For Capt. Eric Clarke and his wife, Di-Enid, the name of their 2001 Nordhavn 40 says it all. The name is Enfin, and that means “finally” in French. He was born in France, and she is fluent in French. And Enfin, he told me, captures their dream. “’Finally’ would be the start of our dream, the means to do it and the great escape. We’d ‘finally’ be retired and enjoying life together. We’d ‘finally’ do what we want.”
Right now the Clarkes and Princess, their Siberian husky, are cruising in British Columbia, north of the San Juans. They bought the boat just 18 months ago in Anacortes, Washington, sold their home in Houston, and moved aboard this spring to start what they describe as “a long-term, long-distance adventure.”
Clarke has saltwater in his veins. He started sailing when he was 8, and bought his first cruising boat when he was 16. He became a professional captain and chief engineer and then moved ashore for a career in maritime safety. Di-Enid (pronounced “Dee”), was born in Puerto Rico, but traveled widely and became fluent in three languages. They met in France in 1989 and got married in the U.S. in 1991.
Then they lived in Washington, D.C. London, Paris, Marseille, Panama City, Florida, and Houston. And they planned a life together on the water. A pilot, Clarke flew his Cessna to boat shows all around the U.S. At first they were looking at sailboats, but at a Miami show they discovered passagemakers and displacement trawlers. And they zeroed in on Nordhavns.
On his blog, myenfin.com, Clarke wrote that “the quality of build, safety and redundancies offered by the Nordhavn 40 just put it in a class of its own, in my opinion.” They liked the range and the fact that a Nordhavn 40 had cruised around the world. Clarke wrote, “Di’s favorite question: ‘Can she take us to Tahiti?’ as basically a boat that can take you there can make it almost anywhere else on earth.”
And Di bought into the idea of a Nordhavn. “Di will take a Portuguese bridge over a larger galley, will ask whether the engine is dry or wet exhaust before asking about cabins, and will want a wing engine more than a flybridge,” Clark wrote. She also bought into cruising, and is studying for her Coast Guard six-pack license.
The Clarkes now call Enfin their “go anywhere home.” It has a six-cylinder, 105-hp Lugger diesel with dry exhaust and keel cooler, a 6-kW genset and a wing engine with a separate fuel supply, shaft and folding prop.
When I asked about their plans for the rest of the summer, Clarke said, “We’re not huge on plans. We retired early – swapping money for time – so that we wouldn’t have to rush things. We hope this is a 15-year adventure, and we’d like to take it as it comes.”
They’ll now head farther north, go down to Oregon for the winter, and then next summer perhaps go up to Alaska, then down to Mexico, perhaps Central America, or Greenland, or the Med. “We’ll see where life takes us,” Clarke said.
No matter they go, he wrote, “the most important thing so far is how content and happy we are with our crazy decision to go out and live our dream.” Read more: