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Where are they now?
Braun and Tina Jones on board Nordhavn 62 Grey Pearl

Braun and Tina Jones have spent the past 11 years cruising on their Nordhavn 62 Grey Pearl, and boy, do they have a lot to show for it. One of our most visible husband-wife operator teams, the Joneses have proved that proper boating knowledge, a desire to see the world, and owning the right cruising boat can go a long way toward enriching your lives.

Fans of Nordhavn probably caught their first glimpse of Braun and Tina when they participated in the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally (NAR) in 2004. They spent two cruising seasons in the Med, including joining the Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally in 2006, shipped the boat back to the States and then followed up their European travels by taking part in MedBound 2007, which, on a smaller scale, sought to replicate the NAR – only this time, several of the boats headed westward from Bermuda (instead of continuing on to the Azores and Gibraltar), including the Joneses, who steered toward their home of Annapolis.

They likely gained most of their celebrity as part of the trio of Nordhavns bound for Japan from Seattle in what was dubbed the Great Siberian Sushi Run in ‘09. The two 62s and 64 made history with their “wrong-way” crossing of the Bering Sea and relatively problem-free trek. That trip paved the way for a massive exploration of Asia, including a visit to Ta Shing in Taiwan, the factory that built each of the three participating Sushi Run boats. It was the first time any Nordhavn had returned to its ‘birthplace’.

Tina, herself, has amassed a bit of a following as lead author of the entertaining Grey Pearl blog with her humorous, interesting and carefree writing style. Hundreds have followed along on the couple’s many journeys and have gained insight into how the remarkable husband-wife duo has personified the ideal cruising couple partnership.

Grey Pearl, number four in the 62 series, presently sits at Sutera Harbour in North Borneo after some 48,000 nm that the Joneses have put under her keel. Meanwhile, the couple has returned to Annapolis for a bit of catching up on business and checking in with family and friends. It’s a situation that Tina never really dreamt she’d find herself in. Sure, Braun, an ex-Navy officer, always aspired to cruise around the world in his own boat - his ties to the PAE family actually began years before he and Tina purchased their Nordhavn 62, when he first set out to fulfill some of his boating goals with a Mason 43. But in 2000, they took delivery of Grey Pearl which provided a platform for seeing the world by boat. From that point they’ve worked hard on turning the dream into full-fledged reality.

 Tina was on board from the start, gleaning everything she could from Braun and his years of experience at sea. Trips started small enough – with travels up and down the east coast of the U.S. At Braun’s encouragement, Tina took basic seamanship classes offered by the U.S. Power Squadrons, and as her confidence and skills ensued, she began taking the necessary steps toward getting her 100 Ton Master Coast Guard Captains’ License. “It was an enormous help and very empowering,” said Tina. “I highly recommend (classes) to anyone spending time on a boat.”

After having visited half of the world (including stops throughout the Mediterranean plus Eastern Med countries like Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt; Mexico, Central America, through the Panama Canal; the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Honk Kong and the Philippines), Tina is an old pro and has developed a love of cruising that matches her husband’s. “I thoroughly enjoy that ‘living in the moment’ feeling, traveling hither and yon, embracing different cultures, exploring, meeting new people, bonding with my partner and husband, and feeling less encumbered by the trappings back home – schedules, politics, etc. On the water, every day is an adventure!”

And more adventure awaits. The Jones already have ideas about where they want to cruise next. Says Braun: “We plan to continue west to Singapore and Thailand, then west from Thailand to and through the Med, up the Atlantic to the UK, Ireland, Scotland, then to the Nordic countries and east to Russia – including St. Petersburg. Then eventually return to Annapolis, where we started.”  

The couple acknowledges that really long passages can sometimes get tedious, but Tina and Braun have been able to find a balance that has worked well for them, In fact, Tina credits their cruising to having strengthened their relationship over the years. “It takes a lot of work, but we’re a team and I can say that hands down cruising has made our relationship stronger. It truly helps that you both equally enjoy the passion for cruising. Otherwise I don’t believe it would be smooth sailing!”

Striking a balance is one secret to successful cruising, but it’s not the only thing. Not biting off more than you can chew is another, says Tina. “Make sure you know what you are doing. Don’t buy a boat and set off to cross an ocean. Take time to cruise at a leisurely pace. Get comfortable with cruising, take courses, attend gatherings such as Trawler Fest to talk with folks. And practice, practice, practice doing safety drills. If you enjoy it, it will change your life immeasurably!”

 


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