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Lake Union

By Jeff Merrill

Marty Ellison has come full circle via the Lake Union Boat Show. Inspiration in the form of a rendering of the Nordhavn 55 hit Marty two years ago at this Seattle showplace. Even though plans were already in the works for Marty to purchase a custom trawler, he became disenchanted once the estimate from the builder came in. So as fate would have it, he wandered to the Nordhavn display, and as he describes, “found what I had been looking for.”

Fast forward 24 months and Marty is once again at Lake Union, this time showing off his own Nordhavn 55, Tenacious. The first Nordhavn 55 to be commissioned at our northwest sales office, Tenacious had accumulated just over 100 hours – courtesy mostly of a 2-week trip to British Columbia – before moving into her show slip. Fully shaken down, one might think early Fall to be an ideal time for some great extended cruising. But as a favor to us, Marty paused his itinerary and allowed others to see what a true passage making masterpiece the Nordhavn 55 really is. Besides that, the Lake Union show seemed a fitting locale to conduct Tenacious’ christening party.

Ready for her official “coming out,” Tenacious outshone all other boats around her. And not just because her tall stature impressively towered over just about every other yacht there. Inside the upholstery, granite and woodwork sparkled. I can’t recall how many people who came on board told me the N55 was their main reason for attending the show in the first place and Tenacious did not disappoint. Feeding off the overwhelming approval, Marty was a fantastic Nordhavn ambassador, tireless in his enthusiasm. He shepherded the throngs of Nordhavn aficionados through the boat by demonstrating systems, explaining his gear choices and even discussing his trip to the South Coast yard in China to see Tenacious brought to life.

The combined waiting-construction-commissioning process took two long years, but the day for Marty to publicly recognize ownership of his new boat and christen her into the world’s oceans was finally here. The guest list included local Nordhavn owners and many of Marty’s good friends and family.

A case of champagne, plates full of appetizers and about 60 people were aboard when Nordhavn Yachts Southwest manager Don Kohlmann greeted the crowd and introduced Marty. After searching the Internet to find a proper seafaring welcome to Tenacious, Marty promptly handed out a “script” complete with speaking parts for the crowd! A proper dousing on the anchor rollers in lieu of the more common bottle smashing concluded the ceremony and we all raised our glasses to toast Marty and his new yacht.

The fly bridge, Portuguese bridge, wheelhouse and foredeck were standing room only, and though I’m sure we were breaking some Coast Guard rules for life jackets, it was amazing how stable we were and how little all of this weight forward seemed to change our pitch. Marty shook hands and hugged his way to the saloon where he had one more treat in store for us: his “fender music” or the tune he plays when shoving off from the dock. Streaming through the speakers came the Blues Brothers live version of the Otis Redding classic, “Can’t Turn You Loose.” It’s ironic because Marty was itching to do just that from the dock at the Lake Union show.

Jeff Merrill is a salesman in the Nordhavn Yachts Southwest sales office. He can be reached at












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