Nordhavn 76 SPIRIT OF ULYSSES Rides Again!
Another adventure to share
Bolstered by intrepid owners, N76 Spirit of Ulysses puts a new journey under her keel
Nordhavn 76 Spirit of Ulysses is crossing oceans once again, only this time it’s the Pacific Ocean and it’s going to be one heck of a trip. Following in the footsteps of SoU’s previous owner Mike Ridgway who in late 2021 took the boat from the Canary Islands to Barbados in 16 days, the boat’s new owner is upping the ante. Last week Kris Townend set off from Fort Lauderdale embarking on a massive journey to his home in Australia. An amazing trip indeed, Townend and his crew will take approximately two months to complete the journey, in near record time given the 9,900 nm they need to cover. It is, in fact, a delivery trip to get the boat to its new home port of Western Perth. Townend, an Aussie native, and his wife, Amy are parents to 5 children whose ages range from four to 16, and the whole family plans to relocate on to SoU and operate as liveaboards. The deadline to move out of the house is quickly approaching, hence the haste with getting the boat home. When Ridgway brought the boat across the Atlantic two years ago, the rush was to get the crew home in time for Christmas. Will SoU ever get to just explore in the leisurely fashion that most Nordhavns enjoy? Yes, says Townend emphatically. Once settled in, he and the family intend to explore all around Australia, especially around the Whitsunday Islands and The Kimberley, and then on to Asia.
For now SoU is on a non-stop course and will break only for fuel and other maintenance necessities as needed. After departing Florida on May 2, the crew pulled into Key West and are headed to Panama where Townend will jump off to catch a flight home and deal with some unexpected work issues. The rest of the crew are headed to The Galapagos Islands. From there they plan to stop at Samoa and Fiji before arriving in Brisbane. “It’s killing me to miss out,” Townend emailed from the boat, referring to both the opportunity to explore all the places they’ll pass by, as well as being aboard for the entirety of the delivery. But he’ll rejoin the crew when they reach Fiji.
Although he’s been boating for more than 20 years, it’s always been shorter distances – coastal cruising trips for as far as his planing boats would take him. This will – by far – be the longest trip Townend has ever taken. But he was never intimidated by the enormity of it and will be aided by a support team. Townend met Nikolay Alexandrov of SD Captains through the Nordhavn Dreamers group and hired him and his mates, Camo and Henri, to lead the charge, provide the necessary experience needed for a journey of this magnitude and get him acclimated enough to comfortably take over once the family loads on in July. The other key member of the crew is young Liam Townend, age 10, who’s already accumulated many nautical miles under his belt.
When Townend began his search for a Nordhavn, he had been aware of Spirit of Ulysses having watched Mike Ridgway’s videos. He doesn’t know if he was so much inspired by the original SoU journey as much as wanting to continue the legacy of the boat. In fact, he opted to keep the name so people would recognize her. “What I am hoping to do is keep the story alive of Spirit of Ulysses,” he said. “I believe she has so many more adventures that need to be shared.”
“A Spirited Journey” by Kris Townend
Boating enthusiasts, Kris and Amy, have shared a keen passion for boating since they married in 2011. Their love for boating started with a 21ft bow rider, which Kris predominantly used for water skiing. However, a year later, a horrific accident left their boat written off and a close friend badly injured, leaving them without a boat for over a year. During this time, Kris started a business in Non Destructive Testing. After a year without a boat, Kris’ lovely wife, Amy, secretly saved enough money to surprise him with a 35ft Maxum SRC. With two children, they spent many weekends at Rottnest Island, a small island off the coast of Western Australia, enjoying the faultless service from their Maxum. With another child on the way, it was time for an upgrade, and this is where they met Richard Glazer from Denison, forming a new relationship. In 2014, Kris and his family flew to the USA to meet with Richard, and he flew with him to Mexico, Playa del Carmen. There they purchased a 48ft Searay, which they shipped home, and over the following years, they had another three children and many exciting adventures on the Searay. During the purchase of the Searay, Kris mentioned to Richard that his ultimate dream was to own a Nordhavn. Despite many obstacles and challenges in his business, including people suing him, stealing from him, lying, and cheating, Kris never gave up on his dream. He continued to work hard, even when he didn’t feel like getting up for work, with the thought that one day, he would own a Nordhavn. Over the years, the bond between Kris and Richard grew, with monthly calls, often on a ridiculously early morning run to work. In 2019, Kris and his family went on a world cruise, planning to see how they could drive a boat through the Panama