What is it about boat ownership that triggers an instant bond between people? Like partakers of no other hobby, boaters enjoy immediate camaraderie - whether crossing paths in the middle of the ocean or simply docked side-by-side. In the very unprejudiced world of boating, it doesn't matter the size or type of boat you own. The fact is, for most boat owners, being out on the water is their passion. And it's a passion that fuels friendships that last a lifetime.
For Nordhavn owners, it's no different. Although profoundly gaining in popularity and number every year, the world still regards Nordhavns as unique and so Nordhavn owners perhaps possess a more special connection. Witness the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally. Crews on 15 Nordhavns met in Fort Lauderdale last May mostly as strangers to one another. Fast forward to today, more than four months after the end of the rally, and these Nordhavn owners are cruising around Europe together. There are a half-dozen Nordhavns all anchored near Barcelona, Spain. Many of them will cruise the Mediterranean together over the next two or three years.
Within that clique of Nordhavn customers are those who own 47-footers. It's peculiar how close-knit a group the 47 owners turned out to be. They refer to each other in terms of their hull number such as Debra #10 and Scott #8. They were the first to start their own chat group and as evidenced by these accompanying photos, they stick together out on the water.
"I wouldn't say we chose this particular boat for the people we'd meet, but rather for where it would allow us to travel, " says Debra Haase, a previous non-boater who, together with husband Alex, purchased hull # 10 earlier this year. But since embarking on their first real long-range cruise from Dana Point, CA up to Alaska, it's been "meeting all the wonderful and interesting people every place we've been that makes this lifestyle."
So there they were, ready to take on the semi-daunting challenge of navigating up the west coast, ready to learn about their boat's complex systems in the somewhat isolated waters of Alaska. And they did all that, but they wound up meeting some great people along the way - other Nordhavn 47 owners as it turns out, and they were able to hook up for a mini-Nordhavn rendezvous off the coast of northern Washington. That's the thing about Nordhavns, said Deb. "You have a ready made set of friends who are always ready to get together."
While in Alaska, they had met up and buddy boated with Annie & Eric Bloomquist, owners of 47#15 Oso Blanco . The two boats cruised together for several weeks and then before embarking on the return cruise south, the Bloomquists, with 2-year-old son, Bear, returned to their native Minnesota to spend part of the summer.
Nordhavns are no strangers to Alaska, so it wasn't surprising when the Haases had heard that Mike and Sara Wise on board 47#19 Wayfinder , were also cruising the area with their three dogs. While Wayfinder practically mimicked Kellie Anne's course, they were 3 weeks behind and so the two boats never crossed paths.
When the Bloomquists got back from their summer at home and readied to join Kellie Anne for the return trip south, Deb decided the time was ripe for a raft-up. So she instructed the 3 boats to meet at Roche Harbor in the Gulf Islands. While there, the trio decided to convoy the rest of the way down the coast together. They nicknamed themselves the three "Stack-o-sauruses" after the stack option that rises out of the roof of the 47.
The three boats enjoyed their little gathering, and then heard of yet another Nordhavn 47 in their midst. They happened upon Jim and Vicky Brewer who were at Roche Harbor with William Tell , 47#6. The foursome met up at the old Harol Hotel and talked about their various summer cruising adventures, their boats' performance and any problems they'd encountered along the way - as well as special fixes they'd discovered, spare parts needs, stowage of items, what items they'd packed...as Deb paraphrased, "the usual boat talk!"
The Brewers couldn't stay to enjoy the mini-rendezvous because they were meeting other friends in Sidney, BC. Soon after, the "Stack-o-sauruses" untied from each other and continued down the coast to Dana Point for some warrantee work before continuing on to Mexico. The Wises and Haases stayed together while the Bloomquists pulled up the rear. Having left 4 days after the other two and then running out of their perfect weather window, they were forced to seek shelter for a bit in Oregon. But Deb wasn't worried. "We knew we'd all be together for the Jimmy Buffet concert in San Diego!"
While making their way down toward San Francisco, they came upon Andy Lund in his Nordhavn 46, Resolution . The comfort of being able to talk to other Nordhavns during the night watches gave them all peace of mind.
"I know I was the one to make this choice (of buying and cruising in a Nordhavn) reluctantly," Deb admits. "But every time I do an engine room check, I say, 'Thank you, Jim Leishman!' And I'm so relieved we have a boat with heavy-duty railings, high protect sides, and so on.
"But you know what else is great? Having a ready made set of friends who are always ready to get together, have information, knowledge and interests to match your own."
The Haases and Bloomquists made it to Dana Point safely and enjoyed a week's worth of warrantee work and catching up with friends they had made during the commissioning process. While there, the PAE staff held a joint Bon Voyage party to wish the two boats well in their cruise down to Mexico.