on Sans Souci, and we have a lot to do. There are lots of entertainment options: our computers, the internet, a DVD jukebox with a couple thousand DVDs, etc. Plus, there is always maintenance of some sort to be done, and books to be read. I don’t like the major passages because it puts you in a position where you are at the mercy of the weather. On a 14 day passage, if the weather comes up 7 days in, you have no choice but to take whatever mother nature tosses your way. I’d personally rather have shorter runs with good weather windows. That’s one of the reasons we are going to Japan, in a way where our longest passage is only three days. As to our speed making us more vulnerable, that is certainly true. If I could move 25 knots, I could certainly get to port faster than at 10 knots. However, as I said before, the penalty with a planing or most semi-displacement hulls is seaworthiness, and over the years, I can’t identify any actual situations where getting to port a couple hours sooner would have made a difference. Lastly, you asked about whether my wife ever complains about being on board for protracted periods. That has never been an issue! I’m lucky enough to have a wife who loves boating. Your results may vary.

46 Responses

  1. Ron:

    I’m working on the blog now, and it is not going well. As I said to Bill Harrington earlier today, “How do I admit that we’ve had nothing but calm seas, zero mechanical issues, clear skies, warm weather, emptied a few wine bottles, barbecued our fair share of steaks, and make it sound interesting?” I’ll figure it out… blog coming later tonight or tomorrow.

    As to what we do next…

    The goal is Pruth Bay. I haven’t really done my trip planning yet, but I’m not looking forward to it. All advice appreciated! The forecast looks bad for tomorrow, so we are currently targeting Thursday morning EARLY.

    Back to writing…

    -Ken W

  2. Ken,
    The restaurants and bars in Port Hardy sure have interesting names! There is a RCN/Coast Guard base NW of you with the RCN ship Yellowknife stationed there – great name.

    Can you tell us your next likely stop? I think that’s been missing from the blog, although it’s great to follow you through SPOT.

  3. RJ:

    The hardtop wasn’t an option when I ordered the boat. It never even occured to me. My N62 didn’t have a fly bridge, so I never thought about running from “up top”. Plus, Roberta strongly dislikes being out in the sun or wind. She thinks it makes her hair messy.

    I didn’t honestly think I’d ever run the boat from the fly bridge, and put minimal electronics there.

    During construction, I saw the hardtop going on the second N68, and thought it looked awesome. I called Nordhavn, but it was too late for my boat.

    Now that I have the bimini, I’m not sure what I’d do if I had the decision to make over again. My guess is that I’d go with the hard top, but maybe not. The bimini works great. I put it up or down in minutes, and we have some friends who like the sun. It’s nice having the option.

    Also.. to be honest, I’ve still not learned to love driving the boat from the fly bridge. I feel too far from the action (all of the electronics in the pilot house. We think of the fly bridge as the “hot tub deck”. With the bimini down, you get a better view of the stars.

    There is no right answer. Both the hard top and the bimini have their pros and cons.

    -Ken W

  4. Ken,

    Really enjoy the blog and thank you for the effort of updating it, especially with the nerdy boat stuff. I have two questions for you about Sans Souci and you may have answered these early on and I missed it: Why did you decided against a hardtop on the fly bridge? We have two boats one with a canvas bimini and one with a hardtop. We really like the hardtop a lot more than the canvas for its stability underway. What were your reason for going with canvas? Second from the pictures I don’t see you running Sans Souci from the bridge or having many electronics much less a wheel up there. Do you ever run the boat from up there or is kind of habit from the 62′ to run the boat from the pilothouse?


  5. Hi Ken,

    Enjoyed the latest video, especially the look into Simon! That was cool!

    Smooth Seas and fair winds on your journey!

    – John S.

  6. Just to let you know you are being watched as far away as the little kingdom of Swaziland in Southern Africa. Have a very safe journey.


