This is the home page for Milt & Judy Baker's Nordhavn 47 Bluewater.
Our site aims to provide one couple's perspective on building, outfitting, commissioning and cruising a Nordhavn full displacement motor yacht. We came to the process with decades of cruising experience under sail and power, but we'd like to point out that the choices we have made in building and outfitting may not be right for you. Like all serious cruisers, we have our own prejudices and sometimes cannot be persuaded by logic or evidence! We've owned the boat for more than eight years and have cruised it close to 35,000 miles, putting almost 5,000 engine hours on the clock and burning over 20,000 gallons of diesel.
Bluewater, Nordhavn 47 hull no. 32, was built for us at the South Coast factory in Xiamen, China, and shipped to the USA in May 2005. Commissioning and outfitting took place in Stuart, Florida, and the boat was delivered to us on September 3, about 13 months after we signed oour contract.
Since taking delivery, we've made a number of offshore passages including a shakedown cruise from North Carlolina to Venezuela, a passage from the Virgin Islands to Bermuda and on to Maine, an Atlantic crossing to Gibraltar, and two summers of Mediterranean cruising between Barcelona and Montenegro and Croatia. We have also cruised the Eastern Seaboard extensively from Key West to Newfoundland in the Canadian Maritimes.
As I write this I in fall 2013, we're in Charleston, SC, awaiting a weather window to return to Fort Lauderderdale. This past summer we enjoyed cruising in Atlantic Canada again, the Nova Scotia coast, the Bras d'Or Lakes, and a short time in Newfoundland. Then we headed south via the Chesapeake Bay.
One of the top questions we've gotten about this boat is, “How does she handle heavy weather?” The truth is that we've seen little heavy weather during our cruising with this boat. However, we saw more than our fair share of gales in early season cruising in the Mediterranean in spring 2008, weathered a sudden 55-knot squall in the Bahamas on the way from Norman's Cay to Nassau in April 2007, and a 24-hour spell of bad stuff on our Atlantic crossing: an unavoidable light gale off the coast of Portugal a few days out of Gibraltar. We also had a couple of serious thunderstorms in Croatia, with winds gusting in the 40s. Bluewater handled it all easily and safely if not always comfortably. For a sample, this is from my log on July 8, 2007:
The big winds and accompanying seas announced their arrival at mid-afternoon and built through the night. The anemometers on our three yachts differ, perhaps because the N55 sensors are mounted considerably higher than ours. Aboard Bluewater we saw steady overnight north winds mostly in the mid- and upper-twenties, frequently gusting to the mid-thirties. Moana Kuewa and Salty Dawg reported winds about 5 knots higher across the board, topping out with a 42.7-knot gust reported by Salty Dawg. Moana Kuewa reported winds to 39 knots and aboard Bluewater nobody remembers anything above 36. Swells built from mid-afternoon, reaching an estimated 4 to 6 feet from the N within a few hours, peaking at 5 to 7 or maybe 6 to 8 feet, possibly higher, with 2-3 foot of chop on top. They seemed huge and knocked our boats around like they were toys!
It wasn't truly dangerous, but, yes, it was uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. Reports from all three Med Bound yachts indicated that everyone was having a problem overnight staying-put in bed. Perhaps not all of us slid or rolled out of bed but most of us did at least once. Even with the stabilizers (and, in Bluewater's case, paravanes) working, rolls were typically 15 to 20 degrees, occasionally over 30 degrees. Wind and seas were on our port quarter; as a big roller would approach, the port quarter would rise sometimes ten feet or more to meet it, then the wave would push the boat into a starboard roll; thanks to the stabilizers and paravanes, the boat would roll back. Again and again, thousands of times. Nobody got much sleep. Trying to sleep after my 2100-2400 watch, I finally found that putting a non-skid placemat on the sheet under my butt helped keep me from slipping around in the covers.
For the most part, Bluewater handles offshore passages with ease, and we generally seem to arrive at our destinations comfortable and well-rested. The boat's usual offshore motion is easy, thanks to her oversized Naiad stabilizers, and she is an extremely quiet vessel--both factors help make her a good sea boat. Like most yachts, she does not like steep seas from ahead and tends to pitch considerably in such conditions. One of our most uncomfortable days was heading north into a steep chop and 30 knots of north wind on Chesapeake Bay. Another was with our good friends Bruce and Joan Kessler aboard, heading for Venezuela's Isla Margarita when we saw head seas and wind (against current) gusting to about 45 knots in squalls. But such conditions are the exception and we see a lot more good weather than bad.
About us: Judy and I been seriously cruising under sail and power together since the 1970s, and we each have over 100,000 miles of cruising in our wake. Judy was a teacher and real estate developer, and I a career U.S. Navy officer, leaving active duty to go cruising in our sailboat. After cruising full time for a couple of years, in 1986 we founded Bluewater Books & Charts, which grew to become America's largest seller of nautical books and paper and electronic charts during the 15 years we owned and managed it. Before our Nordhavn we owned a 32-foot Allied Seawind II ketch, which took us offshore to the Eastern Caribbean and back by way of Bermuda in the early 1980s, and a Grand Banks 42 Classic which carried us between Havana and Halifax, with lots of stops along the way. As a member of the organizing committee and head of the advance team for the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally 2004, with Judy at my side I saw lots of Nordhavns in action and met dozens of happy Nordhavn owners. That's what helped us decide that a Nordhavn 47 was the boat for us.
This website is a work in progress, and we seem to be perpetually behind in updating it. Somehow, maintaining a website and cruising at the same time seem fundamentally incompatible--and it's the cruising and boat maintenance that get our attention first!
Milt & Judy Baker
Nordhavn 4732 Bluewater
Onboard cell 954-610-5193
Copyright © 2013 Bluewater Navigation Inc.
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