All is going fine with the construction of our new boat. Surprises can still happen, but we’re on track to take delivery of the boat sometime before this coming summer.
Our cruising plans
We now know our cruising plans! Or, at least we think we do. Cruising plans are always subject to change But, our current plan is to take delivery of the boat next June in ALASKA and then mosey our way south down the inside passage. This will allow us to do our first summer of cruising in waters that are fairly known to us. Grand Banks assures me the new boat will be perfect on delivery, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. Boats are complex beasts and it usually takes a season or two for them to stabilize. At the end of the summer season we’ll load the boat on a freighter and ship it to the east coast. Grand Banks has a shipyard in Stuart Florida, and will be able to address anything that needs fixed. Then in Spring 2021, we’ll start cruising north along the east coast. Where we’ll go, or the route we’ll take, is 100% unknown. We have lots of time to figure that out.
Even though we are building a Grand Banks boat I still keep track of events at Nordhavn (manufacturers of our prior boat, Sans Souci).
Nordhavn recently held a film festival wherein owners submitted videos of their cruising adventures. All of the videos were incredible. It is impossible to watch the videos and not wish you were on a boat.
Here is a link to the winning video, and it is well worth watching (preferably on as large a screen as you have):
We are getting much closer to resuming our adventure!
It won’t be much longer. We’re expecting the boat to be factory complete as soon as March of 2020; only three or four months from now. That said, factory complete is only the first of a few milestones. Once it is complete at the factory in Malaysia they need to ship it to the United States for commissioning. Finding a freighter and transporting the boat can easily take a month or two. Then, once the boat arrives there will be some final commissioning to be done. We’re trying to get the boat as complete as possible in Malaysia, but some things, like the drapes and bed coverings, won’t happen until the boat is in the US. My guess is that Roberta and I won’t be on the boat and cruising until mid June 2020.
I watch all of this with some amount of nervousness. Whereas the factory is concerned with being able to efficiently construct the boat, my focus is on, “How will I maintain the boat?” With the top deck off the boat placing the engines, the generator, the washer/dryer, even the mattresses, is easy. Whereas I’m looking at it thinking, “Someday the dryer is going to fail. How will I get a new one?”
I often remember an incident when we had our boat at the Nordhavn factory in Taiwan. I was concerned that the fresh water pump was located under the floorboard in the hallway where it was impossible for me to access. I explained the issue to one of the senior guys at the factory and he clearly wasn’t understanding the issue. He saw no problem in accessing the pump. I said, “OK. Let’s see you get in there for replacement. Show me.” He summoned one of his technicians and a little guy showed up who was no more than five feet tall and probably weighed less than a hundred pounds. He could easily crawl under the floor to access the pump. To make a long story short, I had them move the pump.
And, for those who have no fear of watching sausage be made, here are some construction photos
If you don’t understand what I am referring to above, remember that even the prettiest of butterflies started as a caterpillar. And, thus shall our new boat emerge from the photos below as the swan (Cygnus) that flies across the water it is destined to be.
Here you can see one of the many detailed diagrams they send showing their suggestion for equipment placement.
The engine room forward bulkhead layout
We upsized the bed in the Master Stateroom to a full King size. There won’t be much room to walk around the bed, but we figure, “How much time do we spend hanging out in the bedroom when not sleeping, anyhow?”
The hole in the center of the bed is for access to storage.
- The cockpit is actually much larger than it appears in this photo. There is an entire sitting area and table that is hidden from view by the camera angle
- In the transom there are two large holes. The one on the right in the picture is for an electric barbecue. We’ll have a true propane barbecue on the top deck, so the electric barbecue may never get used. We don’t know yet which we will prefer.
- The other hole in the transom is for storage. Good! We need all the storage we can get!
- Looking to the forward port corner of the cockpit there is a counter protruding. We think this will be a popular place to hang out. The window there is much larger than it appears and fully comes down (like a car window) just by pressing a button. There will be two barstools beneath the counter. I’m lusting for the day when I’ll be sitting on one of those barstools sipping an adult beverage while watching Roberta in the galley making dinner. Because of our aft galley arrangement the galley is immediately on the other side of the counter
- In the lower right side of this picture (the aft starboard side of the cockpit) you see an access hatch with plywood below it. Normally that would be storage, but on our boat it is where the passarelle (automated gangplank) resides. There actually is some good storage under there but to access it will require crawling through a small opening inside the lazarette
In the background, the gentleman in the blue shirt is standing where there will soon be our washer and dryer. Or, maybe they are already in place, and just not visible in this picture. I would assume they were placed when the top deck was still off the boat.
When I was speaking with another GB60 owner I mentioned that we normally tow the tender behind the boat all season. This saves us the headache of raising and lowering the tender as we move from anchorage to anchorage. He pointed out two things to me:
- It is easy to raise and lower the tender on this boat
- The GB60 is much faster than our prior boat and towing the tender at 25+ knots is totally impractical
Early in the process I decided not to install a diesel furnace. We were spoiled on our prior boat (Sans Souci) in that we had an infinite supply of hot water from the diesel furnace. Heating the hot tub on this boat will need to be done using electricity. We are upsizing the standard 120v 1kw electric heater to be 240v and 4kw.
Our two boats are very different than any GB60s that have been built before. All of the GB60 boats (that I am aware of) have been purchased by owners with extensive cruising resumes, but they have been purchased primarily for reasonably short-range cruising or day trips. Roberta and I are different, as are the owners of GB60-14. We live on the boat for months at a time. This changes dramatically how the boat is designed and equipped. Our goal is a “portable home” which can survive for weeks or months without entering a marina except to take on fuel. Both GB60-14 and GB60-15 are set up for world cruising, meaning that we are preparing the boats to accept both US and European power. Both boats are also the first with the tilting mast which will allow us to keep the boat low enough to go under bridges when river cruising, and with passarelles so that we can get to shore when Med Moored in Europe.
If you would like to give feedback, the best way is to go to: www.kensblog.com and click on the blog, then find this entry and look for the button that says “Post Comments” at the bottom of the blog entry.
Ken and Roberta Williams (and, Toundra and Keeley)
Grand Banks GB60-15, Cygnus