[KensBlog] Boatless in Seattle

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 sent our 18 year old sons off to college.

Sans Souci was purchased by another Nordhavn owner who is moving up to a larger boat. I have heard that Sans Souci will get a new name and am thrilled that she is going to an experienced owner. I have no clue what lies ahead for Sans Souci but am confident that she will transport the new owners anywhere they want to go, comfortably and safely.

The three GSSR boats
When I informed Steven Argosy (owner/captain of Seabird, one of the three boats on our GSSR rally) that Sans Souci had been sold, he said something that caught me by surprise.

“Isn’t it strange that all three of our GSSR boats sold in the same year?” -Steven Argosy
It is indeed quite strange, and probably not a coincidence.

There was something magical that can never be repeated about our GSSR trip from Seattle to Japan and the journeys that followed. I can’t speak for the owners of the other two boats, but suspect they agree. When we left Seattle in May of 2009 we were literally heading into the unknown. None of us knew what we might find or how the journey would end. We knew we were heading to Japan via the Bering Sea, but weren’t sure what we’d find along the way. And, we didn’t know what we’d do after we arrived. It was a one-way plunge into the unknown.

The GSSR group in Mallorca in 2015, six years and many thousands of miles after we left Seattle. L to R: Roberta Williams, Braun Jones, Steven Argosy, Ken Williams, Tina Jones, Carol Argosy
Six years after we left Seattle our group reunited in Mallorca Spain. Along the way we had unforgettable experiences. In 2016 all three boats returned home; Seabird and Ocean Pearl to the east coast of the United States (Note: Grey Pearl burned in Thailand and was replaced by Ocean Pearl), and Sans Souci to Seattle.

We discussed where to cruise next and floated ideas like South America, but life interceded. Braun Jones (Ocean Pearl) hit some health issues. Roberta and I found ourselves busy assisting Roberta’s mom in a major relocation, selling our home in Mexico, and building a home in California. We found some time to cruise but not nearly as much as we’ve wanted. Steven and Carol (Seabird) did some regional cruising in the northeast.

Ultimately, I think each of us asked ourselves, “Are we likely to do another major trip?” And, the answer was “No”, or at least, “Not in the immediate future”.

Our boats, Nordhavns, are rugged beasts meant to be lived on for months at a time and to travel great distances in all kinds of conditions. If that’s what you are doing, there is no finer production powerboat sold.

In Roberta’s and my case, we decided that near-term we want to focus on places that weren’t practical with our Nordhavn. They say that cruising plans are best written in the sand at low tide, and that is true. As I sit here typing this, I have only a vague idea where we’ll cruise next (up the ICW from Florida to the Northeast, and then the Great Loop), but would it surprise me if that plan changes between now and next spring when we take delivery of our new boat? Not at all.

When I get some free time I’ll send another blog entry talking about how we’re equipping the new boat. Suffice it to say that we are trying to prepare for a wide variety of possible cruising plans. As we’ve spec’d the boat we’ve assumed that ocean crossing is NOT part of the plan, but that trips to the Caribbean, Europe and an eventual return to the Pacific NW are highly likely. The boat will accept 50hz (European) or 60hz (US) electricity. We’ll have a Seakeeper at-rest stabilization system to provide comfort in rough anchorages. We’ll have a tiltable mast, so that we can get under low bridges. We’re beefing up the ground tackle (anchor and chain) to prepare for insane winds at anchor. We are adding a crash plate at the bow to provide for the logs we’ll inevitably hit. And, yes we’re even adding a hot tub.

Grand Banks 60, Cygnus. This picture shows the domes and radar mounted to the roof, but that’s not what we will be doing. We will have a tilting mast which is still being designed
FYI: The new boat has a name! I came up with the name Sans Souci, so it was Roberta’s turn, and she came up with: Cygnus. I had never heard the word before but apparently is an ancient Greek word for “swan.” Roberta explained that Cygnus is a constellation which used to include the North Star, which was used by ancient mariners for navigation. In essence, Cygnus is the constellation of the swan in the night sky.

That’s it for this edition of the blog. And, as always, thank you for traveling along with us.

