By Jeff Merrill
The world is literally up for grabs for Eric and Christi Grab, and in more ways than one. Now that they have just taken ownership of a brand new Nordhavn 43, they are in a constant state of “up” – to put it loosely. It’s been more than two years since the couple first researched the boat that would serve as the launching pad to the travels of their dreams. That wait ended just a few weeks ago – culminating in a shakedown cruise and christening party. With a swift swing of the champagne bottle, Christi Grab christened her new boat, Kosmos, which in Greek means “world”.
Changes abound for the young couple. Eric will continue his work with DivX (a video software company) from Kosmos while Christi, who manages her own mortgage office, will assume her new role as Admiral. Life on a yacht will certainly be a fun new phase of their lives, but there will be a learning curve with challenges to meet along the way. That said, the Grabs are not jumping in with both feet. Having previously owned a little motorboat to putter around locally, there was a lot to be learned. So making the most of their production spot’s long lead time, they set out to become as educated as possible.
I recognized their enthusiasm and initiative right from the get go. We spent countless hours meeting in person, talking on the phone and emailing our ideas back and forth on a regular basis. They started out right away with a big advantage in that their home was just an hour’s drive to our headquarters in California. They also took advantage of opportunities to travel far to learn more about Nordhavns; Eric was instrumental in helping to organize the seminar program from the NAR start point in Fort Lauderdale while Christi lent a hand with participant registrations. Later, he and Christi flew to Spain to spend time aboard Scott and Mary Flanders’ Nordhavn 46, Egret, one of the many rally crossers whom they’ve kept in touch with.
A ritual I’ve developed over the past couple of years with my west coast commissioned customers is designating the week of delivery as christening week. As you may have read in past articles, my m.o. is pretty much the same, but it seems to be effective nonetheless and I think it really gets the customers ready to take on their beautiful new complex yacht. Before the boat gets ceremoniously baptized, first the owners themselves get christened. And so the week for Eric and Christi began on a Monday morning with an early meeting aboard Kosmos attended by the Grabs, myself and local delivery captain extraordinaire, Tony Cozad. We took off early and headed out to sea for the passing of the baton, where the Grabs got to take official possession. It was a fun run out off the coast, actually uneventful, and provided the perfect opportunity to begin the on board training phase of ownership.
Tony had been hired to sign off on Eric’s proficiency for insurance purposes. Indemnity aside, Tony’s presence represented the Grabs’ willingness to keep learning and ask questions. As one of the youngest couples ever to buy a new Nordhavn (they are both in their 30s and have probably skewed our owners demographics down a few years) their youthful energy abounds.
Tuesday and Wednesday continued with more on board training and systems reviews, while the commissioning crew completed final installations – the Stidd helm chair, HMC inner spring mattress and fitted carpets throughout – including the engine room!
Thursday we departed the Dana Point harbor just after first light for a same-day over and back shakedown cruise to Catalina Island which added ten hours to the main engine and generator and allowed us to run multiple systems and test the “livability” of being on board. It was a bit foggy, but a nice ride that saw a host of porpoises dart in and out of our bow wave to welcome Kosmos to the sea.
Christi cooked up a tasty scrambled eggs breakfast while we ran the air conditioner in cool and heat mode and Eric played with the electronics trying different displays in the wheelhouse which was interrupted every hour, on the hour, with his ritual engine room check. Three small yellow birds hitched a ride over and got bold enough to tour the wheelhouse, which kept us amused and thankful every time they found their way back out side through the tops of the Dutch doors.
Catalina is a fun place to visit; it’s a shame our schedules didn’t allow more than an hour layover. Already there and floating pretty with the casino behind her was the Nordhavn 57, Speedbird. After practicing taking a mooring at Avalon a handful of times we headed west along the island’s coast and found a place to conduct an anchoring drill. We set up in 60' of water and started paying out chain - white at 50’ and I was quite pleased to see red next at 100’ - my old Nordhavn 35 commissioning request to paint the hundREDs red seems to have caught on as an easy color coded way to remember the length. Once we set the hook I took advantage of our proximity to shore and jumped in for a swim, which then allowed me to test out the swim ladder and cockpit shower – nice and warm. The main engine heat exchanger and hot water heater did their job!
Soon it was up anchor and time to head home. On our return leg we found time to launch the paravane rig – Eric’s first time. We had very smooth seas all day and we laughed about how great it would be to travel all around the world in such calm conditions and then lamented that if it was this nice you wouldn’t need stabilization. Heck, if the seas stayed this mellow all the time you probably wouldn’t need a Nordhavn, but Eric and Christi aren’t taking their chances on endless smooth seas so a Nordhavn it is. The fact is, if you want to go far (or even not so far) in safety and comfort with a boat that is built rugged and has the range, you really don’t have many choices. Nordhavns have the track record and support system to help all kinds of people prepare for such grand adventures.
Eric made a cell phone call to Robert Kinney from Alcom electronics for a few fine tuning tips on our navigation gear and then went into the engine room to switch our fuel tank over from port to starboard after doing a fuel burn test on the supply tank. The burn test results: 1750 rpm provides 7.5 knots of boat speed while burning only 2.4 gallons an hour!
Back to base and tied up well before sunset, Eric and Christi had that contented look that revealed their deep satisfaction and immense pleasure with Kosmos. And so the week wrapped up with more little things Friday morning such as loading up the last of personal items and culminated in the late afternoon send-off gathering which included Eric’s praise of PAE/Nordhavn and Christi proudly giving tours through the boat.
Over the next year or so they will practice and play with all of the systems aboard in preparation for their ambitious goal to circumnavigate the globe. You can travel virtually right along with the Grabs by visiting their website: http://kosmos.liveflux.net/blog. You can also get in touch with them to track their progress and perhaps even join them in the flesh as they are actively looking for crew to assist on various legs if you think you might be compatible and have a desire to travel across an ocean.
The entire Nordhavn organization is proud to have delivered another fine yacht and we all share the jubilation and excitement of Eric and Christi’s adventures. To Eric and Christi, I send my own personal thanks and appreciation for your patience, enthusiasm and confidence in Nordhavn. The world is waiting for you and the future surely looks up for Grabs.