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March 21, 2010

Puddle-jumping
Three Nordhavns ready to “jump” across the Pacific

Three Nordhavns, including two Nordhavn 64s, are gearing up for a Pacific crossing in the next two weeks. The boats will be part of the Pacific Puddle Jump rally, the name given to the occasion when boats depart the west coast of North America bound for South Pacific islands.

The Nordhavn 64s, Oso Blanco and Mystery Ship are planning on departing Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, April 1, bound for the Marquesas. The two boats will cruise the 3,000-nm leg together, which will take approximately 17 days. The crossing marks the most significant non-stop passage made by any 64/68-foot series model. Like most Nordhavns, neither of these boats will employ professional assistance. Oso Blanco’s owner, Eric Bloomquist, runs the boat with his wife, Annie, and 8-year-old son, Bear. “We will be taking three additional friends as crew which will give us the luxury of relatively short watches,” Eric said. It will also allow Annie to maintain Bear’s homeschooling schedule.

The rally is very loosely organized with participants leaving at all different times over a two-month time span between April and June. Participants traditionally communicate with one another via radio nets and e-mail, sharing information on preparation, weather routing and inter-island cruising.

Once Oso Blanco and Mystery Ship reach the Marquesas, they will continue to cruise in proximity of one another, but not necessarily maintain the same schedule, says Eric. “Our plan is to continue west over the next seven to eight months through French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and end up in New Zealand in early November.”

Sponsored by Latitude 38 magazine, the Pacific Puddle Jump rally is described as “the annual migration of private sailing yachts bound for French Polynesia”. Indeed, of 172 registered participants, only four are power boats; three of which are Nordhavns. (A potential fourth Nordhavn, a 62, will join if timing permits.) It’s just another testament to the capabilities of the brand, and the expectations buyers have for their boats. Like the Bloomquists, Tom and Kim Lawler are using it as a launching pad to introduce new geography and cultures to their child, 11-year-old daughter, Emily, who is also homeschooled on the boat. The trio arrived in Galapagos this week having left South America in early March.

Because the fleet does not depart from the Americas on one single date, their arrivals in French Polynesia can be anytime in April, May or June. Due to the broad-based nature of the fleet, many of the boat crews will meet for the first time when they arrive in the islands. For more information on the Pacific Puddle Jump, visit the official website at http://pacificpuddlejump.com. You can also keep track of Oso Blanco’s crossing on their blog, www.osoblanco.info and follow Emily Grace at http://mvemilygrace.blogspot.com.

-JMS


 

 

 

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