THE PATH TO AWANUI NZ
Follow N5101 Follow N5101 AWANUI NZ’s Mark & Fiona as their path takes them from dreamers to buyers, owners and embracers of the Nordhavn life
Hi! We’re Mark and Fiona! We are the proud owners of the future Nordhavn 51#1 Awanui NZ and we couldn’t be more excited to take delivery of her, which will happen sometime around July or August. We plan on the handover happening right at the factory in Turkey so we can get some expert training from the folks at Telgeren & Partners and then begin our cruising in the Med.
A lot has happened to get us to this point in time, T-minus three-ish months and counting until we officially become owners of the first ever Nordhavn 51. And honestly, there’s still quite a bit that needs to happen between now and the time we’re out confidently cruising the world’s oceans, which actually is the whole reason this new section of nordhavn.com has been created. We plan on giving you a point blank, no-holds-barred view of what the searching, buying, learning, waiting, outfitting, planning, waiting, training, (did we mention waiting?) and actual cruising process is like. Thanks for joining us!
First, a little background…
We are lifelong Kiwis who have been together for 34 years (32 of them as a married couple) and we have 4 children: Ben (30), Christopher (28), Samuel (24) and Renee (22). Ben is with Anna and have gifted us with a granddaughter Lila (2) and a grandson Eddie (8 months).
Mark was an airline pilot for Air New Zealand for 34 years and took early retirement last October, following a couple of final special flights including bringing home Kiwis who were evacuating from Wuhan and repatriating German nationals to Frankfurt at the start of Covid. Fiona was a Maths lecturer (plus is a trained Lay Pastoral Leader) but gave it up to work full-time overseeing our bucolic event center, Aston Norwood.
Aston Norwood is 14 acres of gardens and a venue for weddings, accommodations, and dining within an onsite café. This kept us very well occupied and now we are wanting to shed the weight of the business onto our very capable children while we take off on our adventure of sailing the high seas.
We are both extroverts, hard-working and have drive. We started the gardens 25 years ago on an old dairy farm and put all our energy into running it. Well, Fiona has primarily run it, in addition to raising four kids while Mark was away flying long-haul. It was only when Mark started working at Aston Norwood full time last year that it became clear how much work is involved in the upkeep and how much effort Fiona put in.
Our lives together can be described as ‘chaos and work’. We’ve never really sat still, because as well as building up the business, we also built five houses, including our own on the property. We’ve always had projects on the go. Even when we relax, we’re active relaxers.
If we’re home we can’t stop working, so that is why we’re going to pick up a boat in Turkey and spend three years sailing it home. It’ll be interesting to see how we get on relaxing and not working.
Chaos to commence..Nordhavn N51 - Awanui NZ Ep.15
Date: Thursday, Aug 31, 2023
Report by: Mark Rammell
Oh my gosh!!
Get ready…get set…..go……we have a date. Last night we got an update on Awanui NZ, Nordhavn’s first N51 being built in Istanbul, Turkey. “Be here the first week of November” was the message from Drew Leishman, Project Manager for our build. Now that was exciting and good news. We want to be there for Awanui NZ’s road trip from the Telgeren factory in Tuzla to the marina. We also had a walk through of the boat and wow there has been progress. So much is going on, cabinet fitting, electrical, plumbing, wall coverings, deck fittings – even the searchlight is in place. This is it, it is going to happen and soon. Check out our YouTube Chanel Awanui NZ, you will see the build story and very soon more photos and a walk through of Awanui NZ. Every week now will see significant changes as we hear “splash” time.
Date: Thursday, Aug 3, 2023
Report by: Mark Rammell
What an update!
Well it had to happen, all the hard work is starting to payoff. Cabin furniture in……does it fit?…….yes……..cabin furniture out….paint cabin furniture………..cabin furniture in! This is the story of a first build. Everything needs to be checked just to make sure it fits and when it does it gets much easier for successive boats….this is the beauty of the production line concept.
Today we got photos of the final fitout of the cabins starting. On Monday – 7 August – the top deck gets “stitched” to the hull and voila you have a boat! We will be getting video of the process so very excited and we will share with an update on Awanui NZ as soon as we can.
