It’s been well documented by now that the ordeal Nordhavn 96 VivieRae II endured ended happily, with the boat’s props being freed of their tangles, the tender being recovered and the Nordhavn withstanding getting banged into by a 130-meter (that’s 426 feet) tanker which was trying to secure a tow line to the stranded VivieRae in dangerous 13-foot waves and 55-knot wind gusts.
Evidence of the three collisions was left on the superstructure of VivieRae, several deep scratches. But they certainly don’t tell the story of just how harrowing it was to be knocked into by a ship nearly 4.5x in size and weight.
Video captured by the crew during the night of the attempted rescue reveals how perilous the conditions were and how catastrophic events could have turned if not for the actions of the crew and the incredible structural integrity of the Nordhavn. VivieRae’s owner, Bob Giles, alluded to being thankful for Nordhavn building a “very strong vessel.”
There have been many instances that have proven the mettle of Nordhavns. The infamous photo of a Nordhavn 40 sitting upright at a dock in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael while other boats lay scattered about, some even leaning against the N40 which sustained only a few scratches, comes to mind. Other less publicized cases include a Nordhavn 76 that t-boned a ship traveling at 18 knots and a Nordhavn 57, full of guests, bearing the full brunt of a direct hit by a giant ship. In both cases, the Nordhavn maintained its integrity, and kept all aboard safe.
Thankfully stories like these are rare, but they do happen. And, says Nordhavn President Dan Streech, that’s why Nordhavns are manufactured the way they are.
“Nordhavns are heavily built, over-built in the eyes of many,” says Streech. “Most Nordhavns go decades or a lifetime and are never tested for their ultimate strength. Then suddenly, in a matter of a few seconds, all of that money spent and all of that heavy laminate and structure and design and engineering are tested. VivieRae passed that test with flying colors. What could have been the loss of a $12 million dollar Nordhavn and maybe injuries or the loss of life was, in fact, only superficial damage that will soon be repaired. VivieRae will be on her way again exploring the oceans of the world but with a little extra swagger – if that is even possible.”