[Kensblog] Our new boat is complete!!!

Greetings all:

This is just a quick blog entry to announce that the wait is finally over. After a long Covid-induced delay, our new boat is complete! Roberta and I will be cruising this summer.

[image_with_text image=”16028″ title=”Cygnus GB60-15″][/image_with_text]

Once the boat arrives in the United States it will be “commissioned.”

We have gone through the commissioning process a couple of times on our prior boats. There are usually fine details at the end of a boat-build process, which the factory doesn’t do, that are necessary to complete the boat. For instance, on our Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci, it took months after the boat arrived in the United States to install all of the boat’s electronics. Commissioning is a time of high-highs and low-lows because, after all the waiting, you can finally see and touch the boat, but the process of completing the boat stops you from being able to go cruising.

We shall see what happens, but as you can see in the pictures, Cygnus will be arriving in near-final condition. I may be overly optimistic, but there is very little that should need to be done for Cygnus to be ready for action. We need to install the shades and soft goods (bedspreads, pillows, rugs) but that’s about it. And, our timing is perfect. Cygnus should be arriving in the United States a couple of months prior to the cruising season starting. This gives us plenty of time to finish anything that needs done.

I asked the factory to snap a few pictures of the boat before loading it onto the freighter and these are what they sent. We could not be happier. The boat looks amazing!

[image_with_text title_tag=”h3″ image=”16055″ title=”Cygnus, on the left side of this picture”]Each of the boats you see here are on a cradle waiting to be lifted aboard a freighter for transport to various locations around the world.[/image_with_text]
[image_with_text title_tag=”h3″ image=”16054″ title=”Lifting the boat and cradle onto the freighter”]I’m never completely comfortable when our boat is transported via freighter. It only happens on rare occasions but things can go horribly wrong when loading or unloading these boats from a freighter.

For example, here’s a Nordhavn motorsailer that was dropped while being unloaded: https://oceanlines.biz/2009/07/vessel-assist-salvages-launch-accident-nordhavn-56-motorsailer/ 

Even when the freighter is underway, you aren’t 100% safe. Recently, a brand new Nordhavn 68 (the same model boat as our own Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci) was arriving brand-new from Taiwan when the freighter hit bad weather, causing extensive damage inside the boat:  http://www.mvtanglewood.com/2021/01/coming-together-to-deal-with-difficult.html

When bad things happen, the insurance companies usually pay for the damage. But, there is damage that money can’t solve. Manufacturing a boat is a long multi-year process. If a boat is lost during transport you can’t just run down to the dealership and pick up a new one. Multiple cruising seasons can be lost, and no amount of money will bring them back.[/image_with_text]

[image_with_text title_tag=”h3″ image=”16052″ title=”Cygnus on the freighter, strapped down and ready for the voyage”][/image_with_text]

There are a lot of miles between Malaysia and Seattle, with several stops along the way. We’ve been told to expect that the voyage will take a full month.

I don’t know all the details but am assuming that Grand Banks will send a team to fire up the boat when it is offloaded from the freighter. After a month on a freighter it will probably be a mess, but will look beautiful to us. Our current plan is to meet the boat when it arrives, and ride aboard the boat as it is transported from the freighter to the dock for commissioning.

As long-time readers of my blog may know, we’ve never been on a Grand Banks 60 while it is underway. We had never even been aboard a Grand Banks 60 when we ordered the boat! Our future cruising plans will be defined by how easy the boat is to maneuver, how comfort it is at anchor, how maintenance free the boat is, and how seaworthy it feels. Our expectation is that this will be a boat that will take us anywhere we want to go, and we’ve equipped it to take us comfortably virtually anywhere in the world. That said, there can be a difference between reading reviews of a boat, reading the manufacturer’s website, watching YouTube videos, and running the boat yourself. Our goal this summer, in additional to having fun, will be to put the boat through its paces and see how it performs.

Thus far, Grand Banks has exceeded all expectations. I have no doubt Cygnus will meet all of our goals and that we have many thousands of more successful cruising miles in front of us.

[image_with_text title_tag=”h3″ image=”16095″ title=”Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington”][/image_with_text]

Our cruising plans for this summer are unknown…

Until the Covid crisis closed the Canadian border our plans for this year had been to cruise the Canadian inside passage, and perhaps venture as far north as Alaska.

It is possible that the border with Canada will open at some point this summer. It is also possible that we’ll run the boat up to Alaska stopping only for fuel or anchoring at night as we traverse Canada. But, neither of these options is likely.

Realistically, we are likely to stay in Washington this summer. If the Canada border opens we will head north, but if it doesn’t we will not be suffering. There are more great anchorages in the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound than we can possibly exhaust in a single season. And, we are looking forward to spending some time in our home marina, Roche Harbor, on San Juan Island, which still ranks as our favorite marina ever.

That’s it for this edition of the blog.

I hope all of you are staying healthy, and I’m excited that the covid numbers seem to be declining. Let’s hope that by summer the world will be somewhat closer to normal.

Ken and Roberta Williams
and, our two pups, Toundra and Keely
Grand Banks 60, Cygnus

25 Responses

  1. Looks great! The Cygnus should be perfect for island hopping this summer. How’s commissioning going?

  2. Congrats to you, Roberta and the pups! Your vision for the boat looks like it has been fulfilled (not that I had any doubt). I tip of the hat to you and the NARCs, (Naval Architects) as she is sitting perfectly on her lines.


  3. Beautiful boat, Ken & Roberta.. I’m sure you’re anxious to start putting her through her paces. If Canada remains closed for the summer, as you’ve stated, there are countless locations in the San Juans and the South Sound to explore. We’ll look for your boat during our dinghy forays from the Henry Island outstation over to Roche.