It really does feel like she is coming together – well done the Nordhavn and Telgeren teams.
Date: Monday, July 10, 2023
Report by: Mark Rammell
Home Sweet Home
Just landed back in Auckland, New Zealand after a two week whirlwind trip around the world. Was it worth it? Absolutely. We now have a sense of Turkey, Tuzla and the Telgeren family. A big bonus was meeting AwanuiNZ in the flesh and also getting to know two more of the Nordhavn family, Drew and Jeff Leishman. The only disappointment was not getting to Dana Point on the way home. Airline staff standby travel generally works very well but every now and then you get stuck. This was our “every now and then”. We finally bailed on the mission to LA to continue eastwards back home via Tokyo.
A couple of photos below of the track we took. Pretty interesting as the flight basically crosses Russia from one side to the other. The direct course takes you out from Istanbul across the Black Sea crossing Crimea, the Black Sea again and Russia for nearly 8 hours. I did think about this as obviously there is a war going on in that region. Lots of the names we were seeing on the news were very close to the north of our flight path. As an ex pilot I was very interested in how a flight like this is tackled…business as usual or special procedures? Got the answer pretty quickly as approaching Crimea the aircraft made a distinctive turn to the right to track around this region and then returned on a more direct flight path to Tokyo. I do ponder on the direction the world we live in is currently heading. Being so close to conflict that has affected the world so much only made me ponder. more.
Date: Tuesday, July 8, 2023
Location: Telgeren Factory, Istanbul
Report by: Mark Rammell
That’s a wrap
Well that was a great and worthwhile visit to the Telgeren plant in Tuzla, Istanbul. Great to meet the team there led by Murat Telgeren and for the last couple of days meet and get to know Drew and Geoff Lieshman. So where is Awanui NZ at? Realistically she will “splash” in October with our sailing adventure likely to start in November. Obviously this means a change of season for departure and the first three months travelling through the northern winter. This timing is pretty much perfect for us as we can see through another “Blossom Valley (Blossomvalley.nz) back home and return to Turkey for the very exciting commissioning and ownership of AwanuiNZ.
This project has certainly taken more time to reach completion than contracted owners, Telgeren and Nordhavn had hoped for. The challenges of building such a beautiful boat for the first time in the crazy world we live in since Covid are many. While Covid does seem an excuse for everything these days it has certainly changed supply chains and labour availability as the world cranks up again from a global lockdown. What is abundantly obvious to us when working with Telgeren and Nordhavn is that despite all these challenges they are absolutely focused on delivering a boat of the very highest quality – there have been no compromises under time pressure. They are constantly looking at ways to improve the design. A very simple example of this was a changed from externally mounted search lights on the rear boat deck to integral built in lights. They look fantastic and add to the very clean lines of the N51. The windscreen wipers have been designed to ensure no “streaky” lines are left right in front of the steering station. Yesterday we tried out the individual saloon seat option offered……I did not want to get out of it! Adding the ability to seperate the bed in the guest cabin provides additional flexibility for visitors.
Looking at the N41 production line it is not hard to visualise a similar 8 boat lineup for the N51 – it is going to happen and once you take delivery any delays will be quickly forgotten.
We have become a very impatient world but one thing I know is the N51 is absolutely going to be worth waiting for no matter how far down the list you may be.
Date: Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Location: Telgeren Factory, Istanbul
Report by: Mark Rammell
Take a breath!
So today is time to collect our thoughts, work on the next two YouTube videos (visit our channel here: https://www.youtube.com/@AwanuiNZ) and work out where to from here. There was a feeling that AwanuiNZ would be getting a lot closer to completion over the time we are here in Tuzla. Perhaps the top deck on, maybe work on the pilot house and the galley/salon fitout. This will not be the case. Completion is now not anticipated until early maybe even mid October. There is just so much more work needed to be done on the first hull build than subsequent. As hinted at yesterday some items need to go in then come out once it is known they fit. Where and how items are fitted is worked out almost as you go – obviously with modern building techniques involving computer design and CNC cutting it is quicker but along the way there are always challenges with a first build. As Murat Telgeren said “hull 2 and 3 will follow quickly”. Supply of parts is also an issue. Even engines are in short supply and have long wait periods. Murat is very focused on this and spends a great deal of time making sure that what they need arrives in as timely a manner as possible. The warehouse is full of galley appliances, furniture, marine fittings from all over the world – even little old New Zealand contributes. What is obvious is that Telgeren and Nordhavn have a great partnership and work hard to deliver their product as efficiently as possible.
