It’s unbelievable to think that we are on the verge of closing out yet another year – our 36th year in business since Pacific Asian Enterprises (PAE) was incorporated in 1978. For PAE 2014 was perhaps, overall, no different from any other– a year filled with highs and lows. That said, there are particular high and low moments that stand out which made 2014 as memorable as any. If the past 12 months could be summed up in a few words, they might be something like resilience, rejuvenation and customer-refocused. Here, we reflect back on some of the key moments of the past year (with both fond memories and some sense of relief) that shaped another chapter in PAE history.
We rang in 2014 still feeling effects of the recession. Going on six years since the start of the economic downturn, there were still challenges at Nordhavn, but we took it one day at a time and managed to push through spring with orders – slowly, but surely, increasing in frequency. We’re still well below our heyday numbers when we were cranking out 45 boats a year, and probably never will return to those higher numbers, but for the first time in a long time, this year brought glimpses of people’s rejuvenated passion for boating.
It took a while for this realization to kick in, but what occurred at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in the fall gave evidence that a turnaround attitude was in the air. It began with the magnificent Nordhavn exhibit, the finest show display in PAE’s history, made up of new, large models. The huge crowds were impressed and interested, and the sales crew left Fort Lauderdale feeling more optimistic than ever. The sale of a brand new Nordhavn 68 capped off a terrific five day-event for the brand.
With the sales momentum, Nordhavn made a number of additions to its sales team. Brokers were added to the Southwest,Northwest, Southeast and Australia offices to better serve buyers and handle the active new and pre-owned markets.
On the heels of the Fort Lauderdale Show came another significant milestone that implied the company’s forward movement and fresh focus on customer service: the relocation of Nordhavn’s southeast sales and commissioning operations to Palm Beach, FL. With easier access to the facility and service performance that’s second to none, the Southeast team has laid the foundation for the most formidable customer service experience geared toward current Nordhavn owners in the area as well as those seeking to purchase. The potential opportunity this brings to Nordhavn and Nordhavn customers alike for the future is exciting.
2014 also brought about changes to the Nordhavn product line with the coming and going of two models. In March we announced the addition of the brand new Nordhavn 59 Coastal Pilot, a semi-displacement trawler capable of making serious coastal cruises. The progress of the 59CP has been well documented on nordhavn.com throughout the year and we are preparing to begin work on hull #1 in early 2015. This year also saw the retirement of the iconic Nordhavn 62, the long perceived “face” of the Nordhavn line. With the first hull launched in 1991, PAE went on to build 37 N62s. For years, it was celebrated for its numerous ocean crossings, circumnavigation and even deft navigation of the Bering Strait. But with the last Nordhavn 62 sale occurring in 2010, it was time to say goodbye and so in September, the molds were destroyed. She’ll be missed but thanks to our owners and their journeys, she lives on.
And speaking of our owners and their journeys, 2014 brought us no shortage of incredible owner feats. Circumnavigations and ocean crossings abound every year, but there was something about this year’s crop of passages that set them apart from others. In the summer, we commemorated the first circumnavigation ever completed by a family (adults and minors) on board a Nordhavn. Tom, Kim and Emily Lawler finished their 6-year global cruise earlier this year. They home-schooled daughter Emily, but the entire family got the education of a lifetime. After all was said and done, more than 35,000 nm were logged on their Nordhavn 46 Emily Grace. You might say it was the ultimate family roadtrip.
Not long after, another round-tripper was celebrated, this one had by Heidi and Wolfgang Haas. The intrepid explorers marked their third circumnavigation (Look for video interview with the Haases coming soon!) on their Nordhavn, an incredible feat. The Haases cruised into Dana Point several weeks ago, very much under the radar and amidst minimal fanfare (which is the way they like it). For them, it’s nothing extraordinary to have amassed more than 100,000 nm on their Nordhavn 46 Kanaloa.
Then there’s Jack Felgate, who took his Nordhavn 60 Last Samurai from Dana Point to Australia this year. It’s the second Pacific Crossing on board a Nordhavn for the 80-year-old. (Yes, you read that right, 80-year-old.) With that, Jack promptly debunks the myth that you can be too old to achieve your dreams.
We celebrated all our terrific customers in early May with the Nordhavn Southwest Owners Rendezvous. It was tied in with the commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally (NAR). Talk about time flying! It seems impossible that more than 10 years ago now, 18 boats – among them, 15 Nordhavns – crossed the Atlantic Ocean in what was the greatest group passagemaking effort ever or since. Owners past and present mingled at the most extravagant Rendezvous PAE has held. The three-day event saw more than 150 owners and guests revel in the name of Nordhavn spirit.
As December comes to a close, we look back on 2014 as a “good” year for PAE and by far our best year since 2007. We thank our Asian builder partners Ta Shing and South Coast Marine for their decades of loyal service and we thank the many vendors who supply parts, equipment and systems for our Nordhavns. Most importantly, however, we thank our Nordhavn owners, supporters and aficionados around the world who have helped us make the Nordhavn brand and image the most powerful in the industry.
In closing, we’d like to offer one Nordhavn couple’s version of the year-end review. The owners of Mermaid Explorer photo documented (and very briefly summarized) what 2014 was like for them. Here’s hoping it might prove as inspiration for your 2015.
All of us at PAE wish you Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year.