  7. After seeing the results of a Nordhavn attacking a ship, I would not think that they need to be stronger! I would not suggest that Nordhavn needs to be stronger and clearly understand the purpose of using resin infusion for the flying bridge overhead, but I’ve always viewed resin infusion or the Scrimp process as a way of guarantying the uniform distribution of resin without voids. In addition, it saves money on resin.

    However, that would make the boat lighter and require more ballast or more layers of fiberglass! Haven’t heard of anyone complain about voids in the layup of their Nordhavn so the discussion becomes academic except in the case of the superstructure where it would become lighter and could reduce the requirement for ballast or increase stability. This would be like producing a steel boat with an aluminum superstructure – which is done all the time to include some Navy and Coast Guard ships.

    Since all this would require reengineering, it would best be left for the construction of a new model.


  8. Hi Ken (and Roberta),
    Great that you are on your way and that the GSSR has commenced! I will be vicariously riding with you and wish you fair winds and following seas. Thank you for your hard work and the great example that you set for others. You will be an inspiration to thousands of people around the world who will be watching.
    Your answer to Bruce D regarding the theory of hull weight and displacement boat performance was right on. I might add that we will probably never use resin infusion on a Nordhavn hull. It is a little pointless on a displacement boat where we actually add weight in the form of ballast (at least 11,000 lbs on your boat) and carry large amounts of fuel (3,100 gallons which equals over 22,000 lbs on your boat). I doubt that a Marlow Explorer is “3 times stronger”- and I might ask “3 times stronger than what?” A Nordhavn hull is brutally strong and that is achieved by using a conventional hand laid hull lamination process and then adding an interior grid of foam stringers with heavy lamination over them. I will send you a photo of a typical stringer grid system on your regular e-mail address. Nordhavn does use resin infusion/vacuum bagging on some of the parts such as the flybridge overhead, but this is more for the purpose of reducing weight aloft rather than trying to reduce the overall weight of the boat.
    Back to the sentiment of paragraph 1… have fun!

    Best Regards,


  9. Ron:

    We are definitely at the end of a Cul-De-Sac. It’s wonderful here. I don’t know how warm it is, but it is 0.9 knot winds (meaning no wind), and hot! Tough to believe it gets better than this!

    -Ken W

  10. 6pm….Looks like Sana Souci is anchored up in an inlet on Cracoft Island..via the Spot

    Looking at AIS there are some targets showing in that same area, one at Alert Bay to the west, one headed Ken’s direction on the south side of Gilford Island, and several at Port Hardy

    But nothing showing for Sana Souci…

  11. Donnie: Check out this picture on today’s blog, and you’ll see: (

    Note that the lower railings around the back of the pilot house are close together. They are only about 6″ apart from each other. This boxes shelby in. I suppose that if she really worked at it she could weasel her way between the bars — but, 30 feet off the water, I doubt she’ll try very hard.

    My only fear has been when the seas are rough. I worry she could go sliding and somehow poke between the rails (probably an irrational fear). When this occurs we just put her out in the cockpit, which is fully enclosed. We watch her though, because she could theoretically walk forward to the bow. The bow rails have the same low three tubes that you see in the picture behind the pilot house. It does seem to fence her in just fine. When it is rough seas, she doesn’t like going out at all. Typically she goes about 2 feet out the door, does what needs to be done, and claws at the door begging to come back in.

    -Ken W

  12. Ken, how did you customized the railings for Shelby’s safety? I don’t see anything obvious and would love to know more — this is a big deal for us.


  13. Donnie Pauling:

    I’m running now, so I can’t post a link, but we actually have a dog door on Sans Souci! We custom made the railings so that she can’t get tossed overboard in heavy seas. Shelby (our dog) has enough time at sea that she is used to using the deck on the boat. Roberta gets up each morning, and tosses “stuff” overboard, or puts it in the toilet, depending on where we are. She then washes the deck, although, there are plenty of mornings when I went on deck and forgot shelby had been there first. Yuck.

    Training Shelby was actually fairly simple. We had to create a yard, with grass for her. We used a kids pool for his, on the cockpit, complete with dirt and grass. Slowly, it was just dirt, then just the cockpit.

