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February 25, 2010

Miami boat shows highlighted by Flanders ceremony

Perfect weather greeted attendees of the Miami boat shows last week and visitors to the Nordhavn exhibits came out in full force. For the second year straight, Nordhavn displayed at two locations in Miami: at the International Boat Show at Sea Isle Marina on Biscayne Bay with a pre-owned N55, then over at the Yacht and Brokerage Show where a recently listed Nordhavn 64 was featured.

The five-day event was highlighted by the annual Nordhavn owner’s party. This year’s was especially significant given the attendance of Scott and Mary Flanders of Nordhavn 46 Egret fame, who’d flown to Florida just days after completing a circumnavigation. Their fashionably late arrival (thanks to lack of parking on Collins Avenue!) allowed an impromptu ovation by their peers. “We don’t deserve this!” said an obviously stunned Scott Flanders.

After a bit of mingling amongst the 50-plus owners, staff and magazine editors gathered on the dock, Nordhavn’s president, Dan Streech, took the opportunity to recap the accomplishments of the evening’s special guests of honor. “Any circumnavigation is front page news, but Scott and Mary have done it with grace and style and have shown the rest of us how to live life to its fullest along the way.”

For their efforts, the couple earned a special edition Circumnavigator pennant, part of Nordhavn’s distant pennant program that awards Nordhavn owners – past and present – pennants for mileage accrued under their keels. The first pennant is awarded at 2,500 nm; subsequent pennants are awarded in 5,000 nm increments.

They were then presented with a cruising logbook and proclaimed Nordhavn’s “Cruising Couple of the Decade.” Seems like if a manufacturer had one couple that fit the title, they should consider themselves lucky, celebrate said couple’s ostensibly unique accomplishments, and not look back. Alas, this is Nordhavn. We’ve got many couples who might be able to claim that designation. Jim and Susy Sink were the first to take their Nordhavn 46, with its (by today’s standards) antiquated navigational equipment, around the world. But their feat was achieved in the late 90s. Heidi and Wolfgang Haas completed their second circumnavigation in their N46, back in ’08. Surely they are worthy of the title. Yes, they are. Other couples have not circumnavigated, but cruised extensively while at the same time imparting wisdom on other cruisers through popular blogs; some have even written books. What the Flanders have done is circumnavigated and spread the gospel of cruising with impartiality and passion – through their log reports, photography, articles and even “live appearances” such as the one they made at a Nordhavn Open House in New Zealand. They even have their own glossary of “Egretisms”, basically invented words that suit Scott’s take on all things cruising – and some non-cruising things. So why did Nordhavn choose to honor the Flanders? It’s the great pains the couple takes to assure “wannabes”, newbies, or those who are gun shy that extended cruising is possible for anyone willing to take the first step. As much as the couple is enjoying  themselves in their world adventure, it appears they fully appreciate the experience only after they have paid it forward, so to speak. We think that’s pretty cool.

In a brief acceptance speech, Scott noted that he and Mary are thrilled to spend the next two to three years kicking it around the Mediterranean. There will be no schedule. No real weather to worry about, no significant trip planning to make. Just years of small cruises to all the places they enjoyed seeing in the past, and those they wished they’d visited but didn’t get to during their previous two-year Med stint.

We wish them well. And we look forward to whatever new adventures the Voyage of Egret brings us next.




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