Two Nordhavns set out to complete two different extraordinary milestones and both have achieved history making success.
On Wednesday, Thierry Verstraete became the first owner ever to solo-cross an ocean in a Nordhavn when he brought his 56-foot motorsailer Deo Juvante from Newport, RI, to Belgium. Verstraete was intent on making a non-stop passage, but fraught with autopilot issues, he was forced to hand-steer the 50-ton Nordhavn for more than 80 hours and eventually divert to the Azores for a 12-day layover while technicians worked to correct the problem. The result was not only a fix of the autopilot but the installation of a second redundant system, giving Verstraete a major boost of confidence to commence and complete the crossing. It took 41 days (29 at sea) and approximately 3500 nm for Verstraete to achieve what had been a childhood dream of sailing alone across the Atlantic Ocean.
Not only is this a huge achievement for Verstraete, but it is also for Pacific Asian Enterprises (PAE). There have been a few adventurous Nordhavn single handers over the years, but until now, it is believed there has never been a single-handed ocean crossing by a Nordhavn. “We are so happy that the Nordhavn Motorsailer has finally crossed an ocean and has proven to us at PAE what we already knew,” said PAE president Dan Streech. “It’s also shown the world that the Nordhavn Motorsailer is a beautiful sailing boat and a superb passage maker.
“Mostly however, we are proud of Thierry and happy for his accomplishment,” adds Streech. “Being a racing driver in his other life, Thierry has an affinity for machinery and systems and he combined that with strength of character, durability, determination, good planning and a generoushelping of humor to accomplish what very very few people have done.“
Just a week earlier, N68 Migration made Nordhavn history after it reached Svalbard, Norway, the northernmost latitude ever achieved by a Nordhavn. After getting checked out at our Southampton, UK office, the crew of Migration ventured north through Scandinavia and arrived in the very remote Svalbard, located at 80°North. Svalbard is a place where species of animals outnumber actual humans and visitors are required to carry shotguns for their own safety. The town is visited by cruiseships but by very few privately ownedU powerboats. The crew actually made it all the way to 81°27’ North, the furthest north traveled by any private vessel.
For three weeks, thousands of aficionados followed along with the N68 and her crew via shipmate Steve D’Antonio’s descriptive blog, as she set out to accomplish this incredible challenge. Migration breaks its own record for the most northerly point ever reached by a Nordhavn which it achieved after visiting Disko Bay, Greenland, in 2014. “They didn’t break the record, they smashed it,” said Streech. “The feat was achieved safely and sanely through superb preparation, a capable boat, excellent seamanship, skillful navigation, persistence, bravery and a powerful and wonderful itch for exploration and adventure.”
To read an entire account of both trips visit the Nordhavn Live page.