  4. Congratulations Ken and Roberta…! Cruising…2.0 😉 Your GB looks beautiful…we can’t wait to see you all on the East coast. Best of Luck and ENJOY from your old cruising pals, Tina & Braun

  5. Hi Roberta and Ken,

    Congratulations on such a splendid accomplishment. Building a new boat is not for the faint of heart, and the two of you have knocked this one out of the park. She is absolutely stunning. Inside and out, she just screams quality. And the color- well, it is
    S P E C T A C U L A R.

    Cindy, my bride of 48 years, and I have been cruising the east coast for many years, and we are looking forward to sharing some of our favorite anchorages with you. As readers of all of your blog posts, we have an idea of they types of special places you might enjoy.

    Enjoy every moment aboard! And please keep writing as we, along with many, many others, revel in your stories. Keep each other and the pups safe!


    Don and Cindy

  6. Congrats Ken and Roberta!!!!
    Laurie and I look forward to hearing about your travels. We are headed to your old stomping grounds this summer….Montenegro and Croatia
    Alec & Laurie and Jack
    Currently in Ragusa Sicily

    1. I am SO jealous!!! I just told Roberta last night that I want to take our new boat back to Croatia sometime in the next five years. You will love it (other than the wind…)

  7. Congratulations, she is a beauty. Please start your cruising asap so that we can read your blogs.!!! You seem to have got a winner. Well done.

  8. Congratulations. Many of us who enjoy reading your cruising blogs go back a long time.
    Graham & Linda Pugh – Abbey & Chloe

  9. Congratulations.. I’ve been reading your blogs from the beginning and can’t wait to keep reading about San Souci.

  10. Hey there, Ken! I’ve been following kensblog since San Souci was in early production (long time Nordhavn dreamer) and have to say that I’m in the group of your followers that definitely loves all of the technical and logistical details. I like the travel log stuff too, but as a systems guys and future captain, the tech and logistics stuff that you, PeterH, the Hamiltons (and more) put out is truly instructive and food for the soul. For me at least.

    Having said that, I just want to give you and Roberta huge props for Cygnus. Damn! You have both done a truly exceptional job in spec’ing this little ship. She is gorgeous to behold and the little, more obscure details clearly demonstrate your years of trial and error experience on SS. Well done.

    I hope the Canadian border opens for y’all, but as you said, if it doesn’t, you’re still in great waters in NW Washington and will have a fabulous time. If/when you get down around Dana Point environs we’d love to come say hello! Light winds and fair seas ahead to you both.

  11. Beautiful boat Ken and Roberta. Congratulations. You can still transit Canadian Waters to go to AK, just no “sightseeing” along the way,. We look forward to good stories and great photos. Thanks for the journey thru your decision and building process!

    1. Right. I researched that recently. Apparently it is ok to even anchor at night, and get fuel, as long as you don’t go ashore. Assuming we have the boat ready to go by the beginning of May and can start exploring immediately, there’s some chance we’ll be bored by July and want more challenge. If the Canadian border is still closed we’ll consider heading up to Alaska.

      My problem with Alaska is that I don’t really like cold weather. Alaska is beautiful but so are the San Juan Islands, and the weather is a lot better. Running a thousand miles just for the extra benefit of the wildlife seems somewhat unnecessary. Plus, the whole idea of having the boat on the west coast this season is to stay close to the mechanics while working out the kinks on a new boat.

      All of that said, I have many boating friends, and if one of them says, “Come on Ken. Let’s go to Alaska,” or if Roberta twists my arm — Alaska, here we come!

      PS We’ve also discussed the possibility of taking the boat out the Strait of Juan De Fuca and running south to Portland (via the Columbia River). It would give the boat a serious shakedown, and check an item off our book-length bucket list. I have no idea what we’ll really do. At this point we just want to be on the boat, anywhere. We’ve been off a boat far too long.

  12. Ken and Roberta

    You have designed a beautiful boat. I hope it exceeds your expectations and gives you all the love and attention you have given to it. It will be great to have your blog active again.

    Best to you both

  13. Ken she looks great and I like the colour too. I will be very interested to hear your views both positive and negative when you compare cruising in this boat with Sans Souci. Good luck with the commissioning

    1. I’m incredibly curious what we’ll think when we start cruising. Sans Souci is a tough act to follow.

      My prediction:

      – We will hate having to take on fuel several times a season. Sans Souci spoiled us. I typically fueled it once at the start of the season and then would never need to fuel it again until the start of the next season’s cruising.
      – Filling the hot tub will be a pain. The diesel furnace on Sans Souci gave us an infinite supply of hot water
      – I’m not going to like having the smaller vsat dome. The one we installed on Cygnus doesn’t have the same range and speed of the larger vsat (which wouldn’t fit on this boat)
      – We’re going to miss the heavy weight and seaworthiness of Sans Souci. It was an amazing boat! Nordhavn boats are incredible.

      On the other hand:

      – We are going to love having the speed available when we want it
      – We have no plans to cross oceans. I’m perfectly happy to load the boat on a freighter when we want it in Europe. We already have our ocean-crossing merit badge. I don’t need more than one.
      – I’m guessing we’ll infinitely prefer the Seakeeper to active stabilizers.
      – Sans Souci was a huge, heavy, boat with a lot of “windage”. Putting it into a slip when there was any wind or current was not easy. Med mooring it with just Roberta and I was virtually impossible (even though we did it!) Maneuvering this boat will be a dream come true.

      Overall … A boat should be matched to its mission. Roberta and I will still do wild and crazy cruising and go to off-the-grid places. But, it won’t be quite as crazy as what we did before (like crossing the Bering Sea). For what we have in mind this will be the right boat.

      Or .. so I hope!

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