Saturday, April 29, 2017

April 2017: Taking Relish Back to Nassau

Our inReach Track to Nassau
On Monday 24-April we drove back over to Palm Beach once again, with the goal of completing another round of provisioning as well as getting Relish’s punch list completed and moving her back to Nassau. By late morning on Wednesday, 26-April, we were ready to go.  On the way out of the Lake Worth area we stopped for fuel, taking on about 1100 gallons of diesel (bringing our total to 2800 gallons) and then headed out into open waters.  (Click HERE for our tracking site.)

Onboard were James Knight and Scott (from Yacht Tech), Gary Brace (our 4th crewmember for the upcoming sortie to Bermuda), plus Rick & Michelle.  On the first leg of the route we sailed due south hugging the coastline, mainly to minimize the impact of the Gulf Stream current.  Then at Fort Lauderdale we turned Relish eastward towards the Bahamas.  

inReach Track....with Messaging
Detail Displayed
During the remaining daylight hours we spent our time testing systems, otherwise known as sea trialing.  Both the main and wing engines got a good workout, as did the two diesel generators, air conditioning system, water maker, galley appliances, plumbing, pumps, and of course all the nav/comm gear. 

This was a fabulous opportunity for us to get to know the boat a bit better.  While a Nordhavn 60 bears some resemblance to our N47, it is in other ways a very different vessel – Relish is both bigger and more complex, and also has very different nav/comm equipment….mainly Furuno NavNet 3D augmented by Nobeltec TimeZero. The primary differences and complexities that stand out are the generator auto-start system, modifications made to accommodate European shore power differences (50 HZ AC power vs. 60 HZ), as well as an extensive Maretron monitoring system (which is very sexy.)
Two Radars Active at Different Ranges Plus the Chartplotter

During daylight hours everyone took informal turns at the wheel.  After the crew enjoyed a good dinner of stuffed peppers together in the pilot house just before nightfall, we then split up into our overnight shifts. Gary manned the helm until 2200, then Rick & Michelle took the next watch from 2200 to 0200, followed by James & Scott until 0600.  At about that time we experienced a battery charger issue that required attention (later rectified by replacing a 100 amp fuse), although a backup unit was still functional. 
Plus the Maretron Screen....One of Many Available

Sea conditions tended towards the sloppy side much of the night and following day; with the wind cranking around 20K from the NE, seas built to 4 feet at short intervals, with the occasional 5 foot hole in the water. But overall the hobby-horse ride wasn’t too bad.  Rick and Michelle got to experience sleeping in a forward state room in lumpy seas:  doable when you have a good mattress & pillow (we did), don’t mind dozing in a constantly moving rocking chair (we didn’t), and ignore the occasional air between your back and the mattress (that took some practice.)
N50-21 Get Away Punching Thru the Waves

We had a buddy boat in trail for most of our journey.  The Get Away is a Nordhavn 50 recently purchased by Greg and Michelle Dreiling, and our trip to Nassau turned out to be a good sea trial opportunity for them as well, following a couple months of refit work performed by James’ Yacht Tech yard in Palm Beach.  Get Away performed beautifully, and she looks as good as she runs.  It’s a 15 year old boat that looks and runs like new.  For a video of Get Away taken from Relish Click Here.
Michelle Filming Get Away Getting Spray Over the Bow

Silvio was eagerly waiting for us when we arrived at Nassau Yacht Haven shortly after 1700, and he was very happy to be reunited with his beautiful boat.  He treated us all to a great dinner at the marina’s restaurant (The Poop Deck), and we all crashed into our bunks shortly after that for some much needed shut eye.

The inReach's Trip Summary
We were all up early the next morning and used the time to troubleshoot some of the minor issues that had cropped up….everyone’s circadian rhythm was whacky anyway.  We also in-processed through Bahamian Customs (they had already shut down the previous evening) before scrambling to the airport to catch a flight home – probably setting some kind of record for the shortest time between in-and-outprocessing through customs and immigration.

