By Jeff Merrill
As an ardent student of trawlers and gentle teacher to trawler buyers I find that the education of a trawler owner never stops. There is so much to know, so much to learn and so much to think about that the trawler lifestyle is like a wonderful fantasy classroom played out in magnificent boats traveling to far away places. I suppose that if we all went to school while underway during long crossings to distant shores we might have fonder memories of our school days…would have given a whole new meaning to playing hooky!
The Nordhavn 62 Lone Wolf is poised to cross the Pacific, a 2,700 plus-mile open ocean passage that will take more than two weeks of continuous travelling and should not be attempted without first doing your homework! I can assure you that there has been quite a lot of studious preparation to get her to the starting point. Let me back up a bit to fill in the details.
Ned Lambton and I have been emailing back and forth for four years about his interest in a Nordhavn with his goal being to cross oceans. His original fascination was with the Nordhavn 47 and later in 2006 he almost bought a Nordhavn 46 through me…but things changed in his life and he was unable to move forward at that time. We kept in touch and I wondered if his dream might have been dashed until an email he sent in 2008 let me know the spark was back and this time he was after a Nordhavn 62. His research led him to Nordhavn 62, Lone Wolf – hull 31, a dry stack, wide body, stern bustle, three stateroom beautifully loaded boat located in Anacortes, WA. In short order I flew up for the sea trial and survey and in a matter of weeks Ned was thrilled to finally own his Nordhavn. It is always a treat to meet in person for the first time someone whom you have emailed and talked to…Ned’s British sense of humor, charm, wit and eloquent phrasings of the King’s English were enough to win me over, but when we discovered our shared love of twangy alternative country rock music, well, birds of a feather… During the purchase process we spent a lot of time together (eating sushi in Anacortes is a highlight) and I learned of Ned’s big plans of cruising up to Alaska first and then crossing the Pacific to cruise the South Sea Islands…and with a Nordhavn 62 he can go anywhere he wants.
Unfortunately health and business issues got in the way and no sooner was Ned the proud owner of Lone Wolf, he was putting her on the hard for what turned to be well over a year, but while she remained high and dry Ned added many upgrades and improvements. I’m sure that “tweaking” helped keep Ned connected and was a smart move on his part to keep the dream tangible. During this lay up a few modifications were initiated the most dramatic (in my opinion) was the addition of a FarSounder sonar.
Several Nordhavn owners have installed forward looking sonars and I’m still not sure they are worth the cost. Ned selected a sophisticated (and expensive) forward looking sonar unit, the FS-3DT from FarSounder. It has an easy to understand display, and can show submerged objects up to 1,500 feet in front of the boat. The transducer is mounted in the front of bulbous bow, like a Cyclopean head light. With Jeff Leishman’s blessing the installation was made…we had quite an email exchange about that one, too, as Ned was worried, for obvious reasons about the safety implications. For more on this go to http://www.farsounder.com/
My wife Pam joined me on a trip to Anacortes to visit with Ned during TrawlerFest in 2009 and we spend some time together with Ned and went over to see Lone Wolf. A 62 out of the water is an impressive sight to behold, but I always prefer to see a Nordhavn floating…
I wondered if Ned would ever get to live his dream and was happy that he had bought his perfect boat, but sad that his cruising dreams were put on hold. In the meantime Ned ordered one of our beautiful Nordhavn 62 scale models so that he could at least have a reminder close by when he was not on board.
A few weeks ago Lone Wolf pulled into Dana Point, had I been following Ned’s blog I would have known this, but I didn’t realize Ned had started a blog. They had a mostly trouble free five-day (124 hours) trip from Anacortes to Dana Point running 1,600 rpms and averaging just over 9.5 knots, a good practice leg for the upcoming “Jump”. Now you, too, can follow the adventures of Captain Ned – it should be quite fun. (Don’t believe that stuff about him being half God, but you can believe the rest!) http://thevoyageoflonewolf.blogspot.com/
Captain Oleg Korbyn had brought her down the coast from Washington and she was holed up in Dana Point for a brief spell to get a few items attended to. Oleg gave me a tour of my old friend Lone Wolf and showed me many of the upgrades and improvements that had been initiated since I last saw her.
