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A Nordhavn tale of thanks and giving

130,000 miles in 4 days

June 12, 2009

By Jeff Merrill

How is it possible to average 32,500 miles a day?  Read on!

The Distance Pennant Program was first introduced last year at our inaugural Nordhavn Owners Rendezvous in Bristol, RI.   A gathering of owners of more than two dozen Nordhavns of all shapes and sizes got the word that PAE wanted to track how many miles each individual Nordhavn had traveled and would reward them with a Pennant, a badge of honor they could fly aboard that signified the mileage they had accumulated. And as they continued to plow a deep wake, they could continually log miles, and therefore, earn more Pennants subsequent milestones achieved. You see, the Distant Pennant Program is open-ended. As far as we’re concerned, there’s no limit of colors that we can apply to flags.

Engine hours and mileage are the two measuring stick data we use to determine pennant eligibility. Approximately 200 of the 500 Nordhavns produced have registered in the Distance Pennant Program, and have cranked out a combined 2.5 million –plus miles underway. It’s quite an endorsement of our slow-moving brand’s durability!

The concept is simple: tell us how many miles you have taken your Nordhavn during your ownership tenure and we’ll post the totals on the Distant Pennant Program section of our website and “reward” you with a Pennant to recognize your achievement.  Pennants start at 2,500 miles, then move on to 5,000 mile increments all the way up to 100,000 miles. And when we need to add another pennant to that list of goals, we will.

This is a volunteer program for our owners to help us show the world what we at PAE already know; Nordhavns have crossed more oceans and have more passage making miles than any other production power boat …by far!  The question we have been trying to answer is how many miles do Nordies actually have under their keels?  This program is also open to former owners as many Nordhavns have had a change of watch over the years. Nordhavns are quite nomadic and they are literally scattered all over the world.  Some owners have a pretty high public profile – like Ken and Roberta Williams on their Nordhavn 68 Sans Souci, (currently underaking the Great Siberian Sushi Run) whom hundreds follow via his daily blog or Sprague Theobald, who is about to see if he can conquer the Northwest Passage on his Nordhavn 57 Bagan, while others travel in relative obscurity like Wolfgang and Heidi Haas who have circumnavigated twice in their Nordhavn 46 Kanaloa and are on their third lap. There are a handful of owners who wish to remain anonymous.  The common bond is elementary, “Have Nordhavn, will travel” and each day at sunset a silent fleet of Nordhavns can most assuredly be discovered underway with their engine hours clocking their legacy as they tick off another mile.

Until now all of the Distance Pennants have been mailed out with a nice letter of thanks and congratulations from PAE including encouragement to not only continue on, but to hoist the Pennant proudly in the rigging. 

The Nordhavn Northwest Rendezvous last weekend in Port Ludlow, WA provided us with an opportunity to not only sign up some more Nordhavns for the program , but to present Pennants in person to several of the owners in attendance.  It was fun for me to hop from boat to boat during the day to talk with each owner and collect their details for inclusion in the program…17 new members were recruited with a combined total of 129,965new miles (providing inspiration for the title of this article) which pushed us over the 2.5 million mile mark.

Nordhavn 40 owners’ Ian Howat “AEgis” and Jan Bakker “Nordic Currents” smiled as they filled out the Pennant paper work aboard Jan’s 40.

I also caught up with three Nordhavn 40 owners who were chatting on the dock and took this photo.  Pictured are Al Holmes, Ian Mackin and Larry Rick.  Ian still owns “Zephyrus” and has logged 15,000 miles.  Al sold “Free Flight” (20,800 miles) and Larry sold “Done Dreamin’” (32,241 miles) – a lot of Nordhavn 40 experience gathered for this shot (the equivalent of more than two circumnavigations)!


Dan Streech and I held a brief awards ceremony Friday night to introduce and acknowledge several noteworthy achievements along with passing out a few Pennants.  Under the big top and with a crowd of enthusiastic fellow Nordhavn owners cheering along it was an inspiring evening filled with fellowship and camaraderie.  The photo captions introduce you to the people who have enjoyed the journey en route to each new destination and the smiles on their faces provide just a glimpse of good times aboard they have enjoyed…

Speaking from a salesman’s perspective, I’d like to offer a special thanks to all of the Nordhavn owners who have contributed to this incredibly successful program (keep sending us updates and we’ll keep sending out more Pennants as you reach each mileage waypoint).  Other trawler builders talk about how their boats are capable of “ocean crossings” and “long range travel”…what’s that old saying about actions speaking louder than words?

In the time you’ve taken to read this, there’s a good chance the current number of registered Nordhavns and the mileage total has gone up. If you’d like to check it out, or if you’re a Nordhavn owner whose registration will indeed increase those figures, visit the Pennant page now. We have re-arranged this section on our website to list the most recent registrants to the first page and our webmaster is coming up with some new search features that will allow you to look up Nordhavns in the program by boat name, engine hours, model size, etc. If you have any questions or suggestions please get in touch with us. 

Incredibly, less than half of our owners are on this list so we eagerly await contact from you existing and former owners missing from this esteemed group. I encourage all fans of this site to monitor the totals periodically as we slowly steam towards each new milestone. Three million miles is up next. So come along with us! It’s going to be a long, fulfilling ride.

Jeff Merrill is a salesman at the Nordhavn Yachts Southwest office in Dana Point, CA. Jeff can be reached at or follow him on Twitter – user name “merrilljeff”. You can also reach him by cell phone by dialing 949.355.4950.




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