Bill and Ellen Bane
Nordhavn 46 Satchmo
July 2010 marks the end of an era here at Nordhavn. It was six summers ago that 15 Nordhavns (plus three other builds) arrived in Gibraltar, the final stop of the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally. It was the greatest ocean crossing by sheer numbers alone that certainly the trawler market - if not the entire power boating industry - has seen. The NAR was more convincing than any advertising campaign, magazine review or knowledgeable salesman could ever be at emphatically getting across the message: Nordhavn builds the world’s best passagemaking yachts. Without a single major failure, each boat – led by the Nordhavn 57 Atlantic Escort – arrived safely after voyaging 3,800 nm across the Atlantic Ocean. In the summer of 2004, most of those Nordhavns remained in Europe; a few had been sold, a few were shipped back to the States. But most of the NAR participants stayed for years to enjoy cruising the Med, rendezvousing in different European ports from time to time. As the years passed, one by one the boats and/or their original owners moved on until only one boat, a Nordhavn 46 called Satchmo remained. Several times her owners, Bill and Ellen Bane, had thought about heading back home to Virginia. But each time the notion of leaving the place that had been home for the past several years beckoned them for “just one more” cruising season.
Anyone who has watched the NAR movie Living the Dream will remember Ellen as an apprehensive and somewhat willing participant as their boat shoved off from Fort Lauderdale on the 900-nm first leg to Bermuda. “I’m a little worried, a little nervous,” she said looking from the Portuguese bridge of Satchmo out to the open ocean in front of her. “But mainly I’m excited about it.” Two weeks later, in the middle of a glassy Atlantic with the Azores still over a thousand miles away, her tune had swiftly changed. “This is one of those rare days at sea,” she remarked. “It’s just beautiful. I can’t believe I ever thought, ‘I’m never going on this trip’. This one day makes the whole thing worthwhile.” What also made that trip worthwhile is that it enabled the Banes to visit every single country on the Med except for Algeria and Lybia.
At Nordhavn owner reunions held during various boat shows in the U.S., Bill and Ellen would occasionally pop up only to be swarmed by those of us who took part in the NAR, still filled with memories of the unforgettable event and envious that the Banes were somehow able to prolong the experience by remaining in the region all these years later. A few weeks ago, however, the day had come; the couple knew it was time to go back to friends and family they left behind in May 2004. So they loaded Satchmo on a freighter and sent her back to Fort Lauderdale, with plans to cruise up the coast to Virginia.
Life happens – no matter where you are – and now, new adventures wait for them stateside.
Stay tuned to Nordhavn.com for an in-depth retrospective by Bill and Ellen on their glorious six-year exploration of the Mediterranean Sea.