Ken and Roberta Williams (And, Keely and Toundra)
Cygnus, Grand Banks 60

2 Responses

  1. Hi Ken. I knew you would sell San Souci fast. Congratulations to both you and Roberta, and also to the new owner of the coolest Nordhavn on the water. In your latest post, you mention “We are adding a crash plate at the bow to provide for the logs we'll inevitably hit.”  I've recently moved my DeFever from Southern California to the northwest. It's in Anacortes now, but will be in Bellingham before too long. I too fear hitting a deadhead or log, especially when there's a little chop and the wood is difficult to see. How are you planning on doing your crash plate? Have you identified a vendor?  Anything you can pass along will be appreciated.


    —Reply posted by Ken Williams on 1/3/2019

    The crash plate is still a discussion point with Grand Banks and not worked out. They put it into my contract that we'd sort it out over the next few months.

    On my  Nordhavn 68 I had a vertical steel plate that was perhaps 3' tall and 1' wide molded to the surface. It had the tow-ring in it. If you look at any of the pictures of Sans Souci out of the water ( https://www.kensblog.com/uploads/155608/Construction_2007_01_25/100_1355.JPG ) you can see it.

    I had problems with the crash plate (I'm not sure of a better word for it) leaking on Sans Souci. Grand Banks is looking to see if they can think of some other options; perhaps some carbon fiber in that location. 

    It's a bigger issue on the GB60 than on my Nordhavn. Forces increase exponentially with speed. Hitting a log at 25kts would be much different than at 8kts. 

    PS Good to hear from you and welcome to the area!!! You are in for some awesome cruising. Logs are usually avoidable if you pay close attention, although there are some deadheads out there. The best defense is slow speed, running in daylight and extreme vigilance especially after storms. Generally, at 8 or 9 knots you hear a bang and the log is pushed out of the way, although on my N62 I managed to bend a prop, and on our powercat (27' Glacier Bay) I hit one hard enough to punch a hole in one of the pontoons. Not fun.

  2. I would be very interested to learn why you decided against the Felming. Nothing wrong with the Grand Banks, but we are strongly considering a Fleming (deciding between the 58 and 65) for a great loop/Caribbean cruiser. The Fleming seems to have quite a high build quality (similar to Nordhavn), but can still get up and go when you just want to get into port. One thing we didn’t like about the GB was the abeam master.

    —Reply posted by Ken Williams on 1/2/2019

    PS Robert – You might want to ask Grand Banks .. they are very open to changing their layouts. There is a GB60 on their website which has a HUGE master stateroom located in the bow. When we saw that layout we briefly asked ourselves if we should switch, but it compromises the size of the guest stateroom and we’re hoping to have other couples along from time to time as we cruise.

    Roberta and I had a lot of fun with the project. We used Powerpoint and a series of small images I screen-grabbed to piece together various layouts until we got something that was exactly what we wanted. GB was open to just about anything.

    —Reply posted by Ken Williams on 1/2/2019

    Greetings Robert! 

    We did seriously consider a Fleming. I have nothing but good things to say about Fleming and you can’t go wrong with either the 58 or 65. We particularly liked the 65.

    As to why we didn’t choose the Fleming … There were a few reasons:

    – We really liked the idea of a Seakeeper and I don’t think one has been done on a Fleming

    – The delivery times were too far out. Fleming was talking about a two to three year wait for a custom 58 and we didn’t want to take a stock boat

    – We thought about the 65 but the price was more than we wanted to spend and it was getting too close to the size and complexity of Sans Souci

    – The salesman wasn’t particularly pushy and seemed kind of laid back when I didn’t immediately say yes. On the positive side this meant they were having no trouble selling boats, but on the negative side it meant they were unlikely to work with me on all the customizing we’d want

    – The Flemings weren’t nearly as fast and the Fleming 58 didn’t have the range of the GB60

    – One major reason is that we ruled out Fleming early on when we decided we wanted the Palm Beach 55 and didn’t want a “trawler-looking” boat. Once we decided the PB55 wasn’t going to be big enough, and that we were going to need to buy something with a trawler look, we were already fully engaged with our Grand Banks salesman. We decided to take a second look at Fleming but when the Fleming salesman started talking about a 2-3 year wait and didn’t seem particularly motivated, we bailed on the discussion.

    All of that said, I did do a fair amount of research, including reading Tony Fleming’s blogs and asking my string of experts what they thought. There seems to be unanimous agreement that Fleming is well worth considering. 

    Ken W

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