Canal. They boarded a cruise liner in Miami and traveled from Panama to LA, but when they got home, Covid had hit the world, and life for many went on pause, including theirs. However, in 2022, life started to move again, and the opportunity for a business sale came around. This time it was successful and completed in September 2022. Kris phoned Richard, and they arranged to look at Spirit of Ulysses, a Nordhavn yacht. Richard jokingly said that the two biggest red flags for a broker were someone who was going to sell their business to buy a boat and someone who was going to live aboard. Unfortunately for Richard, Kris had been telling him this for nearly seven years, and in January 2023, it was finally going to happen. They reached out to Nordhavn, and with Richard’s help, they negotiated the sale of a N76 Nordhavn in February 2023. Kris and Amy are now about to start a new journey on their dream boat, and they would like everyone reading to stay tuned for updates. The story of Kris and Amy is one of perseverance, hard work, and dedication to a dream. Despite setbacks, they never gave up, and now they are about to embark on a new adventure on their dream boat. The Nordhavn yacht is known for its seaworthiness, long-range capabilities, and luxurious accommodations, making it the perfect vessel for Kris and Amy’s next journey. As boating enthusiasts, we can all learn from their determination and commitment to their passion for boating, and Amy’s passion for boating has been a significant part of their life and relationship. They have been able to create countless memories with their family and friends while enjoying their time on the water. Kris’ love for boating has also helped him to overcome some of the challenges he faced in his business. He credits his ability to stay focused and motivated to the idea of one day owning a Nordhavn yacht. In addition to their love of boating, Kris and Amy are also dedicated to giving back to their community. They have volunteered with various organizations and charities over the years, including donating their boat for charity events. They believe in the importance of supporting local businesses and giving back to those in need. Kris and Amy’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance and dedication. Despite facing setbacks and obstacles along the way, they never lost sight of their dream of owning a Nordhavn yacht. They worked hard, stayed focused, and never gave up. Their story is an inspiration to all those who share their passion for boating and the sea
Date: Sunday, May 28, 2023
Location: west of Baltra Island, Galapagos
Report by: Capt. Nikolay
Arrived at Baltra Island, Galapagos.
We were asked to arrive at 7am, not earlier and not later, and anchor near the fuel dock. It would be one very eventful day.
As we were lowering our anchor down, a bunch of charter boats anchored around us.
At 8 am our agent came with 7 /seven/ officials and 1 electrician. We needed to pass inspection before were allowed to fuel up, the electrician would try to fix our 33 kw generator.
- Inspection. “Interesting” procedure. Besides the normal boat check. Not one of the 7 officials checked the bilges, original vessel documents, safety gear… but they found a dead fly! The fly was put in a small plastic container and was visually inspected. The kind of dead fly we had was OK to have on board, all good!
Well, not really- the military guy /responsible for our “safety”/ asked for the captain’s license of the master and the AB seaman papers for the crew.
-Sir, here is my license, but it is a pleasure craft, not commercial one, we don’t need to have any certificates for the crew.
-Yes, you do!
-Sir, pleasure craft, private own vessel, tourism…
-See /points around at the charter boats/, they are all having tourists on board, and the crew must be certified!
-Sir, they are charter boats, commercial…!
… Phone calls, digging in some books…
-OK, I need to see your fuel log book!
– Here is the log book sir! Fuel quantities are written in there.
-Noooo, the specific log book for the fuel!
-We don’t have such a book sir.
– Ok, I need to see receipts for the fuel you have purchased at the last several ports!
– Sir, the owner of the vessel was on board when we departed from Florida /no one ever asked me for any letter of authorization from the owner authorizing me to operate the boat/, he paid for the fuel, I don’t have the receipt.
-You have to have it!
/here we go again!/
… Then we had a conversation about our fuel ABL fuel bladders /certified specifically for fuel/. Apparently I needed special permission from someone in order to use them!
In the mean time we had a diver under the boat checking how clean the bottom is /after we provided diving certificate from Panama with underwater pictures included- cost $650.00/, 3 people digging around the boat and an electrician in the engine room fixing the generator.
I am signing about 10 different documents, everything seems OK.
We passed the inspection /dead fly or not, we did it!/, and generator received new regulator /#3 for the last 2 weeks/ -generator began working. All good! Except during testing the generator, several control boards on AC units got their diodes blown!