Yesterday we spent time with Furkan the Telgeren Quality Control Manager. This young man’s focus is getting the best quality product out of the factory. We also had a look through the fabrics being used for the fitout. They have absolutely used the best materials which all looked and felt great.
Murat the owner has a strong focus here as well and is customer oriented from start to finish. Yesterday he shared stories of “emergency” deliveries he had personally made to help customers with N41’s in need of help. We are certainly looking forward to being a part of the Nordhavn/Telgeren family.
Finances are obviously a big part of any boat purchase. We make no secret of the fact that we have pooled all our resources to be able to make this purchase. Living aboard and cruising the world is going to be a big unknown for us cost wise and if honest does make us a little nervous. Buying a boat is one thing, being able to afford its operation is another. We will find a way to make it work but we do need to be careful in how many “extras” we take on board before we set off on our journey. James Leishman who sold AwanuiNZ to us had some great advice – “take her as she comes as much as you can and get what you need once you are underway” – we are going to take his advice. We obviously need a tender. Again James advised – “you have a big boat which you can use when a big boat is needed, your tender needs to be easily handled and light so you can pull it up on a beach – go for a small tender if you can”. At this stage we will get a centre console AB inflatable with a 25hp 4 stroke – probably Mercury. We will share with you what this costs when it happens. Because we will start in the Mediterranean nice to have items like infra red cameras, water makers, Starlink, the third Garmin screen in the pilot house and second Garmin on the fly ridge can wait and will be purchased as and when needed. Insurance is obviously a must and at this stage it looks like Pantanius through a New Zealand broker at an estimate of $11,000 Australian Dollars ($7,400US) This comes with a $15,000 deductible on claim and certain restrictions around where we can and cannot go. This quote will be updated closer to launch day.
We plan on being really open and honest around costs. New Zealanders (Kiwi’s) are great do it yourselfers which will be important when managing costs – watch this space!
We will hang around Tuzla until Sunday and then head for LA where we will visit the team at Dana Point. This will be exciting for Fiona as she has never been there before.
Date: Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Location: Telgeren Factory, Istanbul
Report by: Mark Rammell
So it has happened we have now “touched” AwanuiNZ for the first time. What a day!
It was amazing to drive up to the Telgeren plant in Tuzla and our first impression of the place is seeing yard owner Murat helping three abandoned puppies by first washing them and then making sure they had any treatment they required. He now has eight dogs at home! It was a snapshot of how much he cares – and it translates to our yacht.
The Telgeren plant is amazing. Obviously a new facility and extremely well laid out and organised. Murat first took us inside the office for tea and very deliberately held off us seeing our boat until he had no choice but to take us to her. Murat has a great sense of humour and is very proud of the business they have built in Turkey. We started the tour by visiting the lamination factory – he was still delaying us seeing AwanuiNZ! Then to the N41 production line where there are currently eight boats in various stages of construction with two about ready to “splash” as they say over here.
We also saw N5102 with N5103’s hull still in her mould. Finally we got to N5101 AwanuiNZ. The top deck is still separated from the hull and will not be attached until both the master and guest cabins are installed. Because she is hull No.1 these cabins are fitted twice, once to make sure they fit and then the second time once the furnishings have been varnished. Subsequent boats will come together so much quicker with hulls 2 and 3 “splashing” quite quickly after hull No 1.
There had been an indication that AwanuiNZ would launch mid July 2023 but clearly this will not be achievable. Murat has advised that in approximately one months time he will have a clear picture as to a launch date. If I am honest I had hoped that progress would be further along but having now seen just what is involved in putting these beautiful boats together – particularly as it is hull No.1 – I must learn to be patient.
