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April 20, 2017

Third Nordhavn Group Slated to Cross Atlantic
The Nordhavn Atlantic Passage (NAP) departs mid-May from Florida bound for Gibraltar

In just four weeks, a group of Nordhavns will gather in Palm Beach, Florida, and travel together across the Atlantic by way of Bermuda and the Azores, bound for mainland Europe. Made up of six Nordhavns ranging in size from 47 to 60 feet, the Nordhavn Atlantic Passage (NAP) marks the third time a group of Nordhavns is making the trans-Atlantic passage.

It’s been 10 years since the last time Nordhavn owners gathered on their boats in Florida and departed together on a trip that would take them across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. Dubbed Medbound, it was the second group of Nordhavns to travel en masse across the Atlantic. The first was the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally (NAR) in 2004 which saw 18 yachts – among them 15 Nordhavns – go from Fort Lauderdale to Gibraltar.

Nordhavns crossing oceans is a common occurrence these days. What seemed like a far-reaching feat back in ’04, involving a manufacturer escort boat equipped with Nordhavn techs as prohibitive measures, and grand parties celebrating their success, has evolved into completely owner-driven caravans. Like Medbound before it, the NAP group is going off without any logistical involvement from Nordhavn’s manufacturer Pacific Asian Enterprises (PAE).

Nordhavns taking part in the first group
Atlantic crossing, the NAR

But NAP is less of an organized event even than its MedBound predecessor, and more about owners who happen to be crossing the ocean at the same time, says ringleader Bernie Francis, a delivery and training captain familiar with Nordhavns. It started out as one European owner who wanted to bring his boat from Florida to his home land. While Francis was assisting with the delivery of a Nordhavn 60 from Puerto Vallarta to Palm Beach last year, the boat’s Belgian owner, Andre de Weldige, casually mentioned he’d like to someday cruise the waters closer to home. De Weldige had minimal hours on his N60 and thought there might be no better training course than spending days at sea crossing the Atlantic.

With the way the Nordhavn community works, another European owner whose boat is based in Florida caught wind of de Weldige’s plan and wanted to follow suit. Before Francis knew it, the group had grown to six boats and he found himself the unofficial leader. Borrowing from the original Florida to Europe group cruising bible developed during the NAR, Francis mapped out a route and organized dockage. Still, he insists, this is not the “event” indicative of the previous Nordhavn crossings en masse. His main task will be training his client on the operation of his Nordhavn. Leading a faction of other Nordhavns across the pond is a matter of consequence.

Not all boats will be making the trip across. And actually, only five of the six will be departing from Old Port Cove in North Palm Beach, where Nordhavn’s Southeast Sales and Commissioning facility is located. One of the boats will be taking off from the Bahamas. They’ll all meet up in Bermuda, with two diverting to Nova Scotia afterward. The remaining four will continue to Horta (the Azores) and then to Gibraltar.

There will be an organized pre-departure cocktail party in Palm Beach, but as far as structured itineraries goes, Francis said it will be more of a “playing by ear” thing. “Everyone might choose to get together for dinner one night while we are in Bermuda or something like that,” he said. In Bermuda, their biggest challenge will be to make sure they leave prior to the influx of yachts and sailors arriving for the America’s Cup elimination trials scheduled 5 days after the NAP reaches Bermuda.

The boats that do go to Europe will be there for a while, notes Francis. “They will be there specifically to explore and cruise Europe for an extended period.”

Despite the casual attitude on the surface, there’s no denying the excitement of the participants, the amount of hard work put in, the camaraderie that will be enjoyed and the significance and cruising caché crossing an ocean has – still has. And Nordhavn will be celebrating the NAP with a special section dedicated to the event. Armchair cruisers can follow along the route, check out cruising stats, see photos, and read up on owner blogs in near real time. To kick things off two of the cruisers’ blogs are now active and are nordhavn.com’s featured owner blog this month.

For Francis, this excitement is not in the ocean-crossing part. This will mark his fourth crossing, his first since bringing N55 Moana Kuewa across the Atlantic with the Medbound group in 2008. “I think crossing the Atlantic is fun, there’s always a wow factor,” says Francis. “But I enjoy watching other people learn. This will be a training delivery for several participants taking part,” including one owner who was recently handed the keys of his brand new Nordhavn 52.

Departure date is May 17 (weather permitting). All boats will travel 5 days to Bermuda with a 4 night stay; the European-bound boats will take 10 ½ days getting to Horta, spending four nights; and then 6 days to Gibraltar. Stay tuned to nordhavn.com for the latest updates and information.

Nordhavn Atlantic Passage participating boats:

N5509 Moxie

N5534 Angela

N6052 Relish

N5005 Tivoli (Nova Scotia)

N5275 Aleoli

N4708 Roam (Nova Scotia)

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