James McFall of Auburn, WA, asks:

It is with great interest that I've been following the adventures of 'Nordhavn 40 ATW'. Since my wife Trudie and I, along with our friend Ron, helped Jim Leishman crew this boat (hull 21) from Dana Point to Seattle in May of 2001, I feel we have a small part in the voyage, having helped 'shake her down' in preparation for the ATW voyage. I think we did a good job of testing this boat, particularly in the hours leading up to our arrival in Port Orford, Oregon (sea conditions were a 'little' rough). I think Jim would agree! That boat is unbelievably tough. Despite challenging conditions, it was an honor to be included in that journey, and to stand watch and be responsible for a vessel of that caliber.

I have a keen appreciation for the challenges the crews have, and will face on this incredible voyage. That appreciation is something that wouldn't have been possible prior to our Dana Point to Seattle passage. There is nothing like a little time spent offshore in a small trawler to find out something about yourself. Many thanks to Jim. It was an unforgettable 11 days. I wish everyone the best, and look forward to reading all about your high seas adventure!

My questions for Capt. Leishman: How were the Naiad issues handled (actuator shaft, backing blocks). Did you reduce fin size for this trip?

Jim Leishman responds:

NAIAD thoroughly reviewed the problem we had with the fin actuators (the starboard actuator arm broke in heavy seas off of the Oregon Coast on two identical N40's - hulls #20 and #21 - while cruising together on the voyage up the coast) and determined that the mounting bolts which hold the actuator assembly in the hull were interfering with the movement of the tiller arm on each fin - on both boats. It is believed that the interference caused added stress on the actuator arm and they fractured in an identical manner.

Upon arrival in Seattle both fin actuators were removed from our hull #21 and the blocks reglassed into position. The actuators were reinstalled as original and the boat went off to Alaska accumulating about 3,500 miles up the inside passage and then made another 1,200 mile passage down the coast with no fin problems. Prior to departure for the ATW trip, NAIAD engineered a larger actuator ram and retrofitted it to our boat - along with a larger hydraulic pump to handle the larger displacement rams. We decided to leave the original 6 sq. foot fin bladed on the boat and so far (almost 7,000 miles and 1,000 hrs later) the system has been flawless.

Also, is anyone using the electronic 'Reliefbands' to help counter sea sickness? (We were all using them on our coastal trip to Seattle. It was funny to see small, flashing lights on everyone's wrist at night!)

No electronic relief bands, but lots of Marizene and Bonine. We still have some of the wrist bands aboard but in actuality all the rough water so far encountered has been on the stern and the motion has been much easier than the headsea condition we encountered off the Northwest Coast.

Last question: Have you ever had better chocolate chip cookies than the ones we had while anchored in Port Orford? What a great time we had laughing with the crew from 'Chinook' (N40-20).

No - nor the prime rib you cooked before departing Dana Point!


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