Tomorrow we visit the furniture shop where they are manufactured. We will also start working on the final design of the logo for the rear of the boat. The boat leaves Istanbul labelled Dana Point as home port and Nordhavn as the owner. This is then removed when in international waters to reveal AwanuiNZ home port of Picton, NZ once ownership changes. Tender and engine selection will begin and a decision made on which watermaker to install.
It has been great visiting the Telgeren boatyard and we are looking forward to the arrival of Drew and Jeff Lieshman later in the week – with hopefully Nordhavn T – Shirt and cap in tow.
Sunday July 2, 2023
Ditched the daughter! (In the most loving of ways possible!) Now the countdown is well and truly ON!
We have arrived in Tuzla and found a great AirBNB down by the beach for the next week. So when you GOOGLE Tuzla for directions from Istanbul you get 9hrs walk, 2 hrs by walk, bus, train, bus, walk and 1hr 50m by car – well that all sounded pretty hard particularly car from the old district of Istanbul and little ability to drop off in Tuzla. A quick search on Google soon found a car ferry – leaving from just down the road – going to Larova and then another ferry from Larova to Pendik followed by Uber to Tuzla. Lovely day out on the water with great views of Istanbul the Bosphorus and surrounding islands of the Maramar Sea. All part of the adventure really and just goes to show Google does not have all the answers when describing ways to get places. Tuzla and Pendik for that matter are certainly ship building areas. Massive cranes and large dry docks are everywhere so not surprising this is where Telgeren has based itself. Tomorrow is the big day. First time we touch AwanuiNZ and nearly three weeks since we have seen photos so quite a bit of anticipation.
Thursday June 30, 2023
Why did we choose the name Awanui, NZ? Read on…
Patience is a virtue!
So here we sit in the old town of Istanbul waiting for our daughter to arrive from Romania. Meanwhile beckons the urge to visit the Telgeren Boatyard to finally meet our N5101 Awanui NZ. So why Awanui NZ? We will be posting a video on our YouTube Channel Awanui NZ featuring this story but here it is in written blog form. We really wanted the name Awanui, unfortunately this is not available on the New Zealand boat register as it is already taken by a research vessel. Awanui NZ is available and of course holds some significance to us as we come from New Zealand. Awanui is a word from our indigenous Maori language and means “Big River”. It is also the cultivar of the cherry blossom trees planted in our gardens that have made this adventure possible – the trees are Prunus Yeodensis Awanui. We have a walk through of the gardens in the video on YouTube that will be posted on our return to New Zealand mid to late July. The gardens are open to public and showcase 350 pink blossom cherries which last year attracted 34,000 visitors to see them. They are all lit up at night and have proven to be a great attraction for our little city Upper Hutt just out of the capital Wellington. So Awanui holds great significance to us as does the Maori meaning of Big River. The greatest threat to our cherry trees is the river that runs through our property, it floods and can very quickly become a “Big River” – we watch this very carefully but you just cannot beat nature – it is significant for us. As a river flows it gets bigger and eventually enters the sea, our river enters the sea in Wellington Harbour. Again this is significant as this is where our journey has taken us – to the sea. If that is not cheesy enough for you try this – we pick up Awanui NZ in Istanbul which is famous for the Bosphorus, a waterway that connects the Black Sea to the Marmaris right through the centre of Istanbul. In the late 1990’s a study was done of this waterway and it was found that there is a large water flow between the Black Sea and Marmaris which equals the flow of the sixth largest river in the world – Big River is significant to us as is the cultivar of our flowering cherry trees – Awanui NZ is a perfect name for our new home.
