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  • Capt. Eric

Southern California, Part 2. Dana Point: Taking Enfin Home.

At Nordhavn headquarters

The second half of Southern California started with a very easy short trip from Long Beach to Newport Beach, a few hours in calm weather.

Entrance to Newport Beach. Very expensive houses

Once past the entrance jetties, we still had another 20 minutes at reduced speed to make it all the way to our marina, Newport Beach Marina Park, a public marina on the peninsula. We had been quoted $320 a night in another nearby marina, so were relieved to find this one at "only $100" a night.

Its location was perfect, with a nice grassy city park nearby and a cute little beach. The docks were brand new, and the attendants very helpful, taking care of our lines and connecting our electricity.

Beautiful beach on the bay side, Newport Beach

We enjoyed our stay, again doing the tourist walks along the beach, the pier and ogling at the incredibly expensive houses and condos. Just as a frame of reference, the medium home price in Newport Beach is 2 million dollars. Waterfront and beach front properties are much more expensive.

As fun as it was, this is just not our scene, so we're happy being transients and just visiting. We ended the stay with a burger and fish and chips at our local marina restaurant. All in, with the soft drink, and small desserts we spent $100, so we will forever refer to Newport Beach as the $100 burger place.

Toys for rich people
Ferries crossing

The real highlight of this part of the trip was next: Dana Point. This is where we'd be taking Enfin home.

I wrote a post on the Nordhavn Dreamers forum about our great visit, as I wanted to share the experience with a larger audience, and below are the most important passages:

"Windy is forecasting 4 knots of wind, gusting 8 knots with 2 to 3 feet old swell" I told Di. "Better secure the boat for sea", I joked further as we were preparing to leave Newport Beach heading for Dana Point. We were in the middle of the great winter to summer transition: After spending 5 years in the North and colder weather, we were now getting our summer gear out of deep cabinets where it had stayed untouched all that time, and would be replaced with the much bulkier winter gear still strewn out all around the boat. Enfin was in a bit of a mess to say the least, and with the perfect weather ahead, neither of us made a great effort to get things organized. Windy was right, and the passage was about as uneventful as can be. I found myself drifting away in my thoughts, only to be brought back to reality by Di saying "It means that much to you doesn't it?" Yes it did: I'd become a little "verklempt" as I was thinking of the destination ahead. On a boat like Enfin, the passage is often as important as the destination, if not more. Today, the destination was all I could think about.

To be more accurate, it had been on my mind for a long time: Taking Enfin back to Dana Point, where she was built and where Nordhavn's main office is.

Strike a pose!

Without making an already long story even longer, fate had worked against a Southward trip for all these years, and only now, after a cancer diagnosis and family events, chemos, radio and immuno-therapy treatments, could we finally head down with the blessing of my Doctor. My 2 year Petscan confirmed my remission is holding, so we could finally go. All this time, Nordhavn teams had been there for us when we needed them. Neither Di nor I have many fond memories of my various treatments obviously, but I will never forget receiving a "care package" from Nordhavn. I was in a bad way, in bed, when Di brought this huge package in my room. It was full to the brim with Nordhavn T-shirts, caps, calendars and other goodies. I got out of bed to model my new Nordhavn look and I know Di and I smiled more than we had in quite a while. It wasn't about the shirts. They meant that one day we would be back home on Enfin. Getting back home was my great motivator, a goal I would one day reach and would make all my current woes worth it. And that day I'd take Enfin down to Dana Point.

Enfin is home

I had been talking to Amy in Dana Point about our calendar photo: The previous year Enfin had been chosen as the October girl in the yearly Nordhavn calendar. This year I told Amy how fate had me stuck in Lyon, France, and that I had no new photos to submit, but I was looking forward to one day taking new beautiful photos. That's when the care package idea took hold. Later, when my elderly Dad passed, Julie in the Nordhavn Anacortes office helped us get a transient berth in Anacortes for 3 months. Not as easy as it sounds. I was also in touch with many other Nordhavn team members as we cruised, whether about a spare part or general info. They always made us feel part of the full Nordhavn experience, even though we have one of the smallest and older N around, not even bought through their brokerage! Pure class.

Blending in with the palm trees

Reaching Dana Point, we squeezed in our tight slip in full view of the Nordhavn office, and we hadn't even finished our maneuver that Don and a couple were already waving at us. They helped us connect our electrical cords, and before I even had time to shut the pilothouse down, we invited them on board. Don was the President of PAE when "Sea Browser" (4023's first name) was built here, so he is extremely familiar with the N40s. With him were a couple of dreamers, who reminded Di and I very much of ourselves a few years back. We showed them Enfin, a little ashamed of how messy we'd left the boat. Let's call it "lived in".

Di had cleaned and polished the galley not long ago

I'm sure a Nordhavn 40 can be toured in a few minutes. After all, it's not exactly big. But if you let Di and me show you around, we're going to share our passion for our home, and explain why we love it so much. We'll show you the incredible craftsmanship all around. The perfect wiring with detailed labels that match the owner's manual drawings. We'll show you how each cabinet can be easily taken out to reveal access to the insides of the boat. We'll show you the redundancies, love and thought put into every detail. How the washing machine can be taken out of the guest cabin without destroying anything. How simple and clever the fuel system is. How safe the Portuguese bridge is, how nice (and rare) it is to have a properly sized engine room and full pilothouse on a 40 foot boat. We'll open cabinets and show you how deep they are and why we can live full time on a "small" boat. How the small fridge works fine for a couple away for weeks from any grocery shop. Basically why we've done about 7,000 miles already despite our hardships, with no sign of stopping.

