Tag Archives | Nordhavn

KVH V7-HTS: Twice the Speed & More Coverage

Frequent readers of this blog know we have become very dependent upon satellite communications. In fact, we have three different satellite technologies on board Dirona, as described in Communications at Sea. Here, we complete a quick survey of the satellite systems on Dirona, our experience with them, and why we upgraded to the KVH V7-HTS system four months ago. Our…

Dublin to Falmouth

We crossed 9,500 hours our John Deere 6068AFM75 main engine on the 243nm run from Dublin, Ireland to Falmouth, UK. This run would take us past the strong and sometimes dangerous currents off the most western tip of the UK at Land’s End, so we we left just before midnight to catch favourable tides. Conditions…


Envoy is berthed in Greece’s Lefkas Marina and we’re home in Auckland. Unfortunately circumstances prevent us returning to cruise in the Med this year.
This is the second part of an article we wrote published in Australasia’s Pacific PassageMaker magazine about starting the live-aboard cruising life.
OK from Part 1 we realise life’s time clock is ticking and we’ve faced the common fears. 
Once we decide to live the cruising life there are numerous practical issues to consider mostly falling somewhere into these categories:
Envoy anchored in Vathi, Astypaelia

How long will you be away each yearthe vast majority of cruisers (power and sail) see little point in sitting out the whole of their cruising region’s winter in a marina, particularly after doing it once, so they mostly return home to see their families and friends.An exception to this is that many European cruisers prefer the kinder winter weather in a location like the Med to that in their own country.

It’s great fun to be in a harbour or marina but we choose not to spend the whole winter there

How many years will you cruise forthe short answer is as long as you are enjoying it and health, funds and other circumstances permit. About five years would be typical and we’ve rarely met cruisers who’ve lived aboard for more than ten.

Dependent familymost of the cruising community are in the age group mid-50s to mid-70s without school-age children and cruisers living aboard with children are rare. When we started cruising we each had an elderly parent who accepted we were living our lives to the full, appreciated our weekly phone call and enjoyed our home visits.

Family and Friends – ofcourse you miss your family and close friends, but some may be able to visit you and share in your cruising experience. Otherwise being able to see them for at least one period of a few months during the year keeps these relationships intact.

Your family and friends can visit to share your adventures

Workmost cruisers we meet are semi or completely retired. Some do consulting work remotely or are able to find some casual work if they choose to. A fewer number of younger cruisers take time out from the work force intending to rejoin it later.

Your homesome cruisers elect to sell their house to provide funds for cruising while most others rent it out, get house sitters or leave it vacant.

Compatibility and confidence – some people may speculate you won’t get on well together as a couple spending so much time in the confines of a boat. Only you will know if this is correct or not and we probably all know people where this lifestyle would be doomed to failure. Allied to this issue is one partner having a lack of confidence in the other’s ability. If you’re passionate you’re half way there and your confidence will grow through sharing experiences together.

Healtha reasonable but not perfect standard of general health and fitness is required for the live-aboard life reinforcing the case for starting the cruising life sooner than later. Travel insurance is essential as medical treatment can be extremely expensive overseas.

PetsOverseas regulations concerning transportation and quarantine of pets are less strict than in New Zealand or Australia and some cruisers take their pets along. Similarly there are fewer restrictions on pets on beaches and in restaurants and cafes. Diane and I always had a dog or cat at home and loved them dearly, but prefer to avoid the hassles of having a pet aboard a boat.

Comfort aboard – this will of course vary by vessel. When yachtsmen come aboard Envoy they are amazed at the living space available compared to sailing vessels of the same length. We don’t get wet, cold or wind-blown and with our stabilisers Envoy’s motion is rarely lively enough to spill a coffee.

Comfort isn’t an issue aboard a well-found cruising boat – Envoy’s dinette and galley viewed from astern
Capital and living costs – the size, age and condition of your vessel determines its capital cost. Remember that bigger isn’t always better as larger vessels have dearer insurance, berthage and maintenance costs and can’t get into some of the smaller anchorages and harbours. Living costs such as food, beverages, household supplies and personal spending are about the same for us while cruising as when at home. Maintenance is dearer due to the higher cost of parts and greater distances travelled. There is also the cost of travel to and from our boat and additional fuel for the longer distances cruised. Casual marina prices are high in the Med so the best option is to anchor wherever possible, which is always free. Excluding living costs repairs and maintenance have been our largest cost averaging about six per cent of Envoy’s estimated value each year. Diane and I look at this not as “cost” but “investment in fun”.
Read PART 3 in about a week.

Dun Laoghaire

Two massive piers, built in the early 1800s, create a huge 250-acre (101-hectare) sheltered harbour at Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dun Leary) near Dublin. Dun Laoghaire Marina is a large, 820-boat marina behind a second set of breakwaters within that protected harbour. Although the marina is outside Dublin proper, it has convenient train access to the…

Return to US

While in Dublin, we made a short return trip the US to attend the Amazon Web Services re:Invent conference, held annually in Las Vegas. We arrived into San Francisco, where we spent two nights and attended an NHL (ice hockey) and an NFL (football) game, before continuing on to Las Vegas. Most of the week…


The cliff walk along Howth Head Peninsula gives sweeping views south into Dublin Bay and the town of Howth. We could see Baily Lighthouse, on Howth Head Peninsula, from Dun Laoghaire and were eager to take in the view the other way. An easy direct train ride from Dun Laoghaire brought us to Howth, where…