Thursday June 29, 2023
We have finally arrived in Turkey. It is the first step to seeing our beautiful boat live and in person! But first, I cannot say enough good things about flying Turkish Airlines. (It’s the pilot in me!) We got the very last of a few seats available and were very pleased to board the 787 Dreamliner for our 13 hour flight to Istanbul. The service was great, the food was great and literally 600 movies to choose from. Many airlines we have travelled on over the years could learn much from Turkish. If you have purchased a N41 or N51 and are coming to the Telgeren Factory in Istanbul to see your boat being built or to pick it up, we highly recommend flying with them. As per our previous blog we are also meeting our daughter Renee and her friend who are travelling Europe and the Middle East together. Diplomatically I have to say I am more excited about seeing Renee than Awanui NZ for the first time (uh, yes, that’s right!)…. We are staying in the old district just down the road from the Blue Mosque which we will likely visit tomorrow once they arrive. Maybe head down to see Awanui NZ on Saturday. Flying in with the Ukraine, specifically Kyiv, Sebastopol and Odessa only a few miles out to the north as we descended into Istanbul got me thinking about what is happening in our world at the moment. While I do not want to be too political it did make me think how vulnerable you are in this part of the world at the moment. I have spent a considerable amount of time reading and watching all about the current conflict in this part of the world. I absolutely hope they find a way very soon to peacefully live together on this beautiful planet. Anyway we are here and life goes on so we will make the most of it. What a beautiful city Istanbul is. Will report soon in a couple of days of our first impression of Awanui NZ. Can’t wait!
June 26, 2023
…..so it is finally happening we are on our way to Istanbul to “touch” Awanui NZ for the first time. Standby travel as an ex airline is so much fun….not!……yesterday there were plenty of seats on the Auckland to Los Angeles flight….we got the last two seats! Now we are sitting at Planet Hollywood in Lax Internationals Tom Bradley terminal waiting to see if we have seats on the Turkish Airlines flight tonight. Since being here we have spoken to Drew Lieshman, Project Manager for the N51 . He advised us that both he and Jeff Lieshman will be coming over to Istanbul on 7 July so we will meet them both there for the first time. This trip is all about learning and maybe sorting out the tender and watermaker. So much to learn and a great opportunity to see the boat before everything is covered up. The last photos we received are two weeks old with the forward cabin fitout well underway and the deck on over that area. It’s going to be great to see what progress has been made. Watch this space for plenty of photos and more video.
May 30, 2023
Ok so a new batch of photos has just come through from Istanbul and the countdown is on for a finish of end July………somehow just cannot see a completion by the despite the boat builders sticking to their guns on that date. Fiona and I will head over late June so watch out for a flood of videos. Making videos is tough, at 61 it is a very big challenge learning how to edit footage. Getting the footage is easy. Turning it into an interesting clip that watchers enjoy is another……the hours just go by. Back to Awanui NZ – she is certainly starting to get there, not long and the engines, generator and all cabin furniture will be installed and then…..drum roll……the top section gets fitted to the hull. Now that is when we will see what the N51 really looks like……watch this space.
May 15, 2023
Ok…….Mark here…..so Fiona did not update you on my radio licence….passed 100%, how cool was that. Now all I have to do is learn to use it? Spent my whole working career using a radio while flying but with a boat it’s all about getting used to the terminology and learning what needs to be said and what doesn’t. A wee story – we had a share in a 60’ Salthouse displacement boat in the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the North Island NZ – you will see her in our video which is in production as we blog – her name was Aparima but on the radio call sign placard some plonked put MY Aparima which I took to mean MY Aparima was her name not Motor Vessel Aparima! I failed to notice the nameplate on the side of her had Aparima in letters about 2ft tall. So….for 6 months Mark is telling everyone who cared to listen to his radio calls that they were coming from “My Aparima” – finally one of the local Coastguard people came down to the boat and put me out of my misery – not the last mistake I will make but that’s boating!
May 8, 2023
Hi all Fiona here. So a big day for Mark today……..he is going in to sit his MRROC (Marine Restricted Radio Operator Certificate) exam which includes a practical. What this space as…..hopefully…..he gets one step closer to being a legal radio operator for when we pick up Awanui NZ in Istanbul….maybe in July.