    -Ken W

  14. No time to do a blog update.. but, we’re actually through Seymour Narrows. We’re on the move. Use the live link from the blog above!

    -Ken W

  15. Having tied to many of the wooden rails in the Columbia River, one thing that should be considered is how much roll you get where your are moored. If it is significant, you should tie up so that there is less direct upward force on the rail. My 45 footer has pulled a rail loose because I tied that way. Tie more in a spring line manner and there is less force on the rail. Definately you should pass the line under the rail and back to your on board cleat but a piece of old rubber hose around the line where it passes under the rail will save wear and tear on the lines.

  16. Abyssinia has an interesting design. the machinery is in the bow giving more room below for living quarters. the tall object at the front is actually the exhaust stack. another boat design that looks much bigger than its true size, surprised to find Abyssinia is only 65′ long. jon

  17. Ken, here’s a link to a page on Jennifer and James Hamilton’s site that shows 30-40 knots of north wind against current in Johnston Strait. Certainly not ideal, but if they did it safely in a 40 foot Bayliner you shouldn’t have a bit of trouble in a 68 foot, 215,000 pound Nordhavn.


  18. Ken,

    Your boat in Johnston straight should be fine…I went up the straight in a 46 foot boat with no stabilzers. the trick is to get the West side of the straight.

    good luck


  19. David Evans:

    Sorry to be slow responding to your posting. Roberta has been the route planner, and I wanted her to do the research to figure where Kynoch Inlet is, and how far out of the way it is. It looks incredible in the photos. It’s a one or two day sidetrip for us, and time is tight, so I’m not sure if we’ll go there or not. A lot will depend on how much time we lose over the next week. The wind is predicted to be from the Northwest in Johnstone Strait, which is the worst possible direction. A friend said that with my boat we’d be fine, but I’m not as certain. I’ll decide when I get there. We might wind up hanging out at campbell river for a few days, to let the wind direction shift.

    Thank you! I’ll let you know what we decide.

    -Ken W


  21. Dreamsfloat Joe:

    I am on a supposedly unlimited vsat connection, although I suspect that if I tried uploading video the company would shut me down, and THAT would be a disaster.

    Thus, I’m uploading video only when at marinas with wifi connections.

    This most recent video was a bit of a pain. The local wifi in the marina couldn’t seem to handle the long upload. It took about 5 attempts before it went.

    My current thinking is to take lots of video, but only upload when at a marina with good wifi.

    Everyone has been very kind about my rotten videography. I do know how to shoot much better than what I’ve been uploading. However, when underway, it is hard to remember to grab the camera, or to take the time to do things right. Also, editing video can be time consuming. I figure it is better to just upload the raw footage than to agonize over it for days, and never get anything uploaded.

    -Ken W

  22. Tedgo:

    In a bizarre coincidence, Abyssinia moored next to me last night. Nice people, also headed for Alaska. (

    I watched to see how they tied their lines.

    Pretty obvious, when you think about it…

    They simply passed the rope one time under the rail, then back to the boat, where they tied it off to their own cleat. Whereas I fussed with the ropes for 20-30 minutes, they were done in a couple minutes. Lesson learned.

    That said, there are some other good ideas here.. I’ll do some experimenting. I’m sure I’ll see more of these wooden rails as we work our way north.

    Thank you,
    -Ken W

  23. Can’t say I have every tied a boat to a wooden dock rail. But in your situation I would use use a round turn and two half hitches on the dock and a cleat hitch on the boat. There is a website I use to help teach Boy Scouts ( ( ) their knotts. As to splinters I use gloves. It is better than letting the Scouts practice first aid on me digging out splinters.

  24. Ken, are you uploading your videos to You Tube via satellite from Sans Souci? If so, will you continue to do so on your journey?

    Great job. Thanks.

  25. Ken,

    I found the hook for those nasty wooden dockrails. Certainly not for full time mooring…but great to catch the dock while you set your lines. (

    As for the Hot Springs, I am 2000 miles from my boat and charts so I can’t look it up. They were certainly in BC and I think the name was Bishop.

