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Who knew that Nordhavn would wind up turning out so many writers? The number of Nordhavn owners who have penned books - and some, multiple titles- based on cruising or ownership of their Nordhavn is fairly substantial. (Just check out our Nordhavn store!) In 2012, Nordhavn 62 owner James Ellingford authored his first book From Family to Crew, which detailed life at sea with a family of land lubbers. This week he follows it up with the release of his latest tome, Cruising Conversations: A Million Nautical Miles and Counting. 


The book is a compilation of interviews Ellingford has conducted – mostly with various Nordhavn owners, but also some experts in the industry – and posted to his cruising blog. In 2014, having gained some cruising knowledge as well as being firmly ensconced into Nordhavn nation where he’d chatted up dozens of interesting Nordhavn owners, Ellingford decided he should publish the informal conversations he had with these seafaring adventurers. Surely, he thought, he couldn’t be the only one to find the discussions fascinating.


He was right. Each month for the past 3 ½ years, Ellingford has conducted and publicized interviews that have become a key part of his very popular cruising blog, pendanablog.com. “The book holds within its pages interviews with some of the modern day heroes of our time, and what unfolds is that these global cruisers share their experiences and mistakes that they have made on the water,” said Ellingford. “This book is a tremendous reference for all owners of any boat – and in particular is a great guide for any dreamer out there intending one day to go to sea.”


To get a real feel for the back story behind Ellingford’s latest book, we turned the tables and sat down for a Q & A with him.


Q. When did you begin interviewing ppl on your blog?


JE. The first interview I released dates back to June 5th 2014. Ever since then an interview has been released each month without fail expect for the month of January when I take a break.


Q. What gave you the idea to start doing this?

 

JE. I guess it simply came down to the fact that there are simply so many amazing people that we have met either in person or electronically via our shared interest in boating that I figured, their stories and experiences should be shared.  That together with the fact that I do have a lot of time on my hands certainly helped!


Q. Who has been the most interesting interviewee?


JE. That’s such an unfair question as each interviewee has brought something special to the interview.  I think for me there are two standout articles which have followed on from interviews done that I think are interesting. One being, “Rescue On The High Seas” which detailed the rescue of a sailboat hundreds of miles off the Australian coast. Thanks to Rob and Jo Ashton from N47 Southern Star who were part of the rescue efforts, some amazing photos were able to be shared with my readers.  The second article, which took some time to piece together, was detailing the facts surrounding the demise of the Charlotte B off the coast of Mexico.  After pouring through countless court documents and speaking with crew members aboard the vessel that day, I was able to share some pretty useful insights in relation to the tragic event which serves as a lesson for all who go to sea.  The story of the Charlotte B is included in Volume One of Cruising Conversations and “Rescue On The High Seas” will make it in the second volume following on from Rob and Jo Ashton’s interview.

 

Q. Have you learned anything valuable from anyone along the way?


JE: I never stop learning.  Just about every single interview provides insight and lessons to learn from those who head to sea.  There is not a single thing that stands out but rather a combination of knowledge that I have been able to benefit from by doing these interviews.  There is no doubt that I truly believe that there is real value for all in the interviews done.

 

Q: How do you come up with the questions?


JE: They are simply questions that I genuinely wanted answers to.  This year however, I reached out to a few friends and asked them if they had any ideas for questions that I should include.  I did receive a few great ideas which will be added to the list of questions asked.

 

Q. Why did you decide to turn your interviews into a book?


JE: A number of people suggested that having all the interviews in one place and in book format would be a great idea.  So, after giving this some thought I figured why not!  

 

Q: What do you hope the outcome will be as a result?


JE: Shared knowledge is the best way to learn.  Throughout the book there are multiple lessons to learn from those generous enough to share with us their insights and mistakes along the way.

 

Q: How long will you keep interviewing people?


JE: Until I run out of people worth interviewing.  Which as it stands right now will be a few thousand years from now.

 

Q: What are 5 key questions you ask people?


JE: The five key questions are: Why did you choose Nordhavn? What has been your cruising highlight so far? Do you travel with an animal/s on board? If you were to give one piece of advice to someone thinking of cruising the world, what would it be? and What is the longest passage you have made?

OK, so turning the tables around on you…how would YOU answer those q’s?


Q: Why did you choose Nordhavn? 

JE: Well there are simply not too many boats that can carry you safely across the world’s oceans on the market today.  With all best intentions, weather can sometimes not do as planned.  A good example of this was when we were caught in a once is a lifetime storm and faced 35ft seas (that’s over the pilothouse roof) on the beam and 45kts winds.  This storm claimed two other yachts which were a few hundred miles from our position and while it was unpleasant it was not scary, nor did we think that we were in serious trouble.  Happy to report the crews on the other yachts were rescued but unlike our boat theirs lay on the bottom of the ocean.

Q: What has been your cruising highlight so far?

JE: There is little doubt that Prince William Sound (“PWS”) is our clear favourite.  I continue to beg everyone I meet here on the Pacific North West to no longer settle for Glacier Bay as it pales into insignificance against the backdrop of PWS.  If  PWS is 10/10 then BC’s Inside Passage is a 4/10 and the Whitsunday Islands in Australia are a 3/10 just to put this in perspective.  The sadness is that I very much doubt we will find another place on this planet to compare to PWS but have no doubt we will keep searching!

 Q: Do you travel with an animal/s on board? 

JE: We started out with three cats and a very special dog but due to cancer taking one and old age the other we are now down to two cats.  Oscar the Brave and Fifi the Stupid!  No surprise which one is my favourite.

Q: If you were to give one piece of advice to someone thinking of cruising the world, what would it be? 

JE: It’s 70% fantastic, 10% ok, 10% not much fun and 10% bloody terrible.  Cruising the world is not all Gin and Tonics on the back deck and is in fact a lot of work.  This work mind you, is duly rewarded with the places one gets to go and the people one gets to meet but to think that it is perfect all of the time would be a huge mistake.  

Q: What is the longest passage you have made?

JE: 2,152nms from Waikiki, Hawaii direct to Kodiak, Alaska.  The trip took 11.3 days and was the most wonderful passage we have had so far.

 

Q: Anything else people should know about the book?

 

It is big! The book is printed on A4 sized paper and comes with literally hundreds of photos all in full colour over the 350+ pages.  The issue with printing in colour is the cost but I refuse to reduce the quality and print in black and white as this simply would not do justice to the photos.  The book also includes a “Where Are They Now” section which updates the reader as to what the interviewee has been up to and what they are currently doing.



Cruising Conversations is available now for $49.95 through Create Space https://www.createspace.com/6733541 or Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Conversations-million-nautical-counting/dp/1540526860/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488834104&sr=8-1&keywords=ellingford

 

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