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"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders

Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret documents the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now. “Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.  

Date: November 6, 2008
Boat location: Opua, New Zealand
Scott and Mary's location: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Crikey dix mis amigos, enough is enough. Lets take the time to address this ongoing money deal as a couple of mom and pop cruisers see it. First let us explain we know little about the who done who but go from mountain top to mountain top of information. It is easier that way. Because we are so removed and not being bombarded by the sellers of news on top of their game perhaps we can sit back and look at tings objectively. The world isn't going to end. We all have less than before. Prices will fall because if they don't few will be buying. This too shall pass. Life goes on but it up to us to see what 'life' is. We can wring our hands, donate a bit of stomach lining OR we can be cool, slow down and let this pass. How we let this pass is up to us all. I will tell you candidly exactly what we did - for what it's worth (probably not much, however it is our plan). We did our major purchasing while the USP is strong here in New Zealand. We wired in a modest amount of USP to live on for the next year. This account not only gives us a substantial exchange rate bonus up front but also pays 6.95% on the savings account that feeds the daily account. Not bad for tough times. So we'll cruise as planned, take it easy on spending and will take a look in another year at what is going on with pesos. In the meantime we will have had another great year. All this while some dirt dwelling amigos are addicted to information hacks broadcasting doom and gloom (what sells). Hummmm, lets see, indescribable landscape, royal albatrosses, superb fishing, hiking, great cruising buddies and local countryman, a bit of adventure OR we can watch the boob tube and drink Pepto Bismol cocktails. The choice is yours. You get the picture.

What prompted this tirade is a recent Forum request from a UK resident who has written a few times to the VofE Forum before. What does this have to do with the economy and wave bashing? Quite a lot.

City: torquay
State: devon
Zip: tq2 5tn
Country: GBR
Subject: Woww
Questions: Congratulations. A fantastic climax. However, the timing of your success runs parallel to my 'dream' fading. The Global financial problems have resulted in Sterling falling badly against the dollar, effectively putting up the price of my dream 52 by 25%. I was dreaming for too long. So for me it's probably goodbye to a Nordhavn hello. At least for the time being, and with advancing years the dream becomes less likely to become reality. However, I look forward to reading more of your travels as they unfold. Take care......

Our response:
Thank you, but first its not a climax. We're just getting> started. More importantly, slow down to 7 knots and take the time to rethink your dream. The N52 would be our choice in the next boat up in size from Egret. However, it is just a boat. There are less expensive N alternatives for well less than 25% of a fully outfitted N52. A used N47, 43 or 40 would be available immediately and would preclude the time of new build wait and commissioning. You would gain a full year or more and would still see exactly the same sights, safely and in comfort. You could be cruising within a month! The whole world has lost money including ourselves. Lots of money to us. Investing in a boat is another way of storing money if you choose wisely. It is not lost. Your interest is buying dreams. Priceless. But as you pointed out the clock is ticking for us all. We're not stopping. We could have less ashore or afloat. You know our choice.

My advice to you would be call Southampton. Do the deal. Perhaps not the same deal but a deal that works for you and get on with your dreams. If we all rebound in a few years and you still want your 52, go for it. But think what you have seen and done in the interim. In the meantime; tick, tick, tick.......you get the picture. Ciao.

We had a great flight to Ft Lauderdale, recovered quickly and were looking forward to the boat show. For the first time we have seen and heard the gloom and doom virtually the rest of the informed world has been subjected to in the past weeks. I have to admit the written media we have been exposed to is depressing. Neither Mary nor I have watched TV and won't allow ourselves to be sucked into that depression as well. I'll stand on what we wrote above because in the big picture I still believe it to be so.

Arriving at the show I ran into a number of formerlife associates still in the industry. Without exception they rattled off depressing figures of industry layoff's and boat plant closings. However I will say I have seen this before during different crisises where the weak, underfunded or bottom end builders don't make it. As before, the cream rises to the top and will again. The mega yacht builders are going full blast with few if any cancellations and the better builders are sold out for years. Perhaps this informed group of high end buyers have a message for us all.

So far we spent two full days at the show and have learned a lot. We'll pass along some items of interest. I mentioned in the past we are looking into long term energy savings (fuel). If the payout over 5-7 years makes sense we'll spend the money up front while we are in New Zealand with their excellent worker skills and favorable exchange rate. After our initial spending flurry buying a dink, two outboards, a 100amp battery charger and batteries there are two major items we are looking into; possible generator downsizing and refurbishing our under counter Sub Zeros (separate fridge/freezer) or replacing the refrigeration with more efficient units.

