Quick Update

Not much to report. I swapped a few emails with Jeff, who is putting together the crew for the trip north from Costa Rica. Unless we hear differently by the end of the week, Jeff starts running the boat north just two weeks from now. Most deliveries are done with a two or three person crew. Because of the distance, I offered to pay for a five-person crew, and Jeff said he thought four would be the perfect number. I think he has the crew together now, but that behind the scenes it may have been tougher than it seemed. It’s a long commitment. I would imagine the run north will take anywhere from four to eight weeks, and rarely be a smooth ride. It will be a much different experience than the nice calm ride Roberta and I had running south.

And… on a different topic…

Roberta dragged me to the movies to see Mama Mia yesterday. The movie is set on a greek island, and is worth seeing just to see the waterfront scenes around greece. Within seconds of leaving the theater I told Roberta “I want to take the boat to Greece!” She said “You are. We’re going there the long way.” I insisted, as usual, that we should go directly to the best cruising grounds, and she reminded me (again) that we’re going to have lots of fun along the way, and that I should be patient.

And, on another topic…

We watched the first episode of Season 3 of the “Deadliest Catch” last night. We’ve been watching it to start preparing to cross the Bering Sea. Our trip will be in August and hopefully the seas will be infinitely calmer than what the fisherman are seeing. It has still been valuable, if only in helping to give us proper respect for the safety gear. For instance, I carry Survival Suits, but have never put one on. We carry two liferafts, but I’ve never actually deployed one. In last nights episode, a boat sank so fast that only one of the four crew could get into their survival suits, and they had trouble getting the liferaft to inflate. Three of the four crew didn’t make it. Before we head north I want to get the liferafts inspected, and witness the inspection if possible. I’d also like to see what is involved in inflating one (I know theoretically, but there’s nothing like real-world experience). I also have a suspicion that I need to lose a couple of pounds to fit my survival suit….

Overall.. I’d say there are four things I’ve learned from watching:

1) Take safety gear EVEN more seriously. Keep the gear high on the boat. Take practice drills seriously. (all things I’ve thought about before, but the show drives home the message)
2) The geography of the area. Until I watched the show, I hadn’t really related to where the Aleutians are, and where Dutch Harbor is.
3) The response time of the Coast Guard is amazing. In all of the accidents thus far in the show, the Coast Guard has been on scene in much less time than I would have thought possible. Very impressive.
4) Don’t go to the Bering Sea in winter! (This is another thing I already knew that was super-reinforced by the show)

Actually .. It has been reassuring to see what the seas look like in winter. I haven’t seen anything that I don’t think we could have handled. The fishing boats are in some ways less seaworthy than we are. As they stack tons of crab pots on their decks, and tons of crab in the hold, they are dramatically shifting their centers of gravity. Plus.. they have people constantly walking around outside close to the edge, while rolling. AND, at least in the show, they have a captain who runs the boat for 20+ hours without rest. I don’t think I’d want to try going out in the conditions they fish in, but given what I’ve seen, I’m relatively certain we’d be just fine. That said, video never really captures the sea. I’ve been in some outrageous seas, and looked at the pictures later and went “yawn…”.

3 Responses

  1. Ken,

    I enjoy reading your daily log on yachting even when you are not on the water as you often discuss systems, engineering and logistics as related to passagemaking.

    I appreciate what you are saying about the buoyancy of the bow in a head sea. Having the pilot house further aft certainly reduces the waves on the windows and also puts the pilot house closer to the center of motion.I read that this greatly reduces the fatigue. After writing the previous comment, I went into the brokerage section of the Nordhavn website and on Yachtworld to price a 62,and found myself going back several years to the lower prices. I need to know my limits and buy the “smallest” boat I can really afford to enjoy. I think that it is important to have a reasonably modern electrial system, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on the 62 and investigating the evolution of the model;i.e. has Nordhavn always used tinned wire and how long has the fellow who does the electical engineering for the current boats been on board with the company. I’ll continue to be interested in the 43/47,even as I now realize the form of the 62 is beginning to tug at my heart strings, for purely practical reasons of course.

    I’ll pick up on the fishing show in the Bering Sea.

    Thanks for your insight,


  2. David:

    I’ll ask Jeff to write often on his way north.. but, doubt he will. Whereas I tend to write too much, even when nothing has happened for months (such as now) — some people just aren’t writers. I’ll have a heck of a time getting Jeff to send daily logs.

    As to the bow on the 68: I am not a naval engineer — but, can definitely tell you that I am a fan of the aft pilothouse design. When we were running off of Nicaragua we were taking water over the pilothouse every 10 minutes or so. If the pilot house had been farther forward it would have been non-stop. There’s a lot to be said for the long bow of the 62 and the 68. You’ll notice when watching Deadliest Catch that 100% of the professional fishing vessels (working the Bering Sea) have long bows. Some of it is to have a large deck for working, but I also believe I’m not the only one who would prefer to have a long bow, to put more distance between the pilot house and the waves.

    Don’t let me discourage you from your dreams of a 43 or 47. Scott Strickland has done some amazing world cruising with his 47 (Strickly for Fun) and one of the smartest boaters I’ve ever met, Milt Baker, is currently cruising Europe on his 47. Also — it’s impossible not to be impressed by Kosmos, the 43 now circling the planet.

    Thank you for the kind words!
    -Ken W

  3. Hi Ken,
    I was aspiring to a Nordhavn 43/47, but the bow of your boat really does grow on one’s asthetic taste buds, particularly as she motors into a head sea. I have to agree, your vessel can take the most exteme off shore weather. Good luck to Jeff and his crew on the way North. Will he have the time to write any posts for your web? Hey now, that won’t work- Maybe you should go too…I’m stuck in the desert and I (I’m sure I speak for many of us) miss you on your boat writing your Log/blog entries…Bon Voyage and God’s Speed In Your Travels. Respectfully, David

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