Monday, August 9, 2010

Failure isn't an option for this 13-year-old Nordhavn

Steven and Carol Argosy of the Nordhavn 62 Seabird (photo) are one of three Nordhavn couples who have buddy-boated from Alaska to Hong Kong via Russia and Japan in what they have dubbed the Great Siberian Sushi Run (GSSR).

On a two-day passage from the southernmost islands of Japan to the Ta Shing yard in Taiwan where the three boats were built, Steven reflected on what it means to be voyaging the world in a Nordhavn. Here's an excerpt from his blog:

Nordhavns are built to cruise in the most unimaginable conditions safely, but it doesn’t mean that it is perfectly comfortable and that we look forward to it or enjoy it. Sometimes you just get caught in the stuff even though the weather was supposed to be clear. Those are the times I am glad to be in a Nordhavn.

On long passages, you can encounter simply miserable weather for days at a time. Head seas with 25-30 knot winds may not seem like much when you are doing a 3- or 4-hour passage, but over a period of four or five days, the 7- to 10-foot seas that go along with that can wreak havoc on a lesser boat—not to mention the crew. For instance, after a day or so of constant pounding, cabinetry can start to deteriorate, drawer fronts fall off, refrigerators loosen from their mounts and all hell can break loose. Other things, like deck hardware, fittings and even your anchor mounts start to fall apart and windows can fail. Big “picture windows” in the pilothouse are great at the dock, and show well at boat shows, but in the real world, waves can hit and smash the ¼-inch glass flooding the pilothouse, pretty much dooming the boat.

There are a few manufacturers that are making big claims about their boats, but none of them can match the 4-million ocean miles that Nordhavns have gone. One in particular has been very vocal in criticizing Nordhavn, touting a new boat that they are producing as a better passagemaker, but without a single mile under its hull. Go figure. Like Dan Streech, PAE’s president, says, “Talk is cheap.”

I can tell you from experience that this 13-year-old boat has been pounded for days on end in simply awful conditions without a single structural failure. So, there!
Seabird has been traveling in the company of Braun and Tina Jones aboard the Nordhavn 62 Grey Pearl and Ken and Roberta Williams aboard the Nordhavn 68 Sans Souci.

Ken, as he is such a prolific blogger and author, is often see as the GSSR ringleader but the fact is that Roberta was instrumental in making the adventure happen when she sold Carol on the GSSR concept after Braun floated the idea. The next day, Ken and Steven learned from their wives that they were taking their Nordhavns to Asia via the Aleutians.

The inspiration for the GSSR comes from the experience of John and Veronica Kennelly who crossed the North Pacific via the Aleutians in the Nordhavn 62 Walkabout with their three children in 2007.

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