It took three hulls, but Tokkie Elliott finally receives the brand new Motorsailer he dreamed of
On Saturday, July 11, 2009 the commissioning crew from Nordhavn, along with seasoned Nordhavn 56 Motorsailer project manager Pete Eunson, watched as the beautiful Nordhavn 56 hull No. 5 was being lifted off the transport ship in San Diego. After as many as 1,000 similar offloads for other PAE customers over the last 30 years, there was no precedent for what was about to happen.
In her slings, the new Nordhavn 56 started to rise off the deck of the ship. For reasons still unknown to Nordhavn, one of the two Longshoremen crane operators working the tandem crane continued to lift one end of the yacht while the other had stopped lifting. Before long, the load passed the tipping point and the beautiful dark blue hull slid out of the slings and fell approximately 15 feet onto the deck of the ship below. The hull was punctured in several places as her 95,000 pounds grated along the steel ship before dropping 30 feet into the water below.
The Nordhavn crew watched in absolute shock and disbelief as the loose 56 righted herself and began to take on water and drift away from the ship. Securing lines were not yet in place, and after about 20 minutes she began to slip beneath the green waters of San Diego Bay. Gone.
Early Monday morning Tokkie Elliott, the customer who ordered hull No. 5, arrived at the corporate office in Dan Point, Calif., for an 8:30 damage control meeting with PAE partners Dan Streech and Jim Leishman. The session started with everyone in attendance a bit tense over the tragic events that had just taken place. No one was sure what was going to happen next. Was Elliott going to explode with anger? Was PAE going to claim something unreasonable? It seemed anything could happen.
What did happen wound up being as ideal an outcome as one could possibly hope for given the unfortunate set of circumstances. As luck would have it, Nordhavn 56 hull No. 2 was at the docks in Dana Point looking for an owner after her original buyer was unable to complete the transaction. A plan was quickly hashed out giving Elliott the use of hull No. 2 while a new boat was built for him. It was an easy handshake solution given the trust each of the parties had in each other. PAE was also made whole thanks to the insurance carried for many years with Doug Holm from Lockton Insurance in San Francisco, which instantly covered the loss for PAE.
One more person who has yet to be identified will also benefit from this mishap. That would be the lucky customer who saves hundreds of thousands of dollars by purchasing the now available hull No. 2, a 2009 “sea-trialed” 56 complete with electronics and in as-new condition. She is berthed in Dana Point and is ready to go. Call to see her, or register and come to the July 24th Nordhavn Open House at the Southwest sales office in Dana Point. Here you will have a chance to see the N56 M/S hull No. 2 that Elliott cruised to Mexico in, as well as his new 56, which was ordered without the standard center cockpit. This will be the first chance anyone has ever had to make side-by-side comparisons of the two cockpit layouts.
Also on display will be a brand-new Nordhavn 76 an N62, two N57s, as well as a few more boats. Check here for a current listing of available boats to view.
While consumers are used to auto manufacturers crash testing their cars, yacht manufacturers never do. One thing apparent to all after this event: the construction and engineering of our boats is rock solid. Despite its fall, all the windows on the 56M/S stayed in place – not one window was blown out. Proof that Nordhavns are built tough to handle ocean crossings…and more.
And still, the story continues…
Two weeks short of the one-year anniversary of the disastrous event, Elliott’s new Nordhavn 56 Motorsailor has been safely delivered to the commissioning docks in Dana Point and is being prepared for her proud and patient owner. Elliott plans to head north later this summer, then down to Mexico again this fall and winter.