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The 2009 Nordhavn Northwest Rendezvous in Review
2nd annual Nordhavn gathering a smash success

June 17, 2009

By Don Kohlmann

Nordhavns and crews began arriving at the Resort at Port Ludlow Marina Wednesday, June 3, under perfect weather conditions.  In the end, 22 Nordhavns tied up in the marina, resulting in a fleet that included 35s, 40s, a 43, some 4’s, 55’, the new Nordhavn 56 Motorsailer, a 62, and 72.  Two additional boats were represented by their owners who arrived over land, some with boats in the nascent stages.  Among the participants was a significant Canadian contingent.  We were thrilled to see everyone.

My sales colleague in the Seattle office, Barbara Lippert, deemed it a good omen when a bald eagle perched on top of the Totem and cast a vigilant eye over the fleet. Barbara had reason to notice since she and Wilma Bracken, our Seattle office manager, provided the impetus and all of the organization for our first Rendezvous in the Northwest.  Both felt the pressure to match one of our sister “satellite” offices in Rhode Island, who put on a very successful event in Bristol, Rhode Island, last summer.   

While we had discussed the possibility of a Rendezvous for the past few years, Barbara and Wilma set about making it happen.  We recognized that by holding it in June, we were going to lose a significant number of owners who would already have headed North, but the decision on timing was largely shaped by the availability of an appropriate facility.  Due to previous and repeat bookings, many of them were booked earlier in the spring. Since we wanted to start the ball rolling, we opted for the beautiful and convenient Port Ludlow Resort. 

Part of a successful Rendezvous in our experience with other events, has been the information exchange – among owners, and among the folks who provide the key equipment that we use onboard; engines, stabilizer systems, electronics and safety gear, as well as cruising people who have spent contemplative time in places that we would all like to go.  The result was that we were rich in knowledge and with speakers with the ability to present it.  The seminars turned out to be very lively and informative.

The weather was fantastic and the event opened with a beautiful evening on Wednesday with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the tent, sponsored by Raven Marine, of Sidney B.C.  Raven Marine owner, Anthony Utley, was on hand

Thursday morning started with a continental breakfast outside the one of the seminar rooms in the Inn, as did each morning.  The seminar schedule started off with the first of two sessions of Captain Linda Lewis’ “Navigation for the Ladies” class.  A little later, Kevin Folkstad and Dave Wright of ABT/TRAC spoke to the group about stabilizing systems and hydraulics. Later in the morning, Dan Heyl, of Emerald Harbor Marine, spoke about DC systems, watermakers, inverters, and batteries.

Eric also reminded the group about the  annual ABT/TRAC “Captain’s classes” for owners that are held from time to time at their facility in Rohnert Part, in the Sonoma Valley Region of California.

About mid-day on Thursday, Tom Milne of Remote Medical International gave a presentation called “Outfitting for the Open Seas” that included that included a description of the provisioning and training that he did for the Allard’s on “New Paige”, a Nordhavn 55 currently cruising the Pacific.

On Thursday afternoon, PAE President, Dan Streech joined the group.  Dan is always a great addition to an event as he engages in easy and candid conversations with everyone.

On Friday morning, the second session of Captain Lewis’ navigation class was held.  All who attended gave Linda’s presentation high praise, and pronounced it “worth every minute”.  At 10:00, Bob Senter of Alaska Diesel started his presentation on propulsion engines and generators to an always rapt group.  Bob has an easy and enjoyable way of dispensing information based upon his considerable experience in the marine engine industry.  The discussion is always lively and light bulbs seem to go off all over the room as he speaks. Beyond the seminar room, Bob spent a lot of time with individual owners in their own engine rooms reviewing installations and systems maintenance.  What an opportunity it was for each owner.

Note:  Be on the lookout for announcements for the Alaska Diesel/Lugger Captain’s Class which is usually held in January, just ahead of the Lake Union Show at the Alaska Diesel facility here in Seattle

Periodically, Captain Gary Herald worked on touch and go docking practice with some of the members in the group.  Gary’s easy, calm and competent manner is perfectly matched to coach a newly enthusiastic Nordhavn skipper.