We have a short break now – until 11-May – before we fly back to Nassau to make final preps for the ocean crossing.  So more to come, stay tuned.  If you have time click over to the NAP Blog site to see the latest there.

That's James Bracing himself in Relish's Pilot House Door Taking Pics of Get Away as She Came Alongside
Enroute to Nassau. Notice the Bow Up (Pitch) Angle of Relish at That Moment.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April 2017: All About N60 Relish

Firstly, as promised in the last blog entry, here is the link information for the blog site that covers the larger “Nordhavn Atlantic Passage 2017”…note there are two NAP blog entries already posted as of today, the first providing an overview of the boats involved and the general schedule, the second offering insights into what sort of preparations are involved for such a journey: 

You will also note that in the upper right hand corner of the sidebar there are a couple of new links that point to the NAP web site and our satellite tracker (not much to see on the latter yet, but it is up & live if you want to test out access to it.)

Since Michelle and Rick are also responsible for the NAP blogs you will find some occasional overlap between those and our personal Ghost Rider blog, but we’ll try to avoid that where possible.  Once you’ve had a chance to peruse the NAP coverage at the links above, come back here and we’ll share some information about Relish, the Nordhavn trawler on which we are crewing, as well as some of the preparations with which we are assisting.

Relish, a Nordhavn 60
About Relish
Relish is a 2010 Nordhavn 60 (hull #52).  Our friend Silvio purchased her in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2016, and as you will see from some of the pictures included here she is a drop-dead gorgeous vessel.  Relish is one of the early N60 production boats, which is actually a stretched version of the now discontinued N55.  The extra five feet is at the stern of the boat, providing a much roomier cockpit and lazarette than its predecessor.

Salon & Galley
With an overall length of 63 feet, a beam of 18 feet, and displacing 120,000 pounds, she is a beefy ocean-going trawler that can hold her own in the toughest of conditions….waaay more than her occupants can withstand.  And with a 2,800 gallon fuel capacity (she has the optional long range tanks) Relish can go a very long distance without refueling….around 4000 nautical miles on average.  So in theory she could make the entire Atlantic crossing without refueling - although that isn’t the plan.

Pilot House
Relish has three staterooms and three heads, along with a comfortable salon and well-equipped galley area, plus a very spacious cockpit for outdoor seating.  Its fly bridge and pilot house boast state of the art nav/comm equipment, including redundancies appropriate for an ocean-crosser.  She is powered by a single diesel power plant, a turbocharged 340 HP Lugger L1276A, but also has a backup get-home engine, along with two diesel generators.

Preparations to Cross an Ocean
Roomy Cockpit
As you will read about in the NAP blog, getting a boat and its crew ready to cross an ocean is not a simple exercise - the amount of planning and provisioning that go into it can sometimes seem overwhelming.  But given enough time and money – and an organized approach – it can certainly be done.

Stowing Spares in the Laz
Around the time we first met Silvio on his boat (December ’16, in Nassau) we were also in the process of building provisioning worksheets for our next boat.  We offered those up for his use, and eventually, at his request, we became the equivalent of his “purchasing agent” here in the U.S., since Silvio had to return to his home in Switzerland.  At about the same time Relish was sortied back to the U.S. for various preparatory maintenance tasks at Yacht Tech’s yard in Palm Beach.  So we went to work inventorying what was (and wasn’t) present on the vessel, and started to fill in the gaps.
Oil....Lots of It

Rick handled basic boat supplies, fishing gear, tools, lubricants and the like, while Michelle focused on crew quarters & the galley – both equipment and food.  The latter also involved developing meal menus for the entire month-long journey, which had to take into account the crew’s likes, dislikes and allergies.  We’ve since loaded much of these provisions aboard Relish – had to, Rick’s office wouldn’t hold any more stuff, nor would our vehicle – although at this point only non-perishable foodstuffs have been a part of that.  The perishables will wait until just before the departure date for the crossing.
More Oil

