Coming on the heels of the successful Around The World (ATW) voyage, P.A.E. was pleased to celebrate yet another circumnavigation - this one by Nordhavn 46 owners Heidi and Wolfgang Hass. On November 15, 2002, the couple re-entered the harbor in Dana Point, CA, and marked the culmination of a 6-year global passage. Dressed in courtesy flags from the more than 30 countries they visited along the way, Kanaloa, the number 48 hull, was received by about 60 people who had gathered along the docks in front of the P.A.E. offices to welcome her back.
The six-year old boat showed minimal signs of age despite the rigorous schedule the Hasses kept her on. There were some repairs along the way due to a freak accident as well as the normal wear and tear experienced by a well-used boat. But Kanaloa never suffered any serious mechanical failures. "We always feel safe and comfortable in our boat," Heidi said.
The adventurous duo could be considered the poster couple for Nordhavn yachts: sailors who were getting on in age but reluctant to give up their passion for bluewater travel. In fact, the Berlin, Germany natives had spent 16 years cruising in their 38-foot sailboat and circumnavigated 2 ½ times before they began to consider moving into a power boat.
Like many tried-and-true sailors, Heidi was originally skeptical to make the transition to a motoryacht. "I still felt like I was pretty young and not ready to give in," Heidi said. "I liked racing. I liked being down close to the water. I liked the thrill." While Wolfgang practically fell in love with the Nordhavn 46 at first sight, it took Heidi a few months out on the water before she realized her sense of adventure wasn't going to be compromised. "You get tired of being whipped the whole time (on a sailboat)," she said. "So I got really used to the comfort, to the room on the Nordhavn. And when you're out in that water, you still get that same (adventurous) feeling - only you're not so tired so it's like you get to enjoy it more."
The Hasses became the latest in a long list of P.A.E. boat owners to go completely around the world. Unlike the company's whirlwind ATW trip which took employees only 7 months to finish, the Hasses took their time to enjoy the cruising lifestyle to its fullest - doubling back to places they particularly enjoyed in Africa and Australia for extended visits.
From Dana Point, they traveled south and along the coast of Mexico, on to the Marquesas, Tahiti and stayed in Fiji to wait out hurricane season. Next they went to Australia, Papua New Guinea, back to Australia, then to Singapore and Malaysia, and South Africa where they stayed for nearly a year. They continued on to the southern part of Africa, to Trinidad, down to Panama and through the Canal, along Mexico and returned to Dana Point.
Among their favorite stops was the African nation of Namibia. The cruising was a little rough, Heidi explained, but the scenery was worth getting there. The area is flanked by deep canyons, high sand dunes and beautiful rock formations. "The people were friendly, the animals were amazing. You really got the feeling you were in Africa," she said. "It was definitely one of the highlights."
They also loved the time they spent with the people of Papua New Guinea. "When you're cruising, you meet a lot of people," Heidi said. "And if you stay in once particular place for awhile, you become involved in their lives." The Hasses spent a lot of time with the locals of the largely poor island nation and showed them how to build water systems to help them farm and supplement their daily water supply needs. In return, the natives taught the couple the best way to catch crab and prepare other indigenous food.
At the congratulatory reception held in their honor, Wolfgang captivated the party-goers with some of the many adventures he and Heidi encountered - including recounting a chance meeting he had with a friendly, yet strong, female orangutan in a Borneo jungle. Later he presented a giant clam shell from Papua New Guinea to P.A.E.'s owners, Dan Streech, Jim Leishman and Joe Meglen, in thanks for designing their seaworthy boat.
Addressing some of the newer Nordhavn owners in attendance, Heidi dismissed concerns of global travel. During their six years in their Nordhavn, they never encountered any pirates, never had any problems receiving a part or getting service for the boat. And everywhere they went, people were always willing to help. ("The nicest people are from the poorest countries," Heidi notes.)
Nordhavns can handle the seas and you get used to them, she said, and added that meeting people is the most worthwhile part of cruising. While docked in San Diego a few days before entering Dana Point, the Hasses ran into a couple they shared breakfast with in Tahiti months earlier.
"The world is so beautiful, you should see it at least once in your lifetime," she said. "You should just go - whether to Hawaii or South Africa. Don't wait until you make more money. You can only eat one steak a day, you know?"
To read an excerpt from the Hasses cruising journal, click here.