Some great weather photos

I just stumbled onto this blog of a Nordhavn 52 owner. His blog entry from Jan 2nd has some great pictures of rough weather cruising. I’ve tried taking pictures in rough seas, and the waves always look a tenth their actual size.

And.. on a different topic…

I received an email from David Sidbury, owner of the second N68, who has been cruising in the Bahamas. His fuel efficiency numbers are incredible. I have done some testing at lower RPMs, but have never had the patience to do any long distance cruising at lower speeds. Here he is talking about runing between 1275 and 1300 rpm, and averaging around 1 mile per gallon. I would be VERY happy with this fuel burn. My problem is that it means running around 8 knots, and I always seem to be in a hurry…


Just rolled into Stuart in preparation for some warranty work and wanted to give you all some accurate numbers on what we got as far a speed/mileage.


Let me prerequisite this by saying that I think the mileage is low due to bucking the gulf stream during the first leg (374 miles) of our trip so I think actual mileage may or should be better.


Our total trip mileage for the week was 549 and our total fuel burn was 595 gallons as best as I can determine from the visual fuel guages and correlating them with the DDEC management center computer.


This includes approxiamtely 41 hours of 16 kw generator time and 30 hours of hydraulic alternator time. Both alternators were switched on but I can’t figure out how to tell how much each was actually used since this was load based. I ran the generator when we made water and ran AC and the alternators the balance of the rest of the time.


The total burn average includes the trip into Stuart where we had to run slow and were bumping bottom for 3-4 miles literally. John Hoffman was surprised we were able to make it in with the tide low and says typically there is 7.5-8 feet of total water to play with when the tide is up. To say that the water is thin in Stuart is an understatement. 

Per the numbers we burned 1.08 gallons per nautical mile at an average of 1275 rpm. The trip from Savannah was 375 miles with tons of gulf stream head current some 5-7 ft seas and for about 18 hours 7-9 foot seas and 2-3 knot head currents. The remaining 22-hrs and 174 miles from the back side of the Bahamas (Spanish Cay) to Stuart and finally American Marine were run in 1-2 foot seas except the 45 miles of gulf strean which were about 2-3 ft so almost no cruise factor. We ran constantly at 1300 rpm on that leg, except the last 2 hours coming into Stuart which was inside in a Manatee zone thus low rpm and speed.

Using the hydraulic alternators increased the engine load by nearly 25% but at 1300 rpm the minimum to run both engines with hydraulic alternators only yielded 56 % engine load.


Ambient tepps were running about 74 degrees with water temps of approximately 79 degrees and engine room air temp maxed out at 101. The 16 kw genmerator is located in the lazz and lazz temps never ran above 91.


On a slightly unusual note – typically we get several flying fish in the night on deck. This was our frst trip to get a flying fish on the PH exterior deck level above the portuguese bridge coaming elevation-


This is a full 21 feet above the water level. Maybe PAE should do a flying fish height survey????????

Best regards,


This afternoon I have a meeting on Sans Souci, with Jeff, to go through all the work we’re doing. The goal is to get all work complete, and the boat ready for some shakedown cruising as soon as March 1st. I’ve been thinking we had lots of time to prepare for the big trip, but suddenly our departure date is arriving FAST. There is a lot to do!

-Ken W

PS If you haven’t read it already, there’s a very cool comment on yesterday’s blog entry, from a Nordhavn owner who crossed the Atlantic with Eric and Kristi Grab, aboard Kosmos.

6 Responses

  1. Sam, thanks for the kind words on our blog. We go by Twin Bridges at least a couple of times a year and I completely agree with you. Its NEVER like it was that day we went through. I never seen 3 and 4 foot waves in the tiny Snohomish channel. And, with the wind whipping up so much water, when the really big gusts hit, it would actually inject a fine spray through seams in the side windows into the boat. We won’t miss that aspect of our current boat although it has treated us incredibly well over the 4,000 hours we used it.

    Because we can only get limited time off work, our cruising grounds won’t change. But, we’re hardly complaining. We feel lucky to live in one of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the world. For the early years, the Nordhavn will bring is flexibility, freedom and safety. Freedom from having to provision the boat so frequently — the current boat has very small water, diesel, gas, and freezer space. Safety in that nobody wants to find bad weather but it can happen and the blog post is a perfect example — 57 kt winds were not forcast. The safety of a more robust boat will be nice. Flexibility in that the boat can go anywhere whereas with the current boat, we’re fuel bound and some trips just don’t work.

    We fully expect our Nordhavn to last for decades so, when we eventually retire and get more time, our cruising grounds will range much further afield. The thought of where we can go being bounded by our interest, moderated by weather, but not limited by the boat is very exciting.

    Ken, I couldn’t agree more. A larger, heavier, and much stronger boat would make a trip like the one under discussion through the Snohomish channel much more comfortable.

    The weather program is software I wrote a few years ago. Like all software projects, it started small and then kept growing. It started when I had yet another failure of a NMEA multiplexer so I wrote my own that takes many NMEA 0183 inputs and puts all out on a single channel. It worked well but I then added the ability to store all data into a database. Every few seconds we log boat position, speed, depth, direction, wind speed, barometer, temperature etc. Believe it or not, we have second by second tracking of everywhere we have been for years back. It’s great to be able to look back and say how deep was that channel or how much wind did we get on the south end of the island. I then wrote another program that reads the database and produces trip reports like these that I use in my ships log:
    • Trip Duration:04:21:04
    • Average Speed:7.5 kts
    • Maximum Speed:8.6 kts
    • Average Depth:167.4 ft
    • Minimum Depth:4.3 ft
    • Maximum Depth:352.7 ft
    • Average Wind:9.5 kts
    • Maximum Wind:26.0 kts
    • Rainfall during Trip:0.01
    • Track Distance:31.8 nm
    • Point-to-Point:29.0 nm

    Then I wrote the weather display program that you saw on the blog. Same approach, it reads from the database in real time and displays current data and historical trends.

    James Hamilton

  2. Thanks for the clarification James. I’ve read your site for quite some time and always find it interesting. I don’t think there is a better done website or blog concerning cruising the PNW. I keep a boat at Twin Bridges Marina for commuting to Decatur Island and go in and out of the Swinomish Channel quite frequently but have never seen conditions like that.

    Good luck with the new Nordhavn, it will be a huge step up from the 4087 you are in now. Will your cruising ground change with the new boat? Perhaps a blog post is in order with more details?


  3. James:

    WOW! I had no idea you were still waiting for delivery. Not to be derogatory to Bayliner … but, 50 knot winds in a Nordhavn is one thing, and those same winds in a Bayliner is a much different experience (OK, that was a little derogatory…). You will be very happy with the comparison when you take delivery of your N52.

    As I said before, you have a great blog, and I need to find out how you are producing the wind and barometer charts.

    Congratulations on the new boat!

    -Ken W

    PS I ordered your book. As I mentioned offline, I’ll be taking my first trip north this summer, and always worry about venturing into the unknown. I noticed the conversation on the Nordhavn message board about running the “outside” of Vancouver island as a way of avoiding the narrow channels and currents. When we meet (in February) I’ll explore this topic with you.

  4. Ken’s right and you both are as well. Ken’s right in that we have a Nordhavn 52 being built and both commenter’s are also right in that we currently sail a Bayliner 4087. I believe that N5263 will either be the fisrt or second 52 delivered by Nordhavn but there hasn’t been one yet.If we’re lucky, we’ll have it later this year.

    On taking 57 kt side winds in a narrow channel, I have to admit we won’t miss the fine mist of freshwater getting blown through seams in the windows under wind pressure in the new boat. Just one more year :-).


  5. Ken-I do think this is a Bayliner. The photo’s are interesting, particularly coming out of La Conner heading south. You remember that section, right? 🙂 I couldn’t imagine taking any boat through the narrow east/west channel in those conditions. Braver than me!

  6. Ken,

    I’m not positive but you may be mistaken. I’m sure in that weather they wish they were in a N52, but on their homepage i found this.

    “Dirona is a 2000 Bayliner 4087 moored in Seattle, WA. The name is derived from Dirona Albolineata, or the Alabaster Nudibranch, an invertebrate indigenous to the Puget Sound we often see when scuba diving. Margaux Marine Graphics created a wonderful picture of a Dirona on our flybridge (this was taken in the Broughtons in the winter with a light dusting of snow). We are Jennifer and James Hamilton.” (

    Am I mistaken


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