"Around The World"
By P.A.E. Crew
September 2002 Yachts International
Oman to Athens by Jim Leishman
I shudder when I stop to consider that the fear generated by the
attacks almost convinced us to postpone this project. Our fears
were not unfounded, but it turns out I feel safer in Oman than some
of our earlier crew felt in arguably safer waters. The Arabian Sea
and surrounding areas are dotted with British and French navy war
vessels, which are hailing all unidentified ships and requesting
information about their purpose. While docked, Nordhavn crewmembers
Brian Saunders, Paul Grover and I entertained some British Merchant
Navy crew who assured us that we are well protected.
Our 700-mile voyage to Djibouti is uneventful and calm seas allow
for good time. In Djibouti we run into our first major mechanical
problem, a failed gyro. During our three-day stay our local money
and cigarettes are used for basic tasks. We are glad to receive
our replacement gyro by Fed Ex and cast off for our passage through
the many moods of the Red Sea.
At the south end of this waterway we surge along on strong southerlies,
then calms in the middle give way to tough northerlies at the north
end, which produce 20- to 30-knot gusts on our bow and eight-foot
seas that force us down to speeds of four knots. Arriving at the
entrance to the Suez Canal, the pesky northerlies subside and we
take advantage of a calm day to clean Nordhavn and prep her for
the transit. I have passed through the Panama Canal several times
but this is my first visit to the Suez, and I am truly amazed by
the fact that this engineering masterpiece was built almost entirely
by hand over 150 years ago by Egyptian laborers.
We are pleasantly surprised by the sight of hotels, palm-lined
banks, flowers and manicured gardens in the coastal community of
Ismailia. I promise myself I will return to Egypt to see more, but
I can't think about that now. It's time to make the 575-mile leg
across the Mediterranean to Athens-a trip that should take four
days Unfortunately, 30-knot winds force us to hole up in Ormos Chelantros,
a beautiful cove on the Island of North Kasos. After pulling up
the hook and heading out to sea, we are greeted by 60-knot gusts
and 12-15 foot seas, which force us to pull into another anchorage.
Slowly and steadily we make it to Athens, thrilled to see our co-workers
and relieved our part of the trip is now over.
Athens to Barbados By Jeff Leishman
As we take over from the fatigued crew in Athens, we feel refreshed
and ready for the long westerly haul along the Mediterranean Sea.
It's now early April and Pete Eunson and Justin Zumwalt, both P.A.E.
project managers, and I say goodbye to Brian, Paul and Jim, before
Expecting to find a more seasonable pattern than the members of
the last leg found, we are disappointed to find no change in the
grueling weather, which make the trip less enjoyable. We work our
way towards Sicily and the Straights of Messina, where we meet a
steady force six on the nose and rotten weather for three days.
Only while transiting the Corinth Canal do we encounter any sort
As we exit the canal we endure miserable seas until we reach the
Spanish port of Puerto de Villajoyosa for a brief rest before going
back to work and the continuing pleasures of relentless six-foot
seas and 25-knot gales. At this point I'm starting to feel like
Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day-every day it seems as if
I wake in the same time warp. No matter what direction we steer,
we are always heading into foul weather.
Morocco to the left and Spain to the right signifies our approach
into the Atlantic. With a 45-degree turn south towards the Canary
Islands, we finally get northeasterly breezes and float merrily
on calmer swells. The temperature slowly is beginning to rise as
we drop in latitude.
Our arrival in Gran Canaria is made pleasant by the warm smiles
and helping hands of the locals. We are only docked two days at
the hospitable Muelle Deportivo, but I will never forget the people
Those good feelings stay with us for the 800-mile ride to Cape
Verde-until we get off the boat and find ourselves wading through
swarms of flies in thick, mucky water strewn with old fishing nets.
On the way, young hooligans rob us of our passports and money, which
are recovered the next day by the local police (who, in turn, seek
monetary compensation for their heroic efforts).
We make it out to sea and the boat remains stabilized as we cross
the Atlantic. Tropical air and sunshine is out in full force. Fishing
lines are cast every morning, and about 1,100 miles from our final
destination of Barbados we find success! On the hook is a 20-pound
dolphin that we make into dinner.
With Barbados on the radar, we prepare to hand Nordhavn over to
the new team who are busy getting acquainted with the Mount Gay
California Here We Come By Dan Streetch
Taking over as Captain of Nordhavn on her final leg I realize that
I got the easy part of the journey. I begin to get excited about
visiting some old haunts in the Caribbean as we say goodbye to Jeff,
Pete and Justin and head out of Barbados. Tropical breezes, easy
swells, Pina Coladas in the blender and the sounds of jimmy Buffet
fill the atmosphere as project manager Jeff Merrill, technical writer
Mike Gregovich and I make our way to the San Bias Islands.
San Blas holds a special place within my soul. I visited the pristine
islands over 20 years ago in an old 31-foot sailboat embarking from
Dana Point and essentially reversing the final two legs of Nordhavn's
current course. Arriving there I discover, stunningly, the San Bias'
primitive character is still intact.
After spending a couple hundred dollars between us on molas we
raise anchor and head for Cristobal at the Atlantic mouth of the
Panama Canal about 70 nautical miles away.
Finally on May 26, Nordhavn enters the canal's first chamber in
anticipation of jumping over to the Pacific side of things. The
prepping process starts shortly before four in the morning and water
fills the first lock about two hours later.
Approximately 12 hours and $1,200 later, the canal ride is over.
The boat settles in to a slip at the Flamingo Yacht Club for a brief
provisioning run, and then it's up the Pacific Coast.
As we approach Acapuico, fuel reserves are slightly low for comfort
and we decide to trade fuel for time. Calm seas, clear skies and
a school of dolphins playing in the favorable flow welcome us to
Acapuico. The boat is thoroughly cleaned inside and out, oil changed,
fuel reserves topped off and cupboards filled, and it's off again.
After a quick stop for some fuel in Puerto Vallarta, we head on
a direct line to Southern California.
On June 30, 2002 seventeen crewmembers and hundreds of greeters
line the channel in the Dana Point Harbor to cheer us on our victory
lap. After seven months, 24,211 nautical miles and 10,361 gallons
of fuel, Nordhavn is home.