The 2 pangas /divers and the one with the 7 officials/ left, electrician stays on board.
Now we have to maneuver to the fuel dock and start fueling up. Electrician is “fixing” the AC units, we are refueling.
- Refuel process:
Hose is 2 1/2” diameter, not flexible at all, heavy! And is hot, right on the equator!
The pump stopped working about 20 times. Every time we had to wait for someone to do something in order to get the fuel flowing again. Almost 2 hours later we got our 3700 gall. of diesel. We needed 200 or so more. Can we purchase them now? NO! Tomorrow we have to wire transfer the $ to the bank, get fuel authorization, come back to the fuel dock… No, thank you, we are good with what we got!
We are transit boat for fuel stop only.
It is Sunday afternoon, everyone is about to go home, we need to get the documents done.
Electrician is “fixing” AC units, actually he is by-passing the controls /I can’t stay with him watching him what he does, have to deal with paperwork/, AC will work only on 100% power. Well, OK, we will not use it anymore until Nuku Hiva, there the diodes will be replaced , and we will have normal working AC.
Again, transit only boat, we have to go. We need another inspection and departure papers!
In an hour a panga comes alongside, our “safety” military guy and 2 more are on board. 2 of the 3 bladders are full sitting pretty on the aft deck, apparently after a conversation with our agent, we are OK to use them.
Again bunch of papers, signatures, copies… Electrician is done.
-Can we stay at anchor for another 30-40 min, we passed inspections, you know we are ok /no drugs, guns, illegal items, the dead fly was promptly removed almost 3 hours ago/, I want to check if we have any other equipment damaged by the generator “fixing” process? It will be very helpful to do it while engines are not working, I will be able to hear refrigerators compressors and pumps kicking in? The anchorage is 200 meters in front of your office, you can watch us while we stay at anchor. Please!
– No! Once you sign the papers, you have to depart right away!
Apparently our “safety” guy thinks it is a good idea to make us depart before we can check the boat properly for burned electrical equipment. Staying at anchor for another 30 min on front of his office is a NO!
Well, an hour before dark we pulled the anchor up and left. Good buy Galapagos. All 3 of us were happy to see it disappear behind the stern. All this after the owner had to pay $3000.00 in fees just to stop and get some fuel…
5000 gall of diesel on board, few new jokes about particular group of islands, and now we are underway, 3000 nm. to Nuku Hiva.
Date: Friday, May 26, 2023
Location: Day 4 of Panama to Galapagos leg. Position 250 nm NE of Galapagos.
Conditions: 10-15 kn south wind, 7’ swell at long intervals, 70% high cloud cover, about 82F air temperature.
Report by: Capt. Nikolay
We used the gentle weather and overcast conditions /cooler than normal/ to change the oil on the main engines. Thank to the on board oil change system everything went easy and smooth. Now we have new oil good for another 250 hours.
Still going slow, the Galapagos agent asked us not to arrive before 7 am on Sunday. Good news- saving on fuel and 6-7 kn are perfect for fishing /maybe the fish is not informed about that, so far no hits on the lures/.
1 1/2 days to Galapagos.
Date: Monday, May 24, 2023
Location: Day 2 of the Panama-Galapagos leg. Position 540 nm NE of Galapagos, 181 nm run for the last 24 hours. We slowed down to 7 kn SOG, need to arrive early on 28th.
Conditions: Overcast with some showers, about 85F hot, 10 kn of wind on the bow.
Report by: Capt. Nikolay
Big generator decided to completely stop putting electricity, we waited for a week in Panama for new regulator for this generator, and now not working again. Good thing is we don’t really need it, the boat has multiple redundant electrical systems /second generator, hydraulically driven big alternators, multiple inverters… but it is good when everything works on board.
Got the fishing lures in the water, waiting for a big catch!
3 more days to Galapagos.
Date: Monday, May 22, 2023
Location: Just off Panama
Report by: Capt. Nikolay
And we are on the way to Galapagos!
After spending several days at anchor near Taboga Island waiting for our generator voltage regulator, this morning we went back to Flamenko Marina.
The regulator was released from customs at noon, by 1 pm we had perfectly working 32KW genset!
Crew members went for last food provisions, I contacted Eric Galvez /our Panama agent/ and requested clearance papers. Like always, Eric is super fast, now is 6 pm and we cleared the entrance of the Canal.
