By Jeff Merrill
I met Mark and Michelle Doppe last year at the 2004 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show where they were searching for a solid yacht that would allow them to cruise in comfort and style.
Well, they had found what they were looking for, and almost exactly a year later were celebrating the christening of their brand new boat, Rhapsody, a Nordhavn 40II.
It was just about the end of summer when a big crowd gathered at our docks in Dana Point to cheer the Doppes on the ownership of hull #47. Family and friends as well as the majority of the PAE/Nordhavn crew were on hand to enjoy the catered Mexican fiesta. Mark and Michelle proudly stood on the foredeck and praised the PAE team congregated on the seawall for all of their hard work in helping them realize their vision of one of the most spectacular Nordhavn 40s we have ever completed. Michelle cracked the ceremonial bottle of champagne on the first swing, which was met with a resounding roar of applause.
Initially, it appeared the Doppes were headed toward a much larger boat – in the 50-60-foot range. We had few new Nordhavns available that met their criteria, but it just so happened that a brand new unsold flybridge 40/II model was en route to our California office from the factory in China. I hoped they might be intrigued with this terrific little yacht.
The Nordhavn 40II is a compact, purebred full displacement trawler and 4047 represents the first west coast delivery to feature the flybridge option. Mark and Michelle were quite taken by how roomy this smallest Nordhavn is and how ideally suited she is for a cruising couple. Hull #47 was a stock boat, but very well equipped with key factory systems including air conditioning, generator, wing engine, active fin stabilizers and even a basic electronics package. Throughout the commissioning process the Doppes and I had several meetings with the PAE staff and local suppliers in a synchronized effort to transform Rhapsody from a very ready-to-go spec boat into an incredibly outfitted 40.
With training, outfitting and provisioning completed (no easy task to get your new boat ready for a long shake down and squeeze in some time for a proper send off party), the crew of Rhapsody took off the next morning for the Pacific Northwest. She made it safely up the west coast to her new home with a minimal list of service items, most of which we have already addressed.
The Doppes efforts in putting together their new yacht was inspiring and they should be congratulated in their travels. We wish them fair winds wherever they go.