Voyage of Egret Forums

Normand Beaupre, Clermont, FL USA asks:
Congratulations for all you've accomplished with this marvelous Nordhavn. I've sailed 22 years on a sail boat. I hope to be the owner of a Nordhavn in the future. For me, it's Nordhavn or nothing. Now, here is my question: in a 30 knot wind, what do you prefer, a head wind or beam wind?

Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Norman, quite honestly we would prefer neither however it does depend on the circumstance. As a sailor with a lot of experience, you know waves are a function of wind speed, duration and fetch. In a reinforced trade wind situation, at sea in deep water, the wave spacing is far enough apart you simply adjust your speed to fit the situation and carry on. Neither head seas nor beam seas are an issue. In a current situation such as the Gulf Stream in a Nor'easter (typical winter weather when a front comes through) with 30 knots sustained, not gusting, you will have to change course to a comfortable and safe heading (more SE) then adjust your course in the lee of the Bahamas Bank. If returning from the Bahamas you would run SW-WSW then turn north near shore but still in deep water.

In a very shallow water situation like in one of the Carolinas' sounds you would simply increase speed, squat the stern and letterip. A lot of water would fly but the ride would be comfortable.

Egret's worst weather was recent when traveling down the southern Argentine coast. We were well offshore (45nm) just to get into 150' of water but were still in a heavy tidal current flow. The wind was sustained over 30 and gusting quite regularly to 45 or so. Even with the Naiad electronic stabilizer controls cranked up we could not come close to maintaining our course in those beam seas. The waves were very tight and powerful. We had to 'powerboat hove too' by running into the seas no more than 5 degrees off the wind and waves motoring W toward shore (Egret's original course was SW) until we could finally fall off a bit more then resume our course when the seas laid down a little. A well-built sailboat could have run off to the SE under little sail but then would have to beat her way back after the blow.

As you know there are an infinite number of combinations of wind and seas. I hope these three examples give you a little insight. You have a worthy goal. If you meet that goal you will see wind and waves aren't that big of a deal after your Nordhavn acclimation. Don't worry about the what ifs. What you will be amazed with is the comfort vs what you are used to.


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