Getting Relish Back to Nassau
In addition to all the preparatory activities, we are also planning to sortie Relish from Palm Beach back to Nassau (New Providence in the Bahamas) soon – likely some time the week of 24-April.  
Relish Getting New Bottom
Paint at Yacht Tech

We’ll use that opportunity as a mini sea trial, with an approximate 26-hour and 200 nautical mile non-stop sortie to Nassau’s Yacht Haven marina.  James Knight, owner of Yacht Tech, will captain the ship, and we’ll wring out all the systems.  (If something should go awry James is the guy you definitely want on board with you.)

By the time we reach Nassau we should have a fairly good idea if Relish is ready to make the long trek across the big pond.  That will also give us a chance to perform another test on our Garmin/Delorme inReach tracker.  After that we’ll publish another blog with instructions on how to access and use that tracking site.  So stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April 2017: Ghost Rider Redux?

The DeFever 53
It has been a long time since our last post, but all along we've been busy trying to figure out a way to get back into the boating business with a Ghost Rider II.  We've actually been scouring the boat brokerage market since last October, and in that span we've been on at least 13 prospective boats.  One of those, a DeFever 53, caught our fancy. But after a very extensive survey and sea trial revealed some unanticipated issues, we decided to pass on it. So the search continues.

Relish - A Nordhavn 60
Nevertheless, in the midst of all the boat browsing we've been making preparations for a crossing of the Atlantic ocean on a Nordhavn 60, named Relish. The Nordy community is a tight one, and one where it's common to make new friends on a regular basis.  In this case we befriended a relatively new Nordhavn owner who, after buying the boat of his dreams here in the U.S., wants to get it back to his home waters in the Mediterranean.  And he needed some crew to help him do that.

Nordhavn Atlantic Passage
Beginning in mid-May 2017 several Nordhavn trawlers will make the long trek across the Atlantic ocean....from the east coast of Florida to Gibraltar. We're calling this the "Nordhavn Atlantic Passage 2017", aka NAP.  And we're jazzed to be a part of it.

The total journey will traverse approximately 3,900 nautical miles of open ocean, and will take us about a month to complete.  Our schedule is noted below. Bernie Francis (see link here) is our group leader aboard the flagship. Bernie was also our mentor and trainer in the early days of our Nordhavn ownership experience.  Ideally, assuming no weather delays, the trans-Atlantic passage will be completed once all vessels arrive in Gibraltar on or about 16-June.

As we chug across the big pond we'll be able to post near-real-time tracking via our Garmin/Delorme inReach satellite device; plus Michelle and I will be one of the flotilla's bloggers.  We will post the web site URLs for both the tracking device and the NAP blog once we get those finalized.  In the interim, here is the general current crossing plan:
  • Depart Palm Beach, Florida on Wednesday 17-May for a 5 1/2 day passage to Bermuda.
  • Arrive in Bermuda on Monday 22-May and stay 4 nights.
  •  Depart Bermuda Friday 26-May for an 11 day passage to Horta, Azores.
  •  Arrive in Horta on Tuesday 6-June and stay 4 nights.
  •  Depart Horta on Saturday 10-June for a 6 day passage to Gibraltar.
  •  Arrive Gibraltar on Friday 16-June.
One oddity to note....while Palm Beach will be the departure point for most boats, our vessel (Relish) will actually be departing from Nassau on New Providence island in the Bahamas.  That will require us to depart on 15-May to intercept the other boats departing from Florida.
Planned Route Across the North Atlantic

The owner and captain of Relish is Silvio Gentile, who resides in Lugano, Switzerland.  There are a number of circumstances that prevent Silvio from being present to supervise the preparations and provisioning of the boat at Yacht Tech's boatyard in Palm Beach, so Michelle and Rick are assisting with a few projects.

We'll have more to come on how we are preparing ourselves and the boat for the journey in the near future.  Stay tuned.