May 6, 2023
Had an amazing Facetime walk through of Awanui NZ as she comes very close to having engines, generator and cabinetry fitted prior to the top deck being fitted to the hull. Telegeren is still confident of a July launch…..amazing, it’s happening!
|October 2023||Take formal possession early October
Head across the Mediterranean to Gibraltar and up the West European coastlines of Portugal, Spain, France and Belgium
|October - Nov 2023||Enter canals at Antwerp for Amsterdam Holland|
|December 2023 - March 2024||Over winter in Holland|
|April - October 2024||Rhine and Danube if possible to Black Sea and warranty work back in Istanbul. Mediterranean cruising ending in Barcelona for Americas Cup October 12, 2024.|
|October 2024 - April 2025||Cruise SE England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland
|May - late August 2025||Scotland, Shetland Islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland|
|August 2025 - April 2026||Novas Scotia, Maine, East Coast Coastal Waterway, Cuba, Panama Canal, West Coast USA
May 27, 2023
Hi Mark and Fiona,
I have read your “journey” with great interest. Thank you for sharing it. From what I can gather, you still have not seen your boat in person yet. Do you plan on going to the factory to check it out before you take delivery of it? I know you said you are not nervous about purchasing a hull #1 and never having seen the model you are about to buy. I suppose it being a Nordhavn has something to do with that! Best of luck, Matthew
Response from Mark:
Great question. We have been putting off travelling to the other side of the world until we have to but we just cannot help it now. We plan to be in Istanbul around 28 June for as yet we do not know how long. Our daughter is travelling through Europe and we have not seen her in 8 months. She will be there for a couple of nights at that time so really excited about that as well. We plan to go through LA and travel down to Dana Point to meet the team. I have been there before but not Fiona. Not sure if you have seen our first video but we must be back in New Zealand for September each year…there will be a video about the reason behind this – soon! The plan at this stage is to HOPEFULLY get some seatrials done before we come back which will inevitably see some “tweaking” needing to be done being it’s hull No. 1. We will be back in October to take delivery and begin our adventure. There will be plenty of video and blogs coming out as we travel to Istanbul and see what looks like is going to be an amazing boat for the first time. Take care and thanks for getting in touch.
Mark and Fiona
May 25, 2023
Hi Mark and Fiona, Congratulations! You so close to dream)
FYI: There is a fairly large fleet of sailors on Nordhavn 41 in the Mediterranean at the moment. We are all in touch. Türkiye, Greece, I am now in Tunisia, then Sardinia and Corsica. In summer and autumn I will be in the western Mediterranean. In winter I am also considering a plan to go to Amsterdam, I live here. It would be cool to meet somewhere).
mv Gitan de la Mer (#4124)
Response from Mark and Fiona:
Thanks so much for reaching out. We would love to catch up with you and any other Nordhavn’s in the Med. maybe we could journey back to Holland together? We are looking at using the canal from Antwerp through to Amsterdam and then finding somewhere to over winter. So exciting to see you are in Tunisia, we would love to visit there as well. Let’s keep in touch. Safe travels…
Mark and Fiona
May 16, 2023
Dear Mark and Fiona,
Great to see you move from Dreamer to Nordhavn community member. I’m still in the dreamer phase and have my eyes on the N41. I know your itinerary is coming soon but do you have any idea of how long you want to cruise the Mediterranean and is that part of the plan more tied to getting used to the vessel? Looking foward to seeing how far Awanui NZ takes you.
Response from Mark and Fiona:
Thanks for reaching out. Everything depends upon the final delivery date. Looks like May be ready late July but would not have had much of a shakedown given it is the first of the new model. We must be back in NZ for the month of September so it is looking more like a formal launch and acceptance in early October. My wife is from Dutch parents and she speaks fluent Dutch. She has always had a dream of spending sometime in Holland other than simply for a holiday. The “current” plan is to pretty much take delivery, head for Gibraltar, up the Western European coastline and enter the canals between Antwerp and Amsterdam overwintering in Holland. Hopefully taking Awanui NZ to the Düsseldorf boat show in January for Nordhavn to show off!
Would love to head up to Norway over our time in Holland. In the spring down the Rhine and Danube if possible to Istanbul where any warranted work can be done then time in the Mediterranean ending up in Barcelona October 2024 for the Americas Cup.
That’s kind of the plan but watch this space!
Mark and Fiona