Sunday, November 29

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Another Nordhavn Fleet Plans an Atlantic Crossing

Nordhavn is at it again. Another group of Nordhavn owners, six this time, are going to be leaving Florida soon, with four of them ultimately heading across the Atlantic for Gibraltar. (Two will go as far as Bermuda, watch the America’s Cup there and then cruise up to Nova Scotia.) The other four will continue to Horta in the Azores and then on to Gibraltar.

The original Nordhavn Atlantic Rally, in 2004 (pictured in Gibraltar, above), was the first fleet of recreational powerboats ever to cross the Atlantic, with 18 boats (including 15 Nordhavns) going from Fort Lauderdale to Gibraltar. As the editorial director of Yachting and MotorBoating at the time, I went the last 1,150 nm from Horta to Gibraltar on Jim Leishman’s Nordhavn 57 Atlantic Escort. Leishman, of course, was then, and still is, VP of Nordhavn and the leader of the Atlantic Rally. He also is a terrific captain; my six days on his boat are one of the major highlights of my cruising life. A second group of Nordhavn owners crossed the Atlantic in 2008.

This new group is being put together by Bernie Francis, a delivery captain, and it all started when he was delivering a Nordhavn 60 from Puerto Vallarta to Palm Beach. The Belgian owner, Andre de Weldige, said he’d like to cross the Atlantic, to get his boat closer to his home cruising grounds. Once they got to Florida, word spread, and soon five other Nordhavn owners signed up for the trip.

The plan is for five of the six boats to leave Nordhavn’s facility in Old Port Cove in North Palm Beach on May 17; the sixth, already in the Bahamas, will join the others en route to Bermuda. Francis figures it will take five days to get to Bermuda, another 10-plus to cross to Horta, and then six more for the final leg to Gibraltar.

This will be Francis’ fourth Atlantic crossing; he was on a Nordhavn 55 that was part of the 2008 group. “I think crossing the Atlantic is fun, but there’s always a wow factor,” he says. Meanwhile, he’s studying the original plans and the incredibly thorough “bible” that Nordhavn put together for the 2004 rally. That one went off without a hitch; now everyone involved is hoping for a repeat performance.

You can follow their progress at:


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