The Calm Before The Storm

Sans Souci is at Nordhavn this week getting some much needed warranty repairs. Jeff, the delivery skipper is back in Seattle “visiting” his family before returning to the boat for the run back north.

When I spoke to Jeff today, he had a good comment: “You know Ken, Nordhavn has a lot to do, but I feel pretty good about things. Their list is essentially the same list we had a year ago.” Jeff’s right. We rushed the boat through commissioning, because I wanted to be able to do some cruising last summer. We discovered quickly we had a few issues, and 12,000 miles later, we haven’t added much of anything to the list. The problems we have had have been annoying, but for being the first boat of a major new model, the list is amazingly short.

We have only one problem that really relates to “seaworthiness” which is a leak somewhere on the bow. When taking heavy seas over the bow, salt water gets into the boat. The bilge pumps quickly shoot it back overboard, so it isn’t a huge issue, but it certainly needs fixed. My guess is that when they installed the chocks some of the bolt-holes are leaking, although there are also indications that it may be coming through one of the deck drains.
Our other two issues are well known to readers of my blog. The air conditioning failed immediately on delivery of the boat, and through constant babying, I’ve kept it going, but only barely. It draws extreme amounts of current, when it works, and oft-times triggers problems elsewhere in the boat’s electrical system. Our other problem is with the fresh water system on the boat. It sometimes loses pressure. All we need to do to get it going again is to reset the breaker, but losing the fresh water half way through a shower can be no-fun.

All of these issues have been easily gotten around, or we would have had them fixed long ago. Nordhavn, and Cruisair, have each encouraged us to sit still and let them fix the boat, but sitting still has never been my strongest skill.

So.. the boat is in for warranty work, but it really isn’t a big deal.

The big deal, is my impatience to see the boat, and the need to get the boat north before winter kicks into high gear.

Our weather router, “Weather Bob,” had this to say about Jeff’s trip north:

 Sat/25: Veering SW-WSW to WNW 05-10kts at the outset. Become WNW-NW 10-15kts nearing the Pt. Conception area later in the day. Waves 2-3ft. Swells WNW-NW 2-4ft, long period.

Sun/26: NW-NNW 10-15kts, waves 2-4ft. Swells NW-NNW 4-6ft.

Mon/27: WNW-NNW 08-15kts, waves 2-4ft. Swells NW-NNW 4-6ft. Winds may begin to freshen/veer NNW-N to NNE 15-25kt with waves 4-5ft and NNW-N 5-7ft swells toward late Mon/aftn-eve.

Tue/28: Freshen northerly 25-30kt with intervals/gusts 35kts very possible during the day. Building waves 5-8ft, upto 9-10ft possible. Swells NW-N 6-9ft, upto 10ft.

Wed/29 (Oregon-Washington coast):NW-N 25-33kt, gusty 35-40kts. Waves/swells NW-N 8-14ft.

Thu/30 (Oregon-Washington coast): Slowly veering NNW-NE 25-30kt, gusty 35-40kts. Waves become fetch limited during the day closer ot the coast with the highest waves beyond 10nm from the coast and in the 4-6ft range. Beyond 10nm, waves of 6-8ft are likely beyond 10nm and could easily reach 8-12ft beyond 30nm from the coast.


You’ll notice that the weather mid next week looks fairly ugly. 35-40 knots of wind is well within the range of what a Nordhavn is designed to take, but it’s certainly not fun. And, as we get deeper into winter, it will be worse much of the time. The best is to get the boat north, as soon as it is safe. Jeff has asked Weather Bob to let us know as soon as it is safe to go. The current momentum is to start north Sunday, despite the weather report. A NE wind should not be that bad if Jeff runs tight to shore. I made this same run last year, in similar conditions, and by running tight to shore, it really wasn’t that bad.


A couple of other topics before I go…


Thank you to the person who recommended that I use Google Earth to review photos of the Aleutians and Siberia. I use Google Earth all of the time and should have thought of that! I have now run virtually every mile of coast line using google earth, and learned a great deal. How did we ever get along in the old days??? On our run to Costa Rica Roberta put together a thick book with all the sat photos from Google Earth, which was a great reference for us.


-Ken W


PS I’m sad to report that another fishing vessel has sunk in the Aleutians:



2 Responses

  1. Don: I don’t understand your comment on doing due diligence. Can you be a bit more explicit? I’m assuming you are saying “Beware of anyone offering assistance.” I’ve heard a lot of third-hand stories of boat’s being offered a tug escort to the dock (in Russia) only to discover they now owe a $1,200 / hour fee for “services” that must be paid immediately in cash, or you get arrested. Is this the kind of incident you are referring to? I am definitely worried about this, but not sure what I can do. My hope is that the agent we are speaking with is honest and can help get us in and out of the country without getting fleeced (too bad).

    I just finished a meeting with Jeff, my delivery skipper, where we were going over his receipts for bringing the boat north through central america. He had a reasonably large amount for “tips” and was worried that I’d give him a hard time about it. He said that in many cases tips are not optional, which having traveled in the region I can certainly agree with. He actually did a great job of keeping the amount down, and it wasn’t an issue. But, I do think that in some of these countries, when they see a fancy yacht coming, greed becomes a major factor, and honor becomes a negotiable virtue.

    -Ken W

    PS The book Time Bandit was great! I was really depressed when I turned the last page. I’m surprised the tv show let them put the book out…

  2. As the author of the book, Time Bandit said, “It’s not the ocean we fear we’re terrified of the water!!” (sorry I cannot recall the exact phrase, but the meaning comes through)

    Capt.Ken: I wish you good crusising through Russian Waters. Not to put a damper on things, but really do your due diligence on any assistance you wish to take/receive !!

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