    Best of luck


  26. Ken,
    Tying onto wooden rails at docks can be a pain. Most people make the mistake of trying to tie the dock to the boat rather than the boat to the dock. Said less cryptically, most people bring all the excess line to the dock and then try and feed it under the rail. Invariably, as they pull the line through, the line picks up splinters that are hard to remove from the line, until of course, they go into your hand. Working short-handed, there is a two stage process that I think works well. First there are hooks you can buy that will go over the rail.
    So step one, secure the boat to the dock buy placing the hooks over the rail and then taking the slack up on the boat. Then get yourself 4 loops of coated stainless wire and 4 high tensile carabineers. After you are secure with the hooks, you can pass one end of the loop though the rail at each attachment point and then secure the line to the wire loop. The carabineers are just to hold the loop together while you secure your line. I can’t think of one that will hold all 200k pounds San Souci. I have seen people do this with chain as well…but it can be noisy both in use and storage.

    good luck


  27. Hi Ken,

    I am loving to see/hear you and Roberta on Youtube. It makes a much more ‘colorful’ and fun reading 🙂

  28. Michael,

    There is also a Stuart Island in the San Juan archipelago. It’s a beautiful spot with lots of space for anchoring and good walks ashore. BTW, I too have seen the whirlpools near Stuart. But they certainly aren’t a problem if I’m in my Whaler that can go 50 knots…

    FWIW, I think Ken made a good call at Dodd in waiting for slack water. I went through last summer with the current running ~5 knots and it was no problem in the boat I was in, but a sailboat behind us looked like it had a wild ride (spun 90 degrees). And there were lots of small boats going through at speed which made navigation a little tricky. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in there in a 68 footer, with a strong current, and with other boats zooming through!

    Ken, it’s a little late, but if you have questions about the conditions out on the Strait of Georgia you can always take the dinghy (or the water taxi) that runs over to Newcastle Island. From the dock it is a short walk to an area that you can see the Strait. Last summer we came into Nanaimo and the wind was a steady 25 knots. In the evening it died down, we dinghied over to the park, looked at the smooth strait, and made an evening crossing in glassy seas. Good luck with the trip tomorrow, hopefully the weather will cooperate!


  29. Ken, good job with the video update. It makes the blog post that much better. Reading about your wait to enter the straights really illustrates a major difference in the running of a displacement hull vs. a planing one. I have never waited for such a thing! Did you speak with the tug about who would go first? Thanks for the blog and you and Roberta have my best wishes for a continued safe and fun run. Maybe when you get to Japan you can have some delicious Bluefin tuna caught here off N.J.!

  30. Hi Ken and Roberta:

    We have been reading your blog since you crossed the Atlantic. We really enjoy it. I don’t understand you saying that you came across whirlpools around Stuart Island. If you are in Nanaimo, you haven’t reached Stuart Island yet. Stuart Island has Dent rapids where the current runs 14 knots and where you will really see some monster whirlpools if you get there when the tide is running. If you are going to Campbell River you will miss Stuart Island entirely. There are some big whirlpools around Campbell River when the tide is running, but is a piece of cake if you time it right. The worst part of the trip up to Alaska is Johnstone Strait north of Campbell River. Watch out for strong North-west winds combined with an ebbing tide around Hardwicke Island but your boat will handle anything you are going to come across on the Inside Passage. Good Luck with the trip!!! I wish I was going with you.

  31. Capt. Williams. Under the Files Section of the Nordhavn Dreamers group I have attached a file on Pandemic Flu. This PPT was produced by the CDC in 2006 but is still valid. If you wish, please upload and pass to all on your list. This flu has a good chance of being jsut as bad as the early 20th century flu that killed millions world wide and the CDC is, frankly, scrambling to get a handle.


