Tom Waring, Bahrain, BHR asks:
Hi Scott and Mary,
I have read all your Captain's log posts which are truly inspirational!
'My Time' beckons! I am a 48 years old Brit and (what I initially
thought was a mild mid-life crisis but it just won't go away) I am
keen to start 'The Big Adventure'. My work in the Middle East is
nearly over and I am looking at retiring now (or at least taking 3 or
more years off work)and have long followed Nordhavn's as a possible
way of getting out and seeing the world while I am still relatively
able bodied. Prices have come down and there's a few Nordhavn's available at the moment....
I have very little relevant experience at sea (I owned a plastic
fantastic 65' flybridge gin palace a few years back when living in
Hong Kong, which had a captain and crew so all I did was open
beer/wine bottles and pay the bills..... with working hard to keep the
bills paid taking up most of the
time!) and so I was wondering what advice you would have for someone
like me to start with?
I am thinking about taking the plunge, so to speak, spend a few months
based in the US to buy a suitable boat and do some boat handling and
mechanical training and then start The Adventure with a professional
captain (and maybe crew) for as long as it takes and then take it from
My wife is not going to want to cross the oceans, but she and our two
teenage kids would join up around the world as their school holidays
As I'm going to want to have the family join me and live aboard for
about half the year (while maybe cruising locally wherever we are at
the time)I'm going to need a reasonably large boat to accommodate
everyone and really like the look of the Nordhavn 62. My dream is to
start from the West Coast and begin the journey across the Pacific
with Hawaii as the first stop....
So, I was wondering if you would have any advice on size of boat and
my approach to this crazy adventure? Is a N62 too big or would I be
better with a N55?
Also, how would you recommend someone like me gets trained for the
mechanical side of the challenge? It seems to me you are permanently
stripping down/repairing/reassembling something on Egret and I will
need to get properly trained on how to maintain the various systems on
whatever boat is to be my passagemaker and home for the next three or
so years. I was thinking maybe living on board my new boat for a few
months in a port somewhere (probably on the west coast) and try and
arrange for various people to help me learn the mechanical skills and
maintenance routines to keep the boat safe for when The Adventure
finally begins! Expensive but suspect this might be a worthwhile investment....
How might I go about finding a good/experienced captain for something
like I am planning?
I want to prepare properly for The Adventure (I aim to live to a ripe
old age and am concerned for my family's safety too) but at the same
time I don't want to die waiting! Do you have any ideas or advice?
Sorry this has turned out so long and I appreciate any thoughts or
ideas you might have in response.
Keep up the postings and kind regards, Tom
Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Tom, what an opportunity you have to look forward to. Particularly at you and your family's age. In my opinion, the greatest gift you could ever give your children is what I call the gift of water. First I would contact your nearest Nordhavn representatives at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Southampton, U.K.) Now let us look at the issue at hand.
Having a captain is a good way to get started on a larger boat without boating experience. South African friends of ours did just that. They bought their boat on the U.S. east coast then hired a captain until they felt confident. After transiting the Panama Canal with the captain they crossed the Pacific on their own (with three children) and are currently in Australia heading for Indonesia. Other friends aboard a N62 hired a captain after a lifetime of boating but didn't want to give up The Life just because "I don't bend well anymore". The captain slept in the forward stateroom. The N55 has a largish stateroom behind the pilothouse that accommodates a captain well and keeps the boat more private. If I were to buy new in your position I would look hard at the N60 or the new N63 that has an aft pilothouse like the N62. A professional Nordhavn salesman can give you all the details.
The mechanical end is nothing to worry about. At first everything is intimidating but within a short time things become more familiar and will fall into place. There are thousands of us around the world doing what what Mary and I enjoy and very few or none of us started our cruising life as competent mechanics/engineers. I would use your captain as a tutor showing you the different systems. As far as boat handling, with the larger boat's hydraulic bow and stern thrusters docking isn't an issue. By your second attempt you will be docking the boat like a pro.
Now let me make a suggestion. There are two places in the world we visited that would be perfect for your situation. The Mediterranean and the U.S. east coast. Both places offer calm water cruising during the summer season and I would include the Bahamas in the U.S. east coast area for winter cruising. Both places require minimal navigation skills and have a lot to see. After your first 6 months with a captain your skills will be such you may wish to go it alone or keep the captain. If you choose the U.S. east coast for your cruising tutorial and then decide to cruise the Pacific, in a matter of weeks after heading south you will arrive at the Panama Canal then head west across the Pacific. By this time you will have absolute skills and your family will be comfortable as well.
The crucial first step is the most important. Pick up the phone or send an e-mail and start the process. The anticipation carrot will fuel you new adventure like wildfire. And then it gets better. I wrote an upcoming article in Yachting Magazine addressing most people's concerns about taking the first step. In a separate e-mail we will have the article sent for you and your family to read. After reading the article pick up the phone and start Your Time. You won't regret it.
Once you are in the Nordhavn system you will have access to the Crew Available section of the website. Here you begin your steps to finding a captain with which you will feel comfortable.
Good luck to you and your family (actually you make your own luck). Ciao.