Historic Dublin

Trinity College, in the middle of downtown Dublin, was founded in 1592 by Elizabeth I. In 1661 it became home to The Book of Kells, a lavishly illustrated Gospel manuscript and one of the oldest books in the world. The book was produced in the 9th century at the Iona Abbey in southwest Scotland, that…

Dublin Fueling

We’d been monitoring our fuel levels with the hopes of waiting until we return to Ireland in November to refuel since the prices are better there. We succeeded, and arrived at Dun Laoghaire with only 310 total gallons (1,178L) of fuel on board and needing 1,438 gallons (5,443L). Dun Laoghaire Marina has an easy-to-use fuel…


Envoy is berthed in Greece’s Lefkas Marina and we’re home in Auckland. 
Unfortunately circumstances prevent us returning to cruise in the Med this year.
We recently wrote an article published in Pacific PassageMaker magazine about starting the live-aboard cruising life. Over the next few weeks we’ll be psting this article to our Blog in several parts.
The live-aboard life isn’t for everyone; there are many competent, dedicated weekend cruisers who wouldn’t want to spend more time at sea than ashore. But for those who have the live-aboard passion there is generally nothing to stop you. 
As famed cruiser and circumnavigator Scott Flanders advises, “tick…tick…tick… the clock is ticking, get the picture … do it now!” 
Regardless of whatever your future dream life happens to be if you can’t literally do it now, at least make a plan now and work towards achieving it.

Plan your dreams now – Envoy moored by Bodrum’s castle, Turkey

When I turned 50 I expected to have about 20 good summers left, meaning that barring major illnesses or accidents I expected to enjoy our cruising passion until I was about 70 years old. 

Now I’m nearly 68 and believe most people could enjoy live-aboard cruising into their mid-70s.
The main issue which could prevent this is health. Whatever the upper age limit may be one thing’s for sure – you certainly don’t meet many cruisers in their 80s.
Here’s a little exercise to help you visualise how many good summers you have left. Take a tape measure showing inches and stretch it out. Note where 75 inches is representing age 75 and where your age is (e.g. age 60 would be 60 inches). The sobering message is the huge length of tape up to 60 inches represents your life up to now and the short length of tape from your age to 75 (or thereabouts) represents the time you have left to do relatively demanding things like live-aboard cruising.
We had cruised extensively during weekends and holidays and dreamed of enjoying great destinations until we tired of them rather than meeting timetables. We had adult children living overseas, no health issues and wanted to cruise while circumstances permitted. Experience wasn’t an issue and we’d always worked well as a team on four power boats we’d owned during 30 years to that time.
After two years’ planning we bought our Nordhavn 46 Passagemaker, Envoy, in 2006 and I took a year’s leave of absence from work so we could live-aboard during 2007. Then I went back to work leaving Envoy in a Turkish marina for two years before retiring in early 2010 at age 59.

Envoy on the hard stand at Maramaris, Turkey

By the time I reached the “traditional” retirement age of 65 we’d enjoyed six years of the live-aboard life and now we’ve had eight cruising in exotic places like Greece, Turkey, Italy, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro as well as hundreds of surrounding islands.

Something you wouldn’t see while boating in New Zealand

The live-aboard life doesn’t have to involve crossing oceans and we’ve cruised over 16,000 miles in the Med rarely being over 40 miles from the nearest land. There are thousands of people living aboard all manner of boats in various parts of the world enjoying adventurous coastal cruising. While it’s a great feeling to have a boat that is ocean-capable a large number of cruisers elect to ship even these vessels aboard purpose-built freighters rather than traverse the oceans on their own hulls and the two options are considered to be similar in cost.
Scott Flanders wrote an excellent article in 2011 outlining potential cruisers’ common concerns and some solutions. This is equally valid today.

Experience levelseveryone starts somewhere so take small steps first and learn from your mistakes. Coastguard and the Royal Yachting Association run excellent courses to gain practical and theoretical skills and as most countries require some evidence of proficiency when clearing-in it’s a good idea to gain some certifications.

Mechanical abilityit isn’t the big things that fail and you will learn to deal with handling the smaller problems. Most countries have competent mechanical assistance available. Carry a comprehensive range of tools, spare parts, equipment manuals and chandlery aboard.

Most technical issues can be easily resolved – in Marmaris we had the stabiliser through-hull seals replaced

Handling rough seasbecomes easier with practice and although this is a concern for many one study reports 80 per cent of the time wave heights are less than 3.7m explaining how many cruisers travel thousands of ocean miles over many years rarely if ever encountering dangerous seas. 
Navigationis not difficult with today’s electronic equipment. Sextants are long gone and this is an area where courses will greatly assist.
Seasicknessmany cruisers start off getting seasick but wean themselves out of it and medications can assist.

Weather and tidesthere is ample reliable information for coastal cruising while offshore cruisers often pay for professional forecasting. The internet hugely improves forecast availability. There is negligible tide in the Med.

Manoeuvring and dockingpractice makes perfect, but don’t worry about minor scratches on your gelcoat – they won’t ruin a great experience. A bow thruster will greatly assist docking.

Another concern is piracy off the north-east coast of Africa making it dangerous to traverse these waters. Circumnavigators who include the Med in their route mostly ship their boats across the Indian Ocean. Piracy is not a major issue in other waters and the website www.noonsite.comprovides regular updates.

Read PART 2 in about a week.

Exploring Dublin

We spent our first couple of days in Dun Laoghaire exploring the area, including a visit to the nearby National Maritime Museum of Ireland and a late-afternoon walk around downtown Dublin. We strolled along statue-filled O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare, and along the River Liffey that runs through town, where the many bridges are beautifully…