First-ever attempt to single-hand Nordhavn across ocean
The owner of a Nordhavn 56 Motorsailer will attempt to become the first person ever to single-hand a Nordhavn across an ocean. Thierry Vestrade departed Newport, RI June 30, embarking on a solo mission to bring his boat Deo Juvante across the Atlantic to Europe.
Despite more than 500 Nordhavns built and floating the world’s oceans, never before has an owner tried to cross one alone.
It has been a childhood dream of Vestraete’s to sail the Atlantic Ocean by himself and he spent considerable effort searching for the perfect boat to help him achieve his goal. Since finalizing the purchase of the Nordhavn Motorsailer this past January, Verstraete has focused all his energy on addressing the countless details necessitated by the complexities of this trip.
Sailing has been a way of life for the Belgian native, although his other passion, GTD Sports car racing of which he is a championship winning driver, has taken up the majority of his time in recent decades. Last year he decided to take a break from car racing and shift his interests back toward sailing, specifically pursuing his dream of single handing across the ocean. Now that dream is just days away from becoming reality. It’s been a journey just getting to this point, but his confidence in the boat and the support team he has put together are doing well to quell fears about being out alone at sea for so many days.
He enlisted the help of a friend who has achieved several solo trips – including an 11th place finish in last year’s Vendée Globe race where he spent 105 days at sea – to help him properly outfit the boat and put together a schedule. He’s also hired a weather router and worked with a former mate and cook on putting together a meal plan.
“It’s all about, courage, control, perseverance and self-discipline… characteristics that we can make good use (of) in our daily lives, both in business and in personal relationships,” said Verstraete. “Then it’s just dealing with the elements of nature, wind and water, plus sleep management.”
Nordhavns have a track record of successfully crossing oceans that is second to none. That statistic is not lost on Verstraete, although he intends to sail the entire way and switch the motor on only when absolutely necessary. His questions about her performance under sail were put to rest during his first seatrial. “I was surprised when she reached 8 knots. She really does perform well as a sailboat,” he said.
Verstraete estimates it will take him 25 days to get from Rhode Island to Ostend, Belgium. He left under clear blue skies and with a 15 knot breeze early Thursday morning.
While Verstraete won’t be posting to a blog, he does plan on sending frequent email updates that will be posted to his facebook page. Anyone interested in keeping up with Verstraete as he embarks on his solo mission aboard Deo Juvante can visit his Facebook page by searching Deo Juvante Across The Ocean.
For updates on this and N68 Mirgation’s trip, please keep posted to Nordhavn Live