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September 27, 2017

Reflections on the delivery of 5901

By Garrett Severen

As N5901 waited out the passing of Hurricane Jose last week to commence traveling down the coast from East Greenwich, RI to Annapolis, MD, the model’s project manager, Garrett Severen, reflects on the stellar trip he and his crew took delivering the boat up from Florida. Pre-hurricanes, the voyage was the sort that convinces people to get into cruising in the first place.

On August 17, we departed our office in North Palm Beach, FL to deliver the Nordhavn 59 Coastal Pilot up to Rhode Island, where she was to make her official East Coast debut in the Newport International Boat Show. We being myself, Nordhavn salesman Eric Leishman, mechanic Doug Harris and guest crew Ed Stead. I was really excited about the chance to make this extended trip up the coast in 5901. I’d spent hours poring over her specs and outfitting her interior, not to mention multiple visits to the factory to oversee production. Finally, a chance to spend some quality time aboard.  Sure, I’d been out on her a number of times while she was on the west coast, but this was the opportunity to really see what she was made of, get a sense of exactly what it was our customers would get to experience on their own 59 CP - like Ed, who will soon be taking delivery of hull #3. I figure Ed is probably a little more excited than me...but only a little.


PAE’s co-owners and staff had already brought 5901 down the west coast from Seattle, so she’d been broken in pretty well, and by their account, had performed flawlessly. I knew it was going to be an awesome trip.

Things started off without much fanfare; calm conditions, the Gulf stream pushing us along to reach speeds around 12-13 knots and burning less than 10 gallons an hour. Pretty impressive performance. Less impressive, however, was our fishing productivity. Off the coast of Jacksonville, we were about to call it a night when something caught our eye bobbing around in the water. At first glance, we thought it was a whale carcass, but on closer examination we realized we’d stumbled upon a capsized boat.We circled looking for survivors but found nothing and called it in to the Coast Guard. It was definitely a little freaky to see that overturned vessel just lying there. You wonder what circumstances led up to this end result. A whizz of the reel shook us all out of our daze and a roar of “Fish on! Fish on!” had us scrambling for the rods. Turns out the bizarre capsized boat was hiding a whole boatload (very punny) of Dorado.They were biting every line we threw out. In about 20 minutes time we landed six real nice Mahi-Mahi. As the boat’s official chef, I was excited to test my culinary prowess on our catch of the day!

Well into Day 2 and nearing Charleston, South Carolina, we started losing the extra push from the Gulf Stream. Not only that but we picked up an opposing current with a cross wind. The seas became confused and the super comfy ride we’d enjoyed the past 48 hours had vanished, too. Not to worry, though, because we were able to really use the semi-displacement hull of the Nordhavn 59 CP and throttled up the Cummins(es) to 16 knots which smoothed out the confusion letting us ride on top of it all.

Arrival into Charleston’s City Megadock was relatively uneventful other than the river current and cross wind ripping through the marina, trying it’s best to sabotageour docking, but the 59 CP once again proved its ability. With the extra horsepower, twin engines,  bow thrusters and 180 degree-plus  sightline from the helm, Eric guided her in like a pro. Things inside the marina were really hopping given it was two days before the eclipse and Charleston was in the path of totality. Even Mark Cuban was there with his 288-foot superyacht to catch a glimpse of the Great American Eclipse.

We bid farewell to Ed, our fantastic crewmember and cheerleader, who headedback home to wait for the arrival of his new yacht which was on the high seas en route to Port Everglades. Since Ed wasn’t a PAE employee, he was not allowed to stand any of the watches solo, but it was awesome to have him here with his excitement and enthusiasm - especially during the late-night watch stands. Ed is a huge supporter of PAE and is graciously allowing us to show his boatat the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show in November. The 59 Coastal Pilot was met with rave reviews in Newport, RI and I’m sure the reception will be equally as appreciative in Florida.

Onward from Charleston, calm conditions prevailed once again. And once again our fishing luck was noticeably bad. Aside from a dolphin playing in our wake for a bit, there were no sea creatures interested in us whatsoever. Good thing we had banked so much Dorado, which I decided to turn into fish tacos for lunch.

