The Origins of the Dream and the Road to Nordhavn.
Updated: Apr 10, 2019
When we first shared the dream is something neither of is is fully sure of. For as long as I can remember, back to being a kid spending my summers in a marina on our family boat, I dreamed of one day sailing the world. Aged 16 I purchased my first "live aboard" boat, and spent as much time as I could on her, and later lived on a slightly larger and upgraded version during my conscription in Toulon. So "when I grew up" I'd one day sail the world.
Di-Enid -like me- had always wanted to live in a waterfront home, so it became one of our goals very early in our relationship. It was one of the main deciding factors in moving away from London (where we actually almost bought a canal front home) to Florida. In 1998 we built our own custom waterfront house in Panama City, and later continued to live on the Bay in Baytown, TX, in the greater Houston area.
Unlike me she had no dreams of living on a boat and sailing the world. Yet, she was more than open to the idea, and being a nature lover could see the attraction in having the freedom to go to all those amazing remote places our blue planet is full of.
I must thank Sir David Attenborough and his wonderful documentary programs.... We found it impossible to watch without adding yet another place on our bucket list, and that meant the boat just became more and more obvious as the years passed.
There is something magical and soothing to living waterfront, and I am sure that also contributed to bringing Di to formulating her own dream. We then worked together to align our visions and come up with a common and shared dream.
We started attending boat shows in the early 2000s, flying around as needed to see as many boats as we could. Originally the sailor in me was looking at sailboats, and with the advent of modern comfortable sailing multi-hulls, we spent many a boat show looking at sailing catamarans.
Each boat show brought us a favorite boat, but somehow we never found one that just hit the spot just right for both of us. Catamarans, even in owners' versions, often have 3 cabins or more. We both gelled around a Seawind 1060, as we found the layout, built quality and overall use of space to our tastes, but we always felt there was something missing to hit the perfect note for both of us.
Then, at a Miami Boat Show we stepped aboard a Kadey Krogen Express 48 just for the fun of it. After all we were looking for sailboats, not power boats, and had the shock of our life. We had seen many power boats, most of the flashy glamour weekender / coastal navigation type, and finding a serious solid well built boat power boat after all the glitz was an eye opener.
The KK48 Express was beyond our price range at the time, but with enough time to save and depreciation on our side, it wasn't completely out of the dreaming range. Nautical range wise however, she could not make a passage to Bora-Bora. This was Di's favorite question "Can she take us to Tahiti?" as basically a boat that can take you there can make it almost anywhere else on earth.
We figured there must be other power boats out there that could make it. So we started looking at the very limited market of "Passage Makers". Passage makers are power boats with very efficient hulls, designed and built with long range destinations in mind. In the smaller sizes we could possibly afford, it turns out the market is fairly limited, with only 3 mainstream boat builders, and a bevy of smaller "one-off" units.
If Tahiti is on your bucket list and you want to go there by small power boat, your choices will be very limited.
So we started concentrating our efforts on passage makers, attending shows that would give us greater opportunities to see as many of them as possible. Trawlerfest events are particularly good, but we were also fortunate enough to have very interesting second hand local boat shows in the Houston area.
At one of them we stepped on a beautiful Defever 48 in impeccable condition, and realized to our delight and fright, that we could afford to buy her NOW, on the spot if that's what we wanted to do. Suddenly the dream had become a lot more tangible, a lot more real. This Defever wouldn't do Tahiti, but would absolutely take us all up and down the coast in absolute comfort. To say we were tempted would be an understatement.... But we held fast to Tahiti.
Still, for the first time there was a boat we could afford, that we both liked, and would allow us to realize a large portion of the dream -minus the Tahiti part-. That was a real eye opener, and focused us even more on similar boat shows.
The following year we visited our first Nordhavn 46. I do not remember how many times we came back to that boat, but both Di and I fell in love right there and then. Nordhavns are just built "right" and offer built-in levels of safety and redundancies that we both wanted.
Eventually, after enough boat shows, internet reading and a lot more research, passage makers in our sizes (between 39 and say 45 feet) boiled down to:
All are excellent boats in their own way. Nordhavn offered more of what Di and I value. Di has seen the roaring forties and furious fifties on our way to Antarctica, has been in force 11 Mistral between Marseille and Corsica on my ferry, so has a decent understanding of the power of the sea. Quality of built, safety and redundancies offered by the Nordhavn 40 just put it in a class of its own in my opinion. Di will take a Portuguese bridge over a larger galley, will ask whether the engine is dry or wet exhaust before asking about cabins, and will want a wing engine more than a flybridge.