Ned was going to finally get to live aboard and cross the Pacific, and in the company of several other Nordhavns who also were preparing for the Puddle Jump from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas.
I asked Ned to tell me about some of his improvements and in addition to the FarSounder Sonar here are the other two “biggies”:
A Wesmar auxiliary propulsion unit which allows the generator to be used as an emergency backup for the wing engine. This takes power from the generator via a power take off (PTO) and turns the main shaft with a hydraulic motor. It can be engaged from a switch at the helm. Lone Wolf can achieve 3-4 knots using this system.
A comprehensive lightning protection system, installed by Professor Ewen Thompson of Marine Lightning Protection, and featured on his website where you can click here for a diagram: I am fascinated by lightning and find the whole subject to be mysterious and unclear…so I hope Lone Wolf is never struck and that this system does its job!
Other items that have shaped up on Lone Wolf since I was last aboard include:
Additional cooling for the engine room, using ventilation pipes inside the dry stack compartment fed by an extra exhaust fan.
An SSB radio, with email capability.
Redid the PVC plumbing for the bilge pump system.
PSS dripless shaft seal by PYI for both the main and wing engines.
New main shaft of Aquamet 22 stainless steel. Original corroded due to under use.
Hand held windlass remote for ease in anchoring.
Fans added to prevent misting up of pilothouse windows.
Re-plumbed and overhauled the holding tank pipe system.
Bill Brodie, a well known Anacortes ‘old salt’ spent a lot of time in the engine room, and installed a wonderful “tool box” the likes of which I have not seen before – it holds tools, and is made of canvas and is secured to the transverse bulkheads outboard of the engine along the walkways using space that would otherwise have been wasted.
This list is not meant to be a “here’s what you should do” compilation, but is a glimpse into the mind of the captain readying his boat for a significant passage – someone who has read beyond the required texts and is doing extra homework. This approach is the best I know of. You look at every system, evaluate every detail, run the boat hard to find “surprises” in the hopes of surfacing them while you can easily address them (much easier along the US west coast than hundreds of miles from land in the middle of the Pacific!) and is all part of what a diligent captain does to minimize the chance of failure. Remember, Captain Ned is essentially preparing for a Final Exam, and the stakes are pretty high when you are trying to get a good grade in ocean crossing 101. The interesting thing about all of this is that, to me anyway, it really is easy to compare this to the requirements needed to study for an intense test in school…you do everything you can to get ready and then ultimately open the book and begin the test. Just like in school, you won’t know your grade until you’ve completed the test.
Knowing Ned I am certain that he has carefully cracked the books and combed through Lone Wolf to make her ready and I expect to see an A grade on his arrival papers! Anything can happen…and Ned has hired a capable crew to help tackle any eventualities that surface. This should be a fun voyage to follow, with Lone Wolf and three other Nordhavns crossing at roughly the same time: Nordhavn 46 Emily Grace, Nordhavn 64 Mystery Ship and Nordhavn 64 Oso Blanco. The Pacific Puddle Jump is an annual migration and is tracked by our good friends at the San Francisco Bay based magazine Latitude 38. These four Nordhavn powerboats join a fleet comprised of almost exclusively sailboats. Good luck to all of you and may you have a safe and smooth voyage.
(Ed. note: To read more about the other Nordhavns participating in the Pacific Puddle Jump, click here.)
Ned wrote in his blog about planning and preparations and indicated that trying to write entertaining and informative details on the before-you-go side of things is difficult. However, with the sail across the Pacific ready to commence any day now we should get some interesting things to read and I loved his mentioning in an earlier post that he has a family motto and will close this article with that thought….”My family motto is ‘Le jour viendra’ (the day will come)”.