Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Final post from Grey Pearl

Grey Pearl, a Nordhavn 62, enters the Strait of Gibraltar after crossing the Atlantic. Photo by Ken Williams.

It is with such a heavy heart that I write this last and final blog of the good ship Grey Pearl.

Early in December, while we were spending the winter at our home in Virginia away from our boat, we received one of life’s dreaded phone calls. Our beloved ‘Grey Pearl’ N6208 was on fire in her slip at Yacht Haven Marina in Phuket, Thailand. The fire started in the early evening of Dec. 6th, 2011, and was detected shortly thereafter. The fire quickly became uncontrollable and threatened the marina and other boats. The marina staff and some brave yachtsmen scrambled to remove her from the slip, tow her up a nearby river and run her aground where she continued to burn for almost another day. Needless to say we are devastated by this horrible tragedy.

In order to tend to this matter and our responsibilities, Braun & I immediately flew from our home in Virginia to Thailand. Of course, the hardest and saddest moment was to see her…it is impossible to describe the heartbreak. To see the pilothouse wheel resting on the charred Lugger main engine…we were overcome. The raging fire had consumed her down to the water line. To put her to rest, we had a “viewing” on a Thursday…and her “burial” with flowers and a final good by on Friday.

Although heartbroken, we do understand how lucky we are…no one was injured! And the damage would have been more catastrophic if not for the brave souls that worked quickly to get the boat out of the slip and thereby save the surrounding yachts and dock.

We’ve had 11 ½ years of absolutely wonderful experiences on the Pearl…and happily, we’ve been able to share that on board passion with so many friends & family. Often we’d sit on our aft “Lido” deck and reminisce about where she’s taken us…Gibraltar, Jounieh, Lebanon, Jementos, Bahamas, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, Elba, Italy, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Aleutian Islands, Panama Canal, Haifa, Israel, Rome, Petropavlovsk, Russia, Bar Harbor, Me., Singapore, Athens…to name just a few.

I personally have never been more challenged, fulfilled and happier doing anything in my life than the time I’ve spent on my ‘Grey Pearl’. And…more importantly, she was a passion Braun & I enjoyed together. She will live on fondly in our hearts & memories . . . forever.

We are still “processing” this calamity so it’s way too soon to say what our future plans will be…but there will be an Act II. The fun is not going to stop.

We’re OK…and, we have the love of family & friends we can count on to get through this painful time…

A special thanks to our dear friends, Carol & Steven Argosy on our buddy boat N62 ‘Seabird’. They remain in Phuket and we deeply regret having to temporarily leave the “Bird and Pearl” cruising team.

Sadly . . . Grey Pearl, Out.

Tina & Braun Jones
Nordhavn 62 Grey Pearl

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nordhavn 50 Ocean Bear for sale

Ocean Bear is a dual-walk-around Nordhavn 50 with a flying bridge. She has a two-stateroom layout featuring a master stateroom amidship with a V-berth forward in the guest stateroom. Click here for more details.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Trawler Time

Oso Blanco, the Nordhavn passagemaker Eric, Annie and Bear Bloomquist call home.

It's 4 am on our third day out from New Caledonia and we have covered over 630 nm in less than 70 hours. I just came back on watch after 8 hrs of wonderful sleep. I woke up slowly in a foggy haze – unsure of where I was and feeling only a gentle motion. The sound of the engine is a distant hum. Are we moving?

This is Trawler Time. The Pacific is just that, peaceful, but still alive. The boat is doing exactly what it is designed to do – working with the sea – not against it and carrying us toward our next destination, safely and smoothly. The eastern horizon has already taken on a pink orange glow foreshadowing another spectacular ocean sunrise. But the sea is not still today. As I came up to the galley for my morning coffee, I expected to see that mirror like, summer morning stillness we so often experience at our little lake in Wisconsin. This morning, the ocean is still providing 3' – 4' swells, but they are so long, so gentle, and graceful that the boat does not rock, roll, or twist about. Oso Blanco slowly rises and settles as each swell passes under. Each individual swell is visible as it gradually approaches us, one after another - lifting our 90 tons like a duck on the lake and softly settling. There is a gentleness to the ocean at times like this, but it's power is unmistakable.

Sometimes during foolish cocktail hours, we get into the unanswerable debate of which is better, a sailboat or a power boat. To me, there is no more wonderful feeling than a finely tuned sailboat on a broad reach, in perfect conditions. The feeling of power, charging through the water, with only the sound of the waves breaking under the bow. It is what sailing dreams are based on.
Most of our sailing friends have never experienced Trawler Time. Yes, the seas are gentle and the sunrise is imminent, but the wind is very light and wandering around the compass like it's had 3 shells of kava. To be under sail at this moment would be rolling from side to side as the sails flop back and forth searching for direction from the wind. When we used to race in these conditions, we said one had to drool over the side to see if we were moving forwards or backwards. But this is our time. Our Nordhavn is purring along at 1350 rpm doing 7.8 kts toward Australia. The systems are working perfectly together and our stabilizing system reduces any roll to a gentle motion. All our doors and ports are open and the soft breeze drifts throughout the boat. With the engine turning so effortlessly deep below, all one is aware of is the sound of the waves as they roll along the hull.

Sailboat vs powerboat is a foolish debate. Out here, we are all doing it our own ways. We take what the sea offers and hopefully we each enjoy our boat and each day. The fact that we get to drink a beer with interesting folks in far away places and discuss such issues shows how lucky we are. The boat is only a means to an end.

But, then there is Trawler Time . . .

—From the blog of Nordhavn 6409 Oso Blanco