Later on Friday, Dick Smith of Navico gave a nice presentation on radar, and new radar development.  As always in the electronics realm, there is some pretty new and exciting gear in the near future.

On Friday evening we convened under the tent once again, still under spectacular skies, drinks compliments of Emerald Harbor Marine, followed by a barbecue dinner.  Spirits had ratcheted up a notch or two as the Canadian contingent (barely remaining nameless) began to pick up the pace.  Jeff Merrill of the Dana Point office, and his wife Pam had joined us earlier, and Jeff joined Dan Streech in presenting the Nordhavn Mileage Program burgees to new registrants.  The new registrations boosted the cumulative mileage of the program to nearly 2.6 million miles and reinforced our belief that Nordhavn owners go places.  All in all twelve new burgees were awarded that evening, and among them, Bill and Arline Smith were awarded the 40,000 mile burgee which included mileage from the 2004 Nordhavn Atlantic Rally.

Saturday morning started off with a very informative and inspiring presentation by James and Jennifer Hamilton about British Columbia’s secluded mid-coast inlets.  For 10 years James and Jennifer have been cruising out of the way, beautiful and marginally accessible inlets in their current Bayliner.  The information was detailed and the photos inviting, and much of the information is included in their well researched and detailed Waggoner Cruising Guide’s Cruising the Secret Coast:  Unexplored Anchorages on British Columbia’s Inside Passage” (available through Amazon).  It was interesting to hear how they managed their fuel and water supplies and how they are looking forward to the delivery of their new Nordhavn 52 this spring, relishing the thought that the fuel and water capacity of the 52 will dramatically extend their range and self-sufficiency, allowing them to explore with greater facility.  

Later on Saturday afternoon, the action turned physical during Page Read’s group participation demonstration of survival suit donning and man/woman overboard retrieval.   Few of us have had the opportunity to experience the effort required to insert oneself into a survival suit and move around in it, and then to practice the technique required to retrieve a crewmate from the water efficiently.  Several points revealed themselves during the process of donning the suit, going overboard, throwing a retrieval device (throwable flotation device vs. the “Lifesling”), and finally lifting the person from the water safely.  The demonstration also revealed how important it is to have a mechanical advantage (tackle) and how important its suspension point is. 

First in the water was Peg Chierrett of the Nordhavn 46 “Tenacity”.  She and her husband Mark helped to entice Page to the Rendezvous and stage the demonstration.  Once overboard, Peg related it was to maneuver in the water and how the air in the suit determined her flotation attitude.  Discussion about the method for retrieval involved the choice of throwing a life ring or Lifesling.  Mark first picked up the ring and it became immediately apparent that its heft might present a danger to Peg if it actually hit her in the head.  In an obvious gesture to preserve their marriage, and in front of 20 or more witnesses standing on the dock, Mark thoughtfully picked up the lighter Lifesling and handed it to Nancy Harrison, who deftly tossed it over the transom to Peg. 

Once she had slipped the sling under her arms, it seemed easy to pull her along to the starboard bulwark door, which with the boat oriented ideally to the wind and sea conditions, would be on the leeward side.  As Peg was lifted from the water by the crew onboard, it became apparent that the height of the lifting tackle suspension point was critical to hoisting her high enough for an easy entry into the door. 

Each of the “victims” commented that being suspended in the sling was not comfortable in any way.  All in all a great exercise and lesson learned.

On Saturday evening the group convened under the tent once again.  First for cocktails,  compliments of Rich Haynie Insurance, and then for a great paella dinner.  Between cocktails and dinner, Barbara and Dan had a chance to give away an array of prizes graciously donated by some of our sponsors. 

The entire staff of the Resort at Port Ludlow was friendly and attentive, and the food was good.  It was all in all, a very comfortable place to be.

In the days since the Rendezvous, we have received some very nice notes from folks who attended.  Comments common to all of them have included the value of new friendships, the learning experience of the seminars, and the overall friendly interaction of all who attended.  We enjoyed spending time with you, many of your great cruising pups, and thank you all for having attended.  We look forward to our next event.  As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions for our next Rendezvous, and look forward to seeing you there.


Don Kohlmann is the sales manager of the Nordhavn Yachts Northwest office. He can be reached at don.kohlmann@nordhavn.com.





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