Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sound advice for Nordhavn Dreamers

Judy and Milt Baker cool off in mid-Atlantic while en route to Europe.

If you're interested in someday owning a Nordhavn, you should join Nordhavn Dreamers, a Yahoo discussion group started by Callum McCormick.

Circumnavigator senior contributing editor Milt Baker recently posted a message that everyone with Nordhavn aspirations should read and heed:

Circumnavigators Lin and Larry Pardey have spent their lives living and cruising in small boats. They got it right when they said this in one of their early books:

"Go small, go simple, go now!"

Cruising in a Nordhavn is terrific, a truly wonderful experience. But it isn't necessary or even desirable to wait until you can afford a Nordhavn to go cruising. Buy a smaller, simpler boat as your "learning boat," and spend time fixing her up, maintaining her, and, most of all, gaining experience cruising her. If you buy a quality brand in good repair to start with, your efforts will be repaid many times over and you'll gain the experience to (a) pick a better Nordhavn (new or used) when the time comes, (b) become self-sufficient operating and maintaining your Nordhavn, and (c) truly enjoy your cruising your Nordhavn far and wide.

Judy and I bought our first yacht, a Tupperware 22-footer, more than 30 years ago. Since then, we've owned a three sailing yachts and four motor yachts and have cruised them near and far, a total of over 100,000 miles. We've made just about every mistake a cruiser can make but we've enjoyed the trip and it's been a great and learning experience. By the time we could afford a Nordhavn we had a well-defined and tightly focused idea what we wanted in an ocean-crossing power boat and how it ought to be outfitted. Since taking delivery of Bluewater four years ago, we've tested her on intracoastal, coastal and offshore passages, cruised the Bahamas and the Caribbean, crossed an ocean, cruised the Eastern Seaboard and the Mediterranean, and four years later are still happily cruising the boat six months a year. We've put about 22,000 miles and 3,300 engine hours on her and we look forward to a lot more.

In case the message of this little sermon isn't clear, let me be succinct. Don't wait for the perfect boat because it exists only in your mind. If you cannot afford a Nordhavn, buy another good yacht that you can afford, then get out there and start cruising. Do that and you and your admiral will likely learn a great deal and enjoy the experience. If you do enjoy it like so many of us do, you'll find a way to work your way up to larger, more capable yachts. If you don't, you're not out much money!

But if you don't get out there and do it sooner rather than later, you're putting the whole dream at risk. So get moving!

--Milt Baker, Nordhavn 47 Bluewater, Hilton Head Island

The Nordhavn 47 Bluewater was the lead boat for MedBound 2007 organized by the Bakers.

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