Lunch with Dan and Jeff

Eventually we did make it to the Nordhavn office, where we were expected. I lost count of the fist bumps (I still do not shake hands as a prudent measure in my immunocompromised state), and the friendly faces. We were ushered into Dan's office - a nice but not ostentatious CEO corner office- and finally got to meet him after years of online conversations. Such a nice and reserved man, with a clear understanding of what Nordhavn is and where they are going. Jeff, Justin, Amy, Sue, Brian, and plenty more. Thanking Amy in person for her "above and beyond" help. Grabbing the many packages we'd had shipped there in preparation of our trip to Mexico and finding some more in our cockpit when we got back. It all went by in a blur, even the lunch with Dan and Jeff, as delightful and interesting as it was.

Thanks to Nordhavn's shipping department

The destination proved to be all I wished for and more. Enfin, and crew were home. We had another dreamer visit the boat the next day, making for 3 visits in a few days overall. It's so nice to see the dream living on.

We just feel so lucky everyday to be able to live our dream, with no intention of stopping anytime soon.

San Diego was next, just a strategic stop to divide the distance remaining to Ensenada, Mexico where our temporary entry permits (TIP) have us arriving on the 01st October.

I had sought to get a marina at the entrance of San Diego bay, but as luck would have it they proved difficult. They wanted us to carry $500,000 protection and liability insurance (PandI) and insisted that we should add them as name insured on our policy.

We've sailed the whole length of the US Pacific Coast now, from Alaska to San Diego, and it was the first time we've been asked for $500,000 PandI. I wasn't about to get additional coverage for just 6 days in a marina. We carry a more standard $300,000, which under international law is probably way too much already since the limit is dependent on vessel tonnage. Enfin is really small, so our international limit reflects it.

Additionally I wasn't about to name them as co-insured. We change marinas every few days and I'm not about to call my insurance broker every 5 days to change our coverage. This only applies in other marinas when we stay a long time, and never for transient berths.

Arriving San Diego

A bit of luck really, as I then chose a marina in Chula Vista, all the way south of the bay. This had two unsuspected benefits: We got to pass by the whole US Navy Pacific fleet and see downtown San Diego from the boat, and we met another Nordhavn legendary boat: UUB V, the first ever Nordhavn. She is a Nordhavn 46, and I had just seen a drawing of her in the reception of Nordhavn's office in Dana Point.

PAE, Pacific Asian Enterprise, was a sailboat builder before striking on a simple idea: Build long distance passage makers power boats, using their solid sail-boating experience. The Nordhavn 46, with its fishing boat sea kindly line was born, and every Nordhavn since has carried in its genes a remnant of the sailboat builder they once were.

Enfin, like most Nordhavns, has a long full keel for example, reminiscent of older strong sailboat designs, amongst many other sail inspired features.

UUB V's owner is an older gentleman, George, who follows our blog and my various writings, so he knew exactly who we were, especially Princess! I think we were as excited to meet him as he was us.

San Diego hosts a huge part of the Navy's fleet

We spent time with George over the next days. He very kindly gave us his double kayak, refusing any money we offered, and I spent part of a morning trying to get his main engine to start. We figured out one of his batteries was dead, maybe another too. Progress was made, but we didn't get to run his engine.

Our new kayak. George and I both grinning

The next day we helped him fuel up his other boat at the top of the bay: It entailed a long tourist cruise up the bay, and we approached the various ships much closer than I would dare with Enfin.

Fueled up we made our way back to Chula Vista, with a lunch stop on the way back. A great couple of days, many stories of a lifetime of sailing various boats and his Nordhavn, and memories Di and I will cherish for a long time.

Getting close

Meeting like minded people when cruising is probably one of the nicest benefits of our life style.

Di took us close to the fuel dock

Just a pleasant day on the water

Followed by a great lunch

Back home , I started working on where we'd safely stow our new kayak: Di and I had long thought of getting a smaller and lighter second means of getting ashore, as our tender is a little heavy to beach, even if really good in rocky shores.

Our new kayak looking like it always belonged there. Thanks George!

Luckily our marina had a West marine shop nearby, so a quick bike run yielded 2 kayak holders to fit our stern railing.

The kayak is just the right length to fit safely, and be raised or lowered using our crane. Perfect!

It'll be fun to have a new way of getting ashore in warmer climates, and we'll have to get Princess used to riding passenger with us.

Our first task the first time we use it down South will be to get the kayak clean and shiny.

Overall we had fun in Southern California. We met really nice people, but we'll still say that it's not "our scene".

We much prefer coasts that offer many more interesting cruising features, and look forward to arriving in the Sea of Cortez in a few months.

We'll be off to Ensenada to arrive on the date our TIP starts, and we're thinking we're going to spend a couple of months there. It's been a long time since we've stopped in a marina for a long time just for pleasure, and not linked to any emergency. We'll be in one of the best rated marinas on the coast, belonging to a 5 star hotel with very nice amenities. Swimming pools, jacuzzis, various restaurants and a spa to name a few.

We probably both deserve a little vacation after the last 3 years.

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