By Jennifer Stern
Spring is a time for cleaning, flowers…and long-distance cruising. Over the past couple of weeks, three Nordhavn 43s have stated their case as true ocean crossing vessels by completing impressive extended cruises and proving the true mettle of not only the boats but of themselves as well.
Anyone familiar with Nordhavns already knows that our boats are meant to cross oceans, still some are uncertain when it comes to taking a smaller boat, such as the 40 or 43, on such an ambitious journey. Is there enough storage space? Is it comfortable enough? Is it roomy enough for the crew? What about fuel capacity?
As a company, P.A.E. has tried to quell such questions by taking a production Nordhavn 40 around the world. Other 40 owners have also achieved long-range passages: in 2004, Uno Mas joined the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally from Fort Lauderdale to Europe and along the way conquered the 2,300-nm leg from Bermuda to the Azores; Done Dreamin’ handled the 2800-nm leg from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to the South Pacific islands without any major problems. But until this spring, no N43 had come close to staking a claim in passagemaking history.
But on May 19, new boat owners – and for all intents and purposes, new boaters themselves – Eric and Christie Grab took on the most extensive cruise to date by a Nordhavn 43. Departing San Diego, the Grabs commenced on the first impressive leg of what is a planned years-long circumnavigation. After 21 days at sea, Kosmos’s happy crew arrived in Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas Islands. “We had no system failures and overall it was a great passage,” said Eric Grab in his log report. Joined on board by fellow N43 owner Richard Burkland, the crew comfortably settled into a 4-hour watch schedule and were able to remain relatively restful. They traveled 2,385 nm on approximately 1,000 gallons in 500 hours.
Making their own mark is Jim and Martha Lyle on their boat Special Blend who are in the midst of a cruise from Florida to New Zealand. Having departed Long Boat Key in February, the boat made the long 2,000-nm-plus trip from Mexico to the Galapagos Islands and later to the Marquesas where they were soon joined by Kosmos. Jim reports no problems other than dissatisfaction with the toilets and says they will have the boat hauled when they arrive to Tahiti to have a stabilizer repaired. The Lyles’ dream of cruising started small, but when they came across the ATW boat at the Miami International Boat Show some years ago, the dream grew. “Nordhavn was the only boat that satisfied my new dream (of world cruising) and my wife’s expectations for comfort,” he said.
Plans are to arrive in New Zealand in November with the future uncertain after that. But, Jim adds, “Things are going well and I expect more dreams to come if my body holds together.”
On the east coast, Jim Fuller, owner of Summer Skis, is paving the way for N43s – and other Nordhavns – as the group leader of the Med Bound 2007 rally. Nine boats departed Fort Lauderdale en route to Bermuda. Half the boats are headed for the Med and the other half, led by Fuller and his N43 Summer Skis crew, are aiming for Newport, RI. Scheduled to leave Bermuda this morning, the boats have had to wait out some weather. But with no issues (other than N50 Downtime’s stabilizer issue en route to Bermuda), the group is enjoying their cruise. The first 1,000-nm leg provided some serious ocean miles under Summer Skis’ keel (as will the second 900-nm leg). Along the way, the crew was able to take care of house cleaning items while underway including vacuuming, laundry and grilling steaks on the cockpit.
Interested in learning more about how these boats handle things on board during extended voyages? You can follow along with each of them by checking out their logs: Visit the Kosmos log at http://kosmos.liveflux.net/blog/, the Special Blend log at http://www.specialblend43.talkspot.com, and Summer Skis log reports at ../../../medbound/log_reports_june.php.