On Wednesday, six Nordhavns will take part in a giant powerboat rally which will bring participants down the Baja peninsula from San Diego to La Paz, Mexico. Dubbed the FUBAR Odyssey, more than 50 powerboats will travel 900+ miles together, making multiple stops in Mexican harbors such as Ensenada and Turtle Bay. They will be accompanied by five escort vessels, three of which are Nordhavns: Nordhavn 55 "Pacific Escort" helmed by PAE's Jim Leishman and Nordhavn 68 "Sans Souci", owned by Ken and Roberta Williams; David Fulton’s Nordhavn 76 “Cadenza” will serve as an advance boat. FUBAR, or Fleet Underway to Baja Rally, is the first powerboat rally to explore the region's unforgiving coast.
Initially, organizers hoped to get around 30 boats to join the rally, but wound up having to cap the number of participants at 53 and were left with an extensive waiting list. Rally founder and chairman, Bruce Kessler, attributes the allure of FUBAR to the route, support and camaraderie it will offer. There are very few harbors of refuge along the often treacherous coast, said Kessler, and while Nordhavns have an estimated 3,000-nm range at 8 kts. - the rally’s cruising speed - most other powerboats do not, so re-fueling becomes an issue. (Participating boats are required to have a range of at least 450 nm at 8 kts.) FUBAR will not only provide participants with fuel arrangements, but also technical support and shoreside entertainment. “It’s an appealing premise to many mid-size boat owners who might be lacking the confidence to travel this area otherwise,” said Kessler. While for many others, he adds, it’s all about enjoying the company of others.
Playing the role of escort will be old hat for Leishman and Williams. As fleet leader and organizer of the 2004 Nordhavn Atlantic Rallly, Leishman had fewer boats under his wing, but more ground to cover. Crewing on board “Pacific Escort alongside Jim Leishman is his brother, Nordhavn’s Chief Architect and owner, Jeff Leishman; as well as Jim’s sons James and Eric, both salesmen in the Southwest office.
Williams also served as an escort boat in the NAR on board his former Nordhavn 62. He is providing the web support for FUBAR’s website.
You can follow along with “Pacific Escort” via crew member Jim Kirby’s blog or check out the day-to-day activities via Ken Williams' blog.