When you’re out at sea, things can change quickly. After having enjoyed smooth seas and little wind for more than 24 hours, our radar indicated squalls up ahead. And just like that, the winds picked up and the seas became confused. About two miles off to our starboard side we watched three waterspouts touch down.  Cool...but a tad nerve wracking, so we bumped up the throttle to about 75% load which pushed our speed to around 18 knots and put some distance between us and the squalls. With the thrusters on we stayed very comfortable. Next stop: the mid-Atlantic.

Pulling into the Chesapeake, we got our first dose of major shipping traffic. Eric expertly weaved around the anchored and underway ships - made easier on the 59CP thanks to the PH’s great visibility and that starboard side door which allows you to sneak out to take a closer look at things without straying too far from the helm.

It was nice to arrive in Annapolis. We had a slip at the Port Annapolis Marina and were greeted by old friend and two-time Nordhavn owner Tokkie Elliott. Tokkie took us aboard his current boat, a Nordhavn 76, which I helped deliver to him a couple years ago, and it still looks great.

Our time in Annapolis was scheduled down to the minute. In case I forgot to mention, this wasn’t just a delivery trip, it was a touring mini-boat show of sorts, a chance for very interested clients to inspect and seatrial the boat at different locations up the East Coast. In Annapolis we had a couple of showings and a seatrial so we spent time giving the boat a good scrub and filling up the tanks. Fueling Nordhavn 5901 is simple. There is one tank with two large fill hoses. The tank has adequate venting so we could run two fuel lines and really cut down on time spent at the fuel dock without backflow issues.

We had a schedule to keep, so after two days in Annapolis, we continued on our way. It had been an overwhelmingly flawless trip come Day 6. But during our short run up the D & C Canal, the raw water impellor on the generator failed. Not to fear, Doug our trusty mechanic, along with our stock of spare parts, came to the rescue. The engine room on the 59CP (like all Nordhavns) is a thing of beauty with easy access to the engines, generator and other systems -you can move around so effortlessly in there. Doug had us back up and running in no time.  It was our only mechanical issue of the whole trip.


We overnighted in Chesapeake City with the plan to round Cape May in the morning and reach New York City the following morning.  It was an adventure, to say the least, weaving in and out of the boat traffic in New York Harbour: tugs, barges, ferries, and other watercraft. You couldn’t take your eyes off the targets in front of you, but there is so much fighting for your attention. Skyscrapers, the Statue of Liberty, not to mention the salty tug captains heckling each other over the radio. It’s a whole different world from what we’re used to in laid back So Cal! With a showing lined up for late in the afternoon, the crew jumped off early and took the opportunity to do some quick sightseeing.

Like a band on tour, we packed up and headed out once again at first light. We left Liberty Landing and wound our way up through Hell’s Gate, fully prepared for more insane boat traffic, but thankfully, it was a Sunday and we actually didn’t see another boat until we reached Long Island Sound. What the day lacked in commercial traffic, it more than made up in recreational traffic. Passing through Long Island Sound we dodged sailboats and runabouts all around us.

As we cruised the East River, there was a cool juxtaposition between the peaceful cruising versus the cacophony above us on the street with horns honking, people running, walking, and riding around on bikes. New York City had definitely left its impression on us.

The final push to our ultimate destination of East Greenwich, Rhode Island was met with impending 35-knot winds so we throttled up to 18 knots racing to beat that forecast. We pulled into Prime Marina, a sweet little marina on RI’s west bay. Two other Nordhavns were there, welcoming the 59 CP to her new home...for a week anyway before she left for the Newport Show. It had been quite a trip, 1,400 nm up the east coast, one easily remedied mechanical failure, and impressive performance numbers (which matched what the west coast delivery crew recorded) The great thing about doing a trip like this is the experience it gives our employees. As the project manager, I have a greater understanding of what things about the boat are exceptional, and what amendments might be beneficial. For our salesmen, it allows them to answer their clients’ questions more thoroughly. And as a company, it’s how we are able to continually build world class boats, each one better than the last.

Catch the Nordhavn 5901 Coastal Pilot this week at the Bay Bridge Trawler Fest Thursday through Saturday, the Annapolis Powerboat Show October 12-15, and the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, November 1-5.

 

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