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July 31, 2013

Ocean crossings a plenty
The N120 is joined by two other Nordhavns making ocean passages

For the past week, all focus has been on the Nordhavn 120 #1’s maiden voyage from China to Vancouver. The new queenship of the Nordhavn fleet has been drawing attention from all over the world, with tweets, news items and forum discussions galore talking about the magnificent vessel that’s put the megayacht world on notice.

But the journey of N120 Aurora isn’t the only noteworthy trip being taken by a Nordhavn. Braun and Tina Jones on board their Nordhavn 64 Ocean Pearl just arrived to Ireland after departing Newfoundland and crossing the Atlantic. And those intrepid adventurers, Scott and Mary Flanders, are back at it – smack in the middle of another epic trip. Tomorrow the couple will make landfall in Greenland on board their 46-foot Nordhavn Egret, checking off yet another elusive part of the world their stalwart ship has taken them to.

Few boats travel to Greenland, mainly because high latitude cruising is not easy with its drastic weather and sea conditions. Egret is not the first Nordhavn to have touched Greenland, however. Sprague Theobold on board his Nordhavn 57 Bagan stopped there en route to his Northwest Passage expedition four years ago. For the Flanders, the island is a stepping stone to their “final” destination of Iceland where the boat will spend the winter.

The latest chapter in the Voyage of Egret commenced earlier this spring when the couple departed Fort Lauderdale, FL which served as their home base the past two years, after having completed a monumental journey that started in Fort Lauderdale 9 years ago, when they took part in the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally (NAR). That Atlantic crossing with 14 other Nordhavns was part one of a years-long global cruise which took them around Europe, South America (including Cape Horn), throughout the South Pacific, to Australia and New Zealand, New Foundland, and back down the East Coast of the U.S. Now the Flanders have set their sights on Scandinavia and Northern Europe.

Geographically speaking, stopping in Greenland just makes sense. They departed Labrador last week and will arrive in Quaqortoq tomorrow afternoon after a four-day passage. (The rhumbline course 538 nm. Their professional weather forecaster sent an iceberg report so in order to miss the far majority of icebergs, Egret’s course will be more ENE before turning NE and thus the new route is 605 nm.) Aside from that, when you ask Scott Flanders why travel to Greenland, his excitement to see this remote part of the world is obvious. “Are you kidding? It’s wild! Something new to explore.”

After Greenland, it’s on to Iceland, where they plan on staying for awhile. They’ll travel to Iceland mid-August because timing-wise, it’s the safest time to make that trip. Egret will arrive in Kevaflik, Iceland to clear customs and base their while exploring nearby Reykjavik. The boat will make its way to Akureyri around September 1st and will stay there for the winter. Akureyri is an ice free harbor at the bottom of a 10 nm fjord. Warmer surface temperatures combined with a trickle of Gulf Stream that works itself far north prevents ice from forming in Akureyri, a university town and Iceland’s fourth largest city. It provides a safe haven for boats berthed there during the winter.

Depending on weather, they plan on staying a couple weeks and will visit three Inuit villages plus the glacier carved inland waterways.

The high latitudes of the area would brand this by most as an “ambitious” cruise. But Scott Flanders argues “ambitious” is a relative term. “Years ago, ambitious would have described Egret’s first offshore trip from South Florida, up to the Florida-Georgia border,” he says. “However, we put in the miles and today we know nearly 12 years more than before so trips like this are relatively easy. We watch weather carefully, use professional weather forecasting when necessary, have learned to be independent with repairs and carry extensive spares. Egret has done tough weather before so if we do get caught out, we know exactly what to do and when. Twelve years ago, a trip like this could have been treacherous; today it’s a hoot.”

You can read all about the exploits of the Flanders and their Greenland excursion at Voyage of Egret.

Meanwhile in Ireland, the Joneses are whooping it up with their Ocean Pearl crew, fell Nordies Wayne and Pat Davis. The 1700 nm trip to Ireland was uneventful, albeit a bit lumpy at times, explains Tina Jones. Clearing into Crookhaven, Ireland, Tina amusingly compares the process to that of clearing in Petroplavlosk, Russia, which they did as part of the Great Siberian Sushi Run back in 2009: “We found entering Russia to be extremely formal, took hours and many fees were charged.  Our ship’s papers and passports were meticulously examined. We filled out and signed multiple forms with attendant stamps and seals for each of the concerned officials.

“We landed in Crookhaven, not a port of entry. We phoned the customs agent and she said someone would catch up with us along the way. Five days later, in our third Irish port, the two friendly chaps in the photo below came on board, asked a few questions, made a note, and left after ten minutes. No paperwork, stamps, passports, or fees -  just a “we hope ya enjoy yerselves”!

The Joneses will continue to explore Ireland before moving on to the rest of the UK. Read more of Ocean Pearl’s humorous insights and catch a glimpse of their terrific cruise via their blog www.oceanpearl.com.


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