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October 21, 2010

Owner installs own media and electronics systems on boat
Produces most technically-equipped Nordhavn ever

There are a lot of firsts happening with Nordhavn 76 hull #15. The boat, called TAKE 5, is the first – and only – twin engine dry-stack exhaust Nordhavn. More interestingly, it is the first all-LED lit Nordhavn; the first all-digital camera system equipped Nordhavn; and it’s the first Nordhavn to come with a SIMRAD GB60 Glass Bridge Navigation system. Additionally, it’s the first boat of any make to be outfitted with a Crestron HDMI (beyond HD) video switching system.

It’s also the second Nordhavn ever to have its owner complete the manual installation of the media, electronics and lighting. The first was on a Nordhavn 55, Higher 5, whose former owner happens to be Ross Ritto, the current owner of TAKE 5.

Ritto’s proficiency in electronics stems from the company he founded nearly 40 years ago called Sound Image, which started as a touring live sound company. (As he candidly describes it, “We’re the ones who that hang all those ugly black boxes up over the stage” at concerts.) Soon Sound Image’s scope of services grew to include installation of audio, video, lighting, and control systems in everything from churches to large arenas, and before long, Ritto was sure it could also be translated tomarine electronics. His hunch was correct and he began outfitting not only his boats, but friends’ boats as well.

When Ritto purchased Higher 5, he resolved to design and install the navigation and media electronics all on his own. Although the concept of an owner-managed and executed install was unique to PAE, the company blessed his plan and Ritto was able to successfully complete the job. For TAKE 5, Ritto did need to call in for outside help in the name of some of Sound Image’s top techs, due the ultra-sophisticated systems he had chosen for his N76.

Ritto’s impressive technical prowess is perhaps less fascinating than his introduction to Nordhavns. More than 10 years ago, Jimmy Buffett, a client of Sound Image, invited Ritto for a ride on his Nordhavn 62, called Continental Drifter. Ritto hadn’t considered powerboats since, like Buffett, he was a diehard sailor. But Buffett “loved his Nordhavn” says Ritto, so he stepped on board with an open mind, and now finds himself getting ready to take ownership of his second Nordhavn.

He estimatesthat electronics and media installation on TAKE 5 is about 80 percent completed. The Rittos are scheduled to take delivery of their boat later this month. The owner-operators will leave straight for Mexico for five months, before heading for the Panama Canal, travel up the U.S. East Coast and perhaps on to the Med.

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