Next planned stop is Galapagos, 900 nm away, we should cover them in about 5 days.
In Galapagos we will load 3700 gall of diesel, it will be just a quick stop for fuel.
Date: Monday, May 22, 2023
Location: Panama City, Panama
Report by: Kris
Sorry for the quiet couple of days. So things have take a slow down, in port we found out that our main generator was producing over 315Volts instead of 240volts. We had ordered a new regulator and were promised 24/48 hours, well it’s South America and we are hoping today is the day (6 days later) so we moved her. The last 2 days summary:
* Waiting on parts
* Departed surging marina
* 7nm to Isla Taboga anchorage
* Calm quit anchorage, slept inside no AC.
Liam and I have flown back to Australia and it’s driving me mad not to be on the boat, it’s worse actually being home than I thought. Don’t get me wrong- I love being with my wife and other kids but the not being with the boat and crew is bad, really bad.
I have arranged payment of 3200 gallons of fuel in Galapagos for the crew, this is something that needs to be paid upfront well before arrival.
The crew is planing repairs today, provisioning and departure, I will keep you updated.
For those eagle eyed followers, today I was officially issued with her new Australian MMSI number so she is now 503149070 and Australian flagged. This was not update since before Mike!
Date: Thursday, May 18, 2023
Location: Panama City, Panama (at anchor)
Report by: Capt. Nikolay
After we crossed the Canal we stopped in La Playita marina to clean the bottom of the boat /Galapagos required procedure/, check zinks and propellers and replace the electronic board on the FWD air conditioning unit.
During the AC repair we discovered the regulator on the big generator is bad, new one was ordered from Florida.
This morning we got an update- the new generator regulator will be here by Saturday. I decided to get the boat out of the marina /quite a bit of swell surge there/ and go anchor.
Currently we are off the island of Taboga anchored by a great beach. We expect to stay here until Saturday.
Not sure if this goes under “rough day on the water”, but here is the current situation on board (view photo captions):
Date: Sunday, May 15, 2023
Location: Panama City, Panama
Spirit of Ulysses completed its
transit of the Panama Canal!
Date: Friday, May 12, 2023
Location: Colon, Panama
Report by: Kris
We have spent 2 days in Shelter Bay marina
Whilst here we hired a van and driver to go to both the Panama Museum and Miraflores Visitor Centre.
Both great places to visit very educational Museum is about $15 per person (seniors get a discount 50% and they check your age with a calculator) also any student ID will also get you a discount.
Miraflores does not accept any discounts and is around the same price, they have a very interesting IMAX movie about the canal narrated by Morgan Freeman.
We were also advised today our crossing will be tomorrow at 445am, line handlers (we opted for 4 to allow us to sight see more) arrived at 1900 the day before and we headed out to anchorage.
We had a nice feed with the handlers onboard and are settling in for the long night/ day.
Date: May 10, 4:24 EDT,
Limon Bay Marina @ Panama Canal
Report by: Kris
Waiting to go through the locks at the Panama Canal. Due to work commitments I have to return to Australia from Panama City on the 16th and will be rejoining at the latest in Fiji. Liam will be flying home with me but I’m not sure he will rejoin me when I get back to the boat in the South Pacific.
Date: May 8, 3:15 EDT
Report by: Kris
It has been a great trip so far. We are currently off the coast of Nicaragua. Just shy of two days from Panama.
Getting to know the boat and her systems but very happy with her ability so far
Got a question for the crew on board Spirit of Ulysses? Submit it here and we’ll do our best to respond to you.
Congratulations for buying this beautiful Nordhavn. I have the same dream.
Do you proceed to a refit of engines and generators before living accros Pacific?
Spirit of Ulysses is not a new boat. How much money do you need to spend to be ready to travel ?
Thank you for your answer.
I live in France and own a Couach 80 feet but my aim is to buy one day a Nordhavn !!
Have a good and safe trip.
Response from Kris:
Thanks for your question.
Commercial ships run many more hours than most private operators, lack of use is worse than abuse!
Regular servicing, preventative maintenance is key, hours should not scare you, lack of hours should.
I’m not replacing engines or generators before they have to be, this is when they show me that they are past economical repair.
You need to spend money to make sure the vessel is ready for large trips if it’s new or old.
Just remember to follow your dream.