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Nordhavn 120 Arrives at Vancouver After Layover in Aleutian Islands


Doug Harlow, a Nordhavn marketing manager, yesterday announced the arrival of the Nordhavn 120 at Vancouver, Canada, 44 days after leaving Hong Kong. The voyage was to have been non-stop at displacement speeds, but snotty weather forced the crew to put into the Aleutian Islands. The 120 is the biggest Nordhavn yet, following hundreds of Nordhavn’s under 100 feet.

Jim Leishman is vice-president of Pacific Asian Enterprises, the builder of Nordhavn boats. What follows is his blog written after the 120’s departure from from Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians, a week earlier.

We finally departed Dutch Harbor after some unexpected delays courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard. After our arrival on Sunday we were delivered an order to not leave port until we could deliver a COFR or Certificate of Financial Responsibility that is required for vessels of our gross tonnage. This certification insures that the vessel owner has the financial resources to clean up any pollution spillage from the vessel and the federal government takes it very seriously.

We arrived at the pilot transfer point off Dutch Harbor where we took aboard Alaska Pilot John Schibel who directed us to the commercial dock where we would take on five thousand additional gallons of fuel - all arranged by our agent Alaska Vessel Agent - Monika Bergert. Another benefit of our grand size is a harbor pilot is compulsorily at many locations. Once in Alaska and the services of a pilot are used there are applications that allow exemptions but for this entry it was about $2,200 inward pilot service and another $2,200 to get us out. John apologized for the cost but the port requires it and there’s no way around it the first time.

So our fueling went well and Monika provided us with a loaner car. The customs came aboard and cleared us all in without any drama and we anticipated departing the following morning – Monday until the Coast Guard Officer Robinson paid us a visit and politely advised us of the COFR requirement. So we spent an additional 24 hours in Dutch Harbor waiting for our insurance company to arrange the document – during which time we did a little provisioning, touring and thoroughly enjoyed this unique place and numerous nice and interesting people.

The COFR was finally delivered to Dutch Harbor Coast Guard mid day Tuesday and they expedited our clearance from the port and we pulled away from the dock with Pilot John aboard at 17:00 local time under beautiful blue sky and laid a course for the Akutan Pass - timing it so we could take advantage of a predicted four knot current on an ebbing tide. We had good sunlight until after 23:00 so we were treated a beautiful afternoon with brilliant green islands, snow capped mountains and an abundance of birdlife and bright sunshine that warmed the aft deck to tee-shirt temperatures. It’s amazing how rejuvenating bright sunshine and clear sky is after days of overcast and fog.

We’ve been running now for forty eight hours and are enjoying good traveling conditions with 15 knots of wind at our stern and light seas. The movement of the boat is hardly discernible and we glide along at 9 knots consuming only 24 gallons per hour from our two MTU engines. A quick calculation shows that we are consuming 240 horsepower per side of our 1,000 available or only about 24% of our power. Normally Aurora will cruise faster – probably at 10.5 to 11.5 knots or more but for us the trade off is economy verses time – this speed makes sense for us as we’re paying the fuel bills.

Bob Jones must have felt bad about the inclement weather in the Aleutians over the past weeks so he has ordered up some pretty good conditions for us all the way into the Dixon Entrance – between Ketchikan, Alaska and Prince Rupert, Canada. Depending on weather we will either turn more to the south and enter Queen Charlotte Sound or continue into the Dixon and run inside down to Vancouver Island.

I know that some may wonder why we would worry so much about such trivial things such as weather in a 414 Gross Ton vessel as stout as the Nordhavn. Well – it’s still a little boat on a big ocean at over 50 degrees of north latitude and the fisherman in Dutch Harbor told us to hug the beach (meaning Kodiak Island) and get across and inside as soon as you can. You know the Alaska Crabbers on TV with the big steel 200 foot boats. They respect the Gulf of Alaska too.

Oh by the way – it is Doug Harlow’s birthday today and we have cake and will allow him a small ration of grog (don’t worry -he won’t be allowed outside, near any machinery or in the wheelhouse and he will wear protective foot ware and be supervised) to celebrate the occasion.

 The Nordhavn 120 lies alongside the docks at Vancouver.

The Nordhavn 120 lies alongside the docks at Vancouver.