  32. Ken,
    I’ve been lurking on your blog for a long time … happy to see you’re finally underway on
    GSSR. You’re doing a great job with the blog entries, pics and vids.
    RE: your response to Bruce relative to hull design and stabilization … have you or did you consider the “new” gyroscopic stabilization systems? I understand they are in use on planing, displacement and semi-displacement hulls. Passage Maker magazine and Yachting have written about them – and similar technology is used on hovercraft.
    Not to run on with my post … but you probably have Nordhavn’s ear on this topic … and your researched topics are very thorough … what’s your take on gyroscopic stabilization?
    Thanks Ken.

  33. As to tying to the wood rail, the MV Abyssina had a dog bone shaped device, (or a hand dumb bell) where the ends are larger in diameter than the middle. The mooring line is looped under the rail and over the device. Tensioning is done on board. There was a picture on their web site but unfortunately the site is no longer available.

  34. Hi, I’ve lurked on your blog for a few months and just wanted to say that I’m really enjoying your blog now that you are underway. Especially enjoying the videos of the boat running. Good luck with the trip and I hope you can keep up the updates as you go.

  35. Ron “Trapper” Rogers.

    That is good for a laugh on this side of the pacific, probably the opposite for those aboard Sans Souci


    The notorious Roberta Williams, an internationally hunted member of an Australian criminal conspiracy, was captured today by alert Border Protection and Immigration agents as she attempted to “reenter” the United States here in Ketchikan. Thanks to their new networked computer system, these officers were alerted to the Interpol warrant for her arrest and return to Australia. Ms. Williams, noticing that the owner/skipper of the 68 foot yacht Sans Souci had the same last name as hers, hijacked the vessel in Canadian waters and proceeded to masquerade as Mr. Williams wife – who is missing at the time of this writing.

    Ms. Williams has continued to maintain her innocence and insists that she is in fact the captain’s wife. In a strange turn of events, Mr. Williams has hired an attorney for Ms. Williams prior to his departing for a nearby bar. Rumor has it that the vessel is headed to Japan via the Aleutians and Russia where Ms. Williams might have been better able to evade authorities. We will keep you informed as this case develops.

    Copyright May 9th, 2009 Ketchikan Moose Gazette

  37. Hi Ken & Roberta,
    We love the new blog look with more photographs and video,and enjoy seeing familar sights we haven’t seen in TOO long. Did you see the comment in GSSR#6 about Kynoch Inlet with 40 waterfalls? I would to see a panarama video of these waterfalls from the flying bridge of SAN SOUCI if it is on your itenerary.
    Don’t forget to try a sausage roll from the bakery in Nanaimo.
    David Evans

  38. Hi Ken,

    I hope all goes well with your journey & i will be monitoring all your blogs as usual. I had a bit of a laugh with customs double checking on Roberta, here in Australia the wife of a notorious underworld figure who is currently in lock down has the same name – Roberta Williams. So I guess the name would be on most Customs computers.

  39. Sam: Thanks for the link. The light winds in the center of the strait are hard to believe sitting here at the dock, where it is still 18 knots. We need to decide quick if we are going or not. Our current leaning is towards leaving pre-daylight tomorrow and trying to make it to Campbell River, with Lasquetti as a bailout in case the wind is back up.

    As to the “rules of the road”…

    Here’s a pointer to Colregs: (the coast guard regulations) (

    Section 18 is the section that talks about who has the rightaway in different situations. You’ll notice the words “commercial vessel” never appear. I don’t know why. In our entire captain’s class I don’t recall any rule that distinguished between commercial and non-commercial vessels, with the exception of fishing boats.

    Perhaps there is another set of rules I don’t know…

    -Ken W

  40. Ken,

    I’m relatively certain that the ferries had the right of way over the sailboats because they are commercial vessels. I’m also pretty sure that ferries have right of way over other commercial vessels, though I’m not sure.

    I know there is a ‘correct’ way to tie on to the wood rail, but am never on a big enough boat to really use it. (

    ~Sam m

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Credits     |     Video produced by: Rock Steady Media     |     Teletype photo: Arnold Reinhold     |     PDP-11 photo: Trammell Hudson