Christine Bauman is perhaps one of Nordhavn’s most accomplished women in that she is one of only a few female owner-operators of our boats. While she prefers to downplay that distinction (“I just think of myself as a captain, not a female captain”), there’s no denying her accomplishments and the huge presence she’s had in an overwhelmingly male-dominated role. She’s come a long way, baby…quite literally: we’re talking more than 11,000 nm under her Nordhavn’s keel.
Christine took sole possession of her 55 shortly after its delivery in southern California in 2006. She obtained her USCG 100-ton masters license and, after using the boat stateside (with a few trips to Mexico mixed in) for a year, signed up to join the fleet of Nordhavns bound for Europe on their own bottoms in the 2007 MedBound rally. The Nordhavn owner-organized event saw eight boats set sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Bermuda; three continued across the Atlantic toward the Azores and Gibraltar while the remainder headed west to Newport, Rhode Island. Living the life of a retiree with nothing but time on her hands, Christine and her Nordhavn 55 Moanu Kuewa chose the easterly route. After all, Moana Kuewa had a reputation to uphold – the name means “ocean wanderer” in Hawaiian.
The trio of yachts arrived safely to Gibraltar in July of 2007 and since then, Christine has been running on all cylinders. With her younger brother, Jeff, serving as co-captain, most of her time has been spent exploring Europe, including Italy, the French Riviera, Turkey, and then wintering in Spain. Still, there was lots of the region unattainable by boat that she wanted to see, so she rented a car to discover places like Switzerland, Germany, Poland and Lithuania. In June 2009, Chris reached a personal milestone by participating in the famed Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally (EMYR). Moana Kuewa was just one of 60 boats accepted into the rally’s 20th anniversary tour, getting to see such places as Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. Life as a single white female captain has been interesting to say the least, and she’s received her share of bizarre reactions when people realize she’s the one at the helm. (“The Middle Eastern males don’t quite know what to make of it!”)
Just before Thanksgiving last year, Chris loaded the boat onto Dockwise yacht transport in Palma de Mallorca and bid it bon voyage as it set out on a two-month journey to Australia. She took the opportunity to return home for the holidays and visit with friends and family – including a stop in Dana Point, CA to see her P.A.E. buddies and secure some much needed parts. Prior to Moana Kuewa’s arrival down under, Chris landed in Australia to do some inland touring and pre-planning of the insane snorkeling trip of the Great Barrier Reef she plans to take in April.
Seems no matter where in the world Christine travels, Nordhavn family remains close by. She’s enlisted the help of Aussie natives John Shuttlewood, a Nordhavn 47 owner and Peter and Margaret Sheppard of N55 SKIE to help her navigate the area. “I’ve been very lucky to meet and remain in contact with them,” she said. “John even helped with the offload in Brisbaine!”
With her cruising (“diving, fishing, snorkeling, kayaking”) itinerary already mapped out through the end of September, Christine is content to play the rest of the year by ear – although admits that a side trip to the Solomon Islands is definitely in order. “Whatever the adventure is, I’ll be looking forward to it!”
Think keeping up with Chris is difficult? We know what you mean. In between all of her expeditions, she’s been able to manage a pretty nifty website of her travels. Christine likes to say, “retirement is a good thing.” Check out all the good things she’s done at her website www.moanakuewa.net.