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"Around The World In A Nordhavn 40"
By Peter Swanson
December 2001 Passage Maker


Nordhavn trawlers have a reputation as being bulletproof, and the builders is staging a test of the new Nordhavn 40 that may well prove it. Literally.

This month, a crew from Pacific Asian Enterprises was scheduled to set out on a 26,000-mile, 26 week around-the-world voyage to test whether its smallest, full-displacement model can match the oceangoing achievements of its larger siblings as told in the pages of this magazine.

To chronicle the adventure, the folks at PAE have invited marine journalists to tag along on each of 15 legs. I call my leg (and this is where the bullets come in) piracy-to-civil war leg, otherwise known as Singapore to Sri Lanka.

Consider this report from the Australian Broadcasting System: "Indonesia's waters include the narrow Straits of Malacca, separating the coast of Sumatra from Malaysia, and close to Singapore. The straits are the most pirate-infested waterway in the world, where buccaneers are exacting an increasingly heavy toll on international shipping."

Not only is piracy a growing problem near the coast of Sri Lanka, as well, but there's a full scale civil war under way between the government and a ferocious and well-armed group called Tamil Tigers, which apparently has a small navy of its own.

PMM's Bill Parlatore, is also attending one leg of the voyage-what I call the roses-and-champagne leg-when the 40 returns to company headquarters at Dana Point, California, from Acapulco sometime in May 2002. This assumes, of course, having successfully repelled boarders previously. Aargh.

The circumnavigation will cross the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, go through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean, cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and up to California. The route was chosen based on weather conditions for the time of year.

(In complete contrast to this take-no-prisoners dash around the globe, the four Nordhavns in Polynesia (in the last issue) continue at cruising speed across the Pacific.

Rover is in Pago Pago, on her way next to Western Samoa. The island-hopping continues as the Maloneys make their way to New Zealand. John Imle continues westward progress with Janet McClintock aboard Bagan, now in Tonga.

The Wilsons, aboard Karma, are moving relatively quickly to New Zealand, having spent far less time among the islands as those on the other boats. And slowest of the fleet of four are the Wallaces, aboard Atlas. They are fully absorbing the experience, having spent a month in Marquesas before moving on to Tahiti. They are truly meandering their way across the Pacific.

It's interesting that the men and women on these four boats, originally planning to convoy together, have found their own individual pace and itinerary, likely a result of the crews gaining confidence and a greater level of self-sufficiency.)

The Nordhavn 40, powered by Lugger with a Yanmar get-home engine, has a range of more than 4,000 nautical miles at 6 to 7 knots. It is stabilized with electronic stabilizers as well as flopperstoppers. Nordhavn folks are particularly proud of the maintenance strakes, which are bulges beneath the engine that enhance hull efficiency and allow the engine to sit lower.

Jim Leishman is PAE vice president and captain from California to Singapore. He explained the purpose of this unusual voyage, saying: "This is one of the most seaworthy boats we have ever built, and we're just as comfortable taking this trip in this model as we would be in one of our larger models. We want our customers to know that they can really take these boats anywhere in the world."

What I want to know is this: Are the liners made of bullet-resistant Kevlar?

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