By Jeff Merrill
February 27, 2006
It’s not unusual to see a lot of activity down at the docks of our Dana Point, CA commissioning location. In fact, it’s the norm. And while our commissioning technicians have fine-tuned their skills at pumping out perfect new boats like a well-oiled machine, it’s not often that two boats finish at virtually the same time. It’s a tribute to the streamlined process our Dana Point techs have mastered, and our two newest boat owners recognized that – each throwing their own christening parties last week.
I’ve been with Nordhavn for six-and-a-half years and I can’t recall a time when we’ve had two send-off parties in the same week. Not every owner has the opportunity to arrange a gathering. But for those who do, the christening parties are more than silly rites of passage. It’s an opportunity to make a memory of - what is for many - a huge occasion in their lives. It’s also their chance to recognize the P.A.E. team. And for P.A.E., it’s a time for us to congratulate them and wish them well on their quests for adventure. Truly, it winds up being a meeting of the mutual admiration society.
A couple of weeks ago, new owner Richard Burkland had put the finishing touches on his new Nordhavn 43 (hull #14), Blue Jaunte. Planning to leave that evening for Ensenada, Mexico, with yours truly helping out at the helm, Richard and I provisioned the boat with enough food and supplies to last a while. We stopped the clock at 4 pm sharp and gathered a few dozen PAE staff and other Nordhavn owners to bid “hasta la vista” to Blue Jante. The spread was quite impressive considering our limited time budget: sandwiches, chicken, chips and salsa, and cold beverages. After giving many tours through the boat, Richard climbed up on the bow to toast the Nordhavn
staff for helping him finally reach the milestone day in his life. With great gusto he smashed a bottle of champagne and BlueJaunte was officially welcomed by Poseidon to travel on the seas.
In the pre-dawn hours the next morning, the two of us set off to Ensenada where Blue Jante will spend the winter months. Richard says he looks forward to enjoying some relaxing days in “manana land” and getting better acquainted with his new Nordhavn 43 before bringing her home to Portland, Oregon in the spring.
The trip to Ensenada was smooth sailing and really the perfect culmination to the entire boat buying process, which I enjoyed assisting Richard with very much.
While I was at sea, my colleague and good friend, Steve Miller, was busy helping his clients Dean and Ingrid Heathcote prepare for their own maiden voyage and bon voyage party.
Segue is a beautiful new Nordhavn 55 and really shows off the thought and hard work that Dean and Ingrid put in to making her spectacular. Steve has been with them every step of the way and many of his ideas can be found throughout the boat. Steve and I are lucky guys to have sales jobs for Nordhavn (ever wanted to take a working vacation to Mexico?) Like me, after the send off party, Steve joined the crew on Segue’s sojourn south of the border.
As luck would have it, I came back to the office a couple of days later – just in time to join in the Heathcotes’ festivities. As is typical with Friday send-off parties, the booze flowed a little more freely, but the rest of the night followed close to Tuesday’s fete with fine food and drink, as well as a nice thank you from Dean and Ingrid. They acted out the official smashing of the bubbly and started winding down in anticipation of the next day’s journey.
Having just returned from the same course, I let the Heathcotes know that relatively smooth cruising lay ahead, albeit a bit foggy, which always makes things interesting. (Hey, what better way to practice using the new radar?)
We thank Richard on Blue Jaunte and Dean and Ingrid on Segue and offer our good wishes for many wonderful days aboard and lots of fun adventures. May they go forward and conquer the world!
With two new dock slips open and the commissioning crew satisfied they had sent off two worthy ships, it seemed likely that we could all catch our breath…but we have four more Nordhavns offloading in the next two weeks and several others following in the pipeline, so the pace will remain steady and the work load will only increase. Time to make sure there’s plenty of oil for that machine.
Jeff Merrill is a Nordhavn salesman based in California. Jeff can be reached at email@example.com.