First we'll address the generator issue. Egret has a 12KW Northern Lights generator that has never missed a beat by its own hand. (We caused the generator engine to suffer but it is not a generator issue but an unusual problem we had no control over and nothing that will happen to you in all probability) We cruise differently than most and use the generator for simply charging the batteries. During battery charging we run the washer, drier or watermaker as needed. We have almost zero hours running the gen for heating or cooling. Bottom line is we can't load the gen without running the watermaker or dryer. When it is hot we run 3 zones of air set to 60 degrees F with the doors open and conversely we run the heat set to 90 degrees F with the doors open when it is cooler (to keep maximum load on the generator). By not loading the generator we run the risk of taking out the valves and or glazing the cylinder walls making for expensive repairs. This is very typical in the sailboat industry where the main engine is used to charge the batteries on anchor running at fast idle. It is not unusual to ruin a new sailboat engine in 1000-1200 engine hour this way.

We were looking into changing the generator to a smaller unit for two reasons: 1. Save fuel 2. Load the gen properly allowing it to come to temperature. These are two completely different issues. We learned a BIG lesson about the first issue of saving fuel. Previously during a flurry of e-mails with cruising buddy Milt Baker aboard N47 Bluewater, Milt decided to give the generator fuel burn issue a test. BW has a 12KW and a 6KW N/L generator. Milt ran both units for the same amount of time several hours, carefully watching the small fuel usage reporting tank on top of BW's day tank. (This graduated tank is VERY accurate) Milt's observation was both generators burned the same amount of fuel at the same AMP load (not the same percentage of load). At the time YT's little pea brain couldn't accept the fact a 50% smaller unit would burn the same amount of fuel as its larger companion. So I charged it off to M perhaps miscalculating. Well guess what? The engineer at Northern Lights confirmed Milt's observation at the show. It takes the same amount of energy (fuel) to generate the same amount of amps whether in a 6KW or 12KW.

So now here are our generator options:

1. Continue as before and be at risk of damaging the engine.

2. Have an electrician wire in a 220V outlet where we can plug in a space heater to artificially load the generator. (115V wouldn't work because this would just load the inverter)

3. Replace the 12KW with the newer style and more efficient 9KW (the previous generation 8KW doesn't meet current emissions). The load we have available would be a larger percentage of power on the 9KW vs the 12KW and would bring the generator up to temperature easier giving it a longer life.

We'll let you know when we make our decision.

The second issue is refrigeration. The door seals on both units need replacement as well as an undiagnosed issue of extreme amp draw from the freezer. The units have been in full time service for the past 7 years so I suspect that is their normal service life. Here we have 3 options as I see it at this time.

1. Completely refurbish the Sub Zeros and continue on as before.

2. Replace the door seals, remove the compressor along with Sub Zeros running hardware and use the existing boxes in conjunction with Frigoboat's innovative keel cooled 12V DC compressors that use no water pump. The estimated amp draw for both units combined would be under 100 amps a day. If that is true our 600 watts of solar panels would supply nearly, if not all Egret's daily electrical needs. frigoboat.com

3. Remove the Sub Zeros and replace both units with self contained (as Sub Zeros) Isotherm units. We would use the Isotherm model Cruise 200 refrigerator/freezer in conjunction with the Cruise 90 freezer. The storage capacity combined would be the same as the Sub Zero's. Both have stainless steel finishes, much better insulation than the Sub Zero's and a number of other features. They use compressors that run on different voltages but we would wire them for 12V DC only. (Using DC power we immediately gain 17% lost in the inverter conversion from DC to AC) The amp draw is about the same as the Isotherm according to the brochure, but in reality I believe the draw will be a bit more being air cooled vs water cooled. The freezer is shorter than a Sub Zero so the top mounted compressors would be easy to provide additional cooling with a 24/7 pancake fan blowing past the compressors out a stainless steel grill we would have fabricated. Another feature of the Isotherm units are the air inlet holes built into the units on either side of the door for ventilation.

I believe the Isotherm units will be the option we choose. We are looking into final installation dimensions as a double/double check. The costs are reasonable and are available at lewismarine.com at a discounted price. indelwebastomarineusa.com

A small item we bought is an adapter to use with our hooka rig (air pump for diving) allowing us to hook up a blow nozzle for different uses. The other day I was detailing the main engine and generator. It would have been nice to have compressed air to blow off the excess water. The generator is in such pristine condition we don't have to paint a single part to make it look new. The main, even after all these hours only needs the exhaust manifold and header tank painted to make it look new.

After arriving in New Zealand we gave thanks to folks who made the trip possible or better; PAE, Lugger and OMNI Bob (weather forecasting) and of course, My Sweetie. Walking thru the boat show we ran across one glaring omission. Naiad stabilizers. Since upgrading to the latest Multi Sea II electronic control stabilizers in Argentina we have enjoyed a hugely increased level of comfort with not a single maintenance problem.

So there you have it. A little soap box, a little boat show and a little food for thought. Ciao.

 

 

 

 

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