Sitting in their slip at Liberty Landing in NYC last week, you can understand why Van and Tracy Anderson named their brand new Nordhavn 68 Sunday Morning. There’s a peaceful, at-ease sensibility they have whenever they’re on board, whether tied up at the dock or charging up the coast. The path getting to this point was bumpy and winding, but the result is one of the most innovative, high tech and beautiful Nordhavn 68s ever built.
“We love our boat!” writes Tracy from the cushy saloon of Sunday Morning. It was as though she and Van always knew this is how it would turn out, and is why, despite facing challenges, they were able to keep their eye on the prize.
The idea of moving up from their Nordhavn 55 to a more spacious and modern N68 was an exciting idea the Andersons first entertained in 2015. What was initially “wouldn’t it be nice” turned into “let’s do this” and two years later, they began keeping steady track of N68 brokerage listings. A number of beautiful 68s would come to market, but none met the vision the Andersons had for their next boat. They realized the only way to get a Nordhavn 68 that embodied the light, bright open concept they wanted was to order new, and so they signed a contract for hull #36 in April 2017. At the time, the 68 market was white hot with three new hulls in the queue before them. Although it would be months before theirs would begin laying up, the Andersons knew the wait would be worth it.
With their new boat slated to finish towards the end of 2019, they made plans the year prior to move their Nordhavn 55. It sold without much trouble and by spring’s end in 2018, they were strictly landlubbers. “We expected to be boatless for a little over a year,” Tracy recalls, which was better than having to worry about owning two boats. Plus, they counted on needing time to focus on all the little details required of outfitting the new boat.
Often times the anticipation of something is just as exciting as the actual something. In the case of the Andersons’ boat, the anticipation went into overdrive, mainly due to the additional time required by the increasingly complex Nordhavns now being built. “The process of building a new Nordhavn is an exciting and creative experience,” said PAE president Dan Streech. “But with the larger Nordhavns come longer build times.” News that the schedule had slipped was understandably disappointing to Van and Tracy, yet they took the setback in stride and focused on the details of the boat they could control. “Van and Tracy were wonderful partners of PAE and showed grace and patience and commitment, and overcame challenges in order to create a stunning Nordhavn 68.”
2019 was coming to a swift close and the team at Ta Shing worked tirelessly to fast track Sunday Morning toward completion. The boat was in its final build stages when Covid-19 struck. In addition to the chaos it provoked on the production of their boat, the pandemic caused a major blow to the travel business the Andersons own. Nonetheless, the couple never wavered from their goals. “Both Van and Tracy brought out the best in PAE as we all worked as a team with the trying situation of Covid,” said Streech. ”Van is one of those rare people with the gift of positive attitude.”
Reaching into that well of positivity once again, Van refused to let misfortune derail him. With the boat nearing completion, he was intent on going to Taiwan for a final in-person inspection before it shipped. But it would require a Herculean effort. He obtained a special exemption from the Taiwanese government for himself and marine consultant Steve D’Antonio to enter the country and undergo strict Covid protocols before being granted the OK to visit the factory. This included holing up at a special quarantine hotel for 15 days and eating three meals (randomly selected for them by the staff) daily that would be delivered and placed on a tray outside their hotel doors. Retrieving the tray was the only time they were permitted to open their door, and to ensure this was the case, the police would arbitrarily contact them via government phone each day. “They had quite the experience!” said Tracy, “(but) we knew how important it was to be there.”
In the fall of 2020, the boat was loaded onto a container ship and offloaded six weeks later in Florida, and began the painstaking commissioning process at Nordhavn’s east coast commissioning hub in North Palm Beach. Covid continued to wreak havoc during commissioning, but the Andersons knew slow and steady – and patience – would win the race. After all, Sunday Morning was itself one of those high-tech, complicated boats that require extra effort. Nordhavn’s southeast sales manager Garrett Severen, who helped with training, explains: “The equipment list is really impressive. It’s got a Skania engine, lithium ion batteries, solar panels, and a Meritron vessel monitoring system,” he said. “Also, it was ordered with a complicated electronics package that required techs from Alcom Electronics for the install. It needed numerous seatrials to make sure everything was talking to each other properly.”
The delivery celebration date that had been pushed back on the Andersons at last arrived on April 9. It was nearly four years to the day, but the boat was everything they wanted it to be. When Sunday Morning was officially handed over, Tracy recalls simply thinking, “Finally,” with a sigh and a smile.
Earlier this month, the Andersons embarked on their maiden voyage aboard Sunday Morning, a shakedown cruise that took them from North Palm Beach Marina to Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale. Joining the Andersons were Jim and Pam Crossley – friends and fellow former N55 owners who used to buddy boat with Van and Tracy; as well as Severen, plus their two cats, Binky and Buster. Among other things, the trip was a test to see how well the couple could shift to operating a bigger boat. Mechanically, the N68 is a more technical vessel, especially this one, Severen said. However, handling and operating should be easier because it is a fully hydraulic boat with greater visual clearance and numerous wing stations for docking ease. Tracy concurs: “Somehow the bigger boat seems easier to manage.”
Despite the time that had passed since the Andersons had run their own boat, the transition was nearly seamless. “I was getting worried that I would have to learn boating all over again,” joked Tracy. “But from the very first time we untied the lines, it was a no brainer – this was a smooth and easy transition.”
Inside, Sunday Morning offers the oasis-like feel the Andersons were after. They requested an open-living concept based on the interior of the Nordhavn 76 by reversing the location of the staircase and dropping in a big, angled countertop. They also converted the standard day head into a laundry room so the wash can be done on the main level, had a convertible fridge/freezer/wine cooler and microwave installed in the Pilot House so grabbing snacks is more convenient for the person on watch and makes entertaining from the upper aft deck or flybridge a lot easier. Tracy also borrowed space from the master shower so she could have a walk-in closet in the bedroom.
The couple love to entertain and Sunday Morning is fully-functioning for this purpose. Each of the four staterooms is ensuite with shower for guests’ ultimate comfort, the dining table in the saloon converts to seat 8 comfortably, and they incorporated a very large sofa in the saloon, “which proved to be very handy when we had a big group for the Kentucky Derby!” Tracy said.
In the weeks since the shakedown, the Andersons have wasted no time using the boat. From Palm Beach, they headed north with stops in Fernandina Beach, FL, St. Simons, GA, Hilton Head, Wrightsville Beach and their current locale of New York. Next on the docket are stops in Sag Harbor, Old Saybrook, CT, Newport, RI, Nantucket and Maine before reversing course. “It’s going to be a fantastic summer!” says Tracy.