Josh and Natasha Tofield know a good thing when they see it, both in terms of boats and in terms of destinations. They now own their second Nordhavn, a 52 named Samba, which they praise for its build and its seaworthiness, and they’re spending their cruising time in the far reaches of Alaska, in Kodiak, and even farther out, in Dutch Harbor.
Indeed, since they bought their first Nordhavn, a 40, in 2005, they’ve cruised more than 30,000 miles between Seattle and Kodiak, spending time at some 450 different anchorages. The Tofields, retired from the practice of plastic surgery, live in Tucson, Arizona, during the winter, while Samba is shrink wrapped at the Kodiak Municipal Boat Harbor. They can’t wait to get back. “The environment is amazing,” Natasha says in a Nordhavn video. “The beauty gets under your skin and you want to see everything.”
For his part, Josh told me that they like cruising around Kodiak because “there is constant challenge from the elements. There is wildlife all around, from the Kodiak bears to huge pods of whales and wonderful bird life. We have great respect for the bears, endlessly fascinating and intelligent creatures who are at the top of the food chain, something never to be forgotten.”
Even when they bought their first Nordhavn, the Tofields were hardly new to cruising; they’d sailed thousands of miles in the Pacific, and he has a Coast Guard 100-ton Master’s License. But they thought a powerboat would be more suited to cruising the Pacific Northwest, particularly up to Alaska, which they did on their 40. But they moved up to the 52 because they wanted a larger boat, particularly one with hydraulic stabilizers and a stand-up engine room.
Samba has two large staterooms with ensuite heads and showers; it also has a diesel heating furnace. With bow and stern thrusters, the Tofields say the two of them can handle it easily. The boat is powered by a single 266-hp diesel and Josh says it’s “remarkably fuel efficient.” Often, Josh drives the boat, while Natasha fishes (she’s “an awesome fisherman,” he says) or takes pictures. Their 9-year-old lab, Loxie, is always with them; she’s been on the boat since she was a puppy.
For the past few summers the Tofields have held educational charters on Samba, cruising out of Kodiak. They’re designed for two people, usually for a week, and they cover everything from navigation to boat systems to emergency man-overboard drills. Even experienced cruisers say they’ve learned a lot from such hands-on teaching.
Cruising by themselves or holding their charters, the Tofields plan to stay in Alaska. “We’ve barely scratched the surface,” Natasha says. Read more: