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Have Nordhavn, Will Travel

Pacific Asian Enterprises (P.A.E.) has always touted its Nordhavns as globe-trotting vessels and has marketed them as such. After all, what other company would go so far as to actually drive their boat around the world just to emphasize the point? The truth is, most Nordhavn owners haven't bought our boats with the notion of going all the way around - or even half way around - the world. They buy them because they are safe and functional and capable of doing it. Most prefer to cruise up and down whatever coast they happen to live on. Especially now, during this unstable world climate, who wants to venture that far from home? Well, Nordhavn owners, it seems.

Call it a renewed appreciation for life or perhaps a new breed of more adventurous boat owners, whatever the reason, right now there are as many Nordhavns in the process of circling the globe as there have been total circumnavigations by Nordhavns since the first 46 was launched 18 years ago.

Far away from the United States are six Nordhavn owners en route to their own circumnavigations. Four Nordhavn 62s, a Nordhavn 57 and a Nordhavn 46 share a journey where adventure, not time, is of the essence. Each with their own agenda, they frequently meet up, move on, and then invariably meet again.

It's funny that for several of these boats, which seem to converge upon the same place simultaneously, people mistakenly assume that they are traveling in convoy together. Actually, says John Maloney, owner of the 62-foot Rover, it's simply a matter that they commenced their journeys at about the same time and from within relative proximity of each other. "We had all independently decided to cross the Pacific, each with his own motives and expectations," he said. "It was a coincidence that we all happened to go at the same time."

Rover departed from Dana Point, California in April 2001. Shortly thereafter, Karma, a 62, and Bagan, a 57, departed from Mexico, and Atlas, the other 62, departed from Panama. They all left within 1-3 weeks of each other and met up in the Marquesas Islands. Along the way, they have kept in contact via e-mail and occasionally SSB.

En route to their circumnavigation, John, and his wife, Gail, bumped into four other Nordhavns: 2 46s, a 57 and 62 each based in the South Pacific, as well as Arcturus, a 46 that departed Mexico also in the spring of 2001 and has occasionally met up with the pack of boats that originally left from North America at that time. Interestingly, despite all the Nordhavns the Maloneys have encountered, the only other circumnavigating power boat they saw was an older 80-foot Sparkman & Stephens.

Before the Maloneys took delivery of their 62, they owned a Nordhavn 46 and cruised Alaska, went down and around to the Panama Canal and up to Nova Scotia. Now in Turkey, Rover is just over the half-way point of its global trek. Their plans call for cruising the Eastern Mediterranean this year and spending winter in Italy; the next season they'll cruise the Western Mediterranean and on up to the British Isles; and following that the Baltic Sea, and across the Atlantic back to the U.S. But things change, said John Maloney, so they'll just take it one year at a time.

Plans for Karma and two of the South Pacific-based boats, Knot Yet (the 46) and Beyond Capricorn (the 57) call for exploring the Mediterranean this season while Atlas cruises New Zealand waters and Bagan and Arcturus visit the islands of the Coral Sea. Bagan will remain in Australia for the cyclone season. Adventure, another 62 which left Dana Point this past January is in Bora Bora en route to its own circumnavigation.

Discovery and fun rule the itinerary for these cruisers. The fascinating cultures vary from place to place and each island is unique in its own intriguing way. The Maloneys particularly enjoyed the French Polynesian islands, Tonga, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia.

But concerns about their welfare have lingered in the background. During the War with Iraq, many of the boats were in the Red Sea. There were no U.S. newspapers available and local television was Arabic; no CNN. So what the Nordhavn owners saw was one-sided and obviously anti-U.S., said John. "What is scary is the misconception the Arabs have of the U.S., fed by the local media."

However, most people they encountered were friendly and polite ("although we occasionally ran into some who gave us a piece of their mind".) In certain places like Oman and the South Pacific islands, Americans are welcomed. But even in the less affable nations, they never sensed any overt hostility towards them and never felt threatened. Dressing and behaving so as not to call attention to yourself appears to be the rule of thumb. It is a different world from 10 years ago so people should be aware, said John, but certainly don't let it overwhelm what should be the focal point of cruising.

There was one sailboat that was pirated along the Yemen coast and a few others that were chased but got away. But the Nordhavn owners say while cruising, they feel protected by the strong presence of Coalition Warships.