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March 29, 2011

Taking advantage of the Nordhavn information network

By Barbara Lippert

When Australian natives Brad and Alison Ferguson decided they wanted to pursue a long-range cruising yacht, they began researching different yacht manufacturers. And when it came to Nordhavn, they took full advantage of all that is available in terms of understanding exactly what Nordhavn – the company and the boat – is all about.

Their research began on nordhavn.com, which (as you know) is one of the most information-rich boating sites on the web today. After ingesting all they could from the pages of the very abundant website, Brad ordered a copy of Circumnavigator, Nordhavn’s in-house magazine that’s filled with the kind of data on long-range cruising, technical info, first-hand owner accounts and in-depth PAE spotlights that you simply can’t find in any other periodical.

Saturated with Nordhavn lore, the Fergusons arrived at the point where the next logical step was to get aboard a Nordhavn so last spring, the couple contacted their salesman, Larry Gieselman, in Dana Point, California and arranged to see a number of boats in their range. Larry took them on the Nordhavn 47 and 60 and then armed them with a bunch of specifications and drawings. Brad and Alison flew back to Australia and absorbed the latest facts they’d been given. Still…more research needed to be conducted.

Later that fall, the couple found themselves at the Southampton Boat Show in Southampton, UK. They toured another Nordhavn 47 and spoke to sales staff from Nordhavn’s Europe office (located right in Southampton) as well as with company president, Dan Streech who offered exceptional insight to the company and the production process. Their impressions of Nordhavn grew more favorable with every step of their investigation.

Continuing with their thorough and logical approach to research, the Fergusons decided to charter a Nordhavn to further aid in their decision-making process. They reached out to Voyages NW, a charter outfit based in Seattle with a number of Nordhavn models in its fleet. They decided to test Sandstone, a Nordhavn 47, and last week took the boat out in some less-than-stellar weather to their two ports of call - Poulsbo and Port Townsend in Washington. The weather didn’t diminish the cruise, and in fact, Brad had hoped for some even more serious seas to really test the boat’s mettle.

The charter proved a pivotal part of their search. Prior to the charter, Brad’s only knowledge of the boats’ operational elements were what he’d gleaned from reading about Nordhavns. You can’t get a feel for maneuverability or gauge how quiet the engine is underway from a website. Their charter captain, Geoff Gardner also provided an invaluable training experience for the couple, whose previous boating practice had been limited to a 30-foot “river boat”.

After their charter, they met with Barbara Lippert and Don Kohlmann from Nordhavn’s Northwest office in Seattle, and climbed aboard four more boats: a 43, 52, 56 M/S and 55. While their 18-month search had remained primarily targeted on the Nordhavn 47, their tour of the 52 changed things, and they now are setting their sights on the 47 offshoot.

But the learning process goes on. The couple plans on returning to the States this summer to attend the PassageMaker Magazine Trawler Fest University series as well as take some Coast Guard courses.

In the meantime, they’ve joined the Nordhavn Dreamers online community where over 1,100 folks interested in the Nordhavn way of life – among them current and former owners – actively engage in talk about all things Nordhavn. They’ve found it to be yet another crucial reference tool.

What can we say about Brad and Alison Ferguson? We wish them the best of luck in their search. And congratulate them on utilizing the Nordhavn information network to its fullest. To borrow that classic phrase from New York clothier, Syms: An educated consumer is our best customer.

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