Spirit of Ulysses, an ocean-crossing 2007 Nordhavn 76, just transited the Panama Canal on its way from Fort Lauderdale to Australia.
The Nordhavn’s latest trip will take two months and cover almost 9,900 nm before it reaches its newest home in Perth. It left Fort Lauderdale on May 2, stopped in Key West and then cruised on to Panama. Next stops: The Galapagos, Samoa, Fiji, and then Brisbane.
Hull number eight of the 76 series, Spirit of Ulysses has already cruised the Pacific from Alaska to New Zealand, transited the Panama Canal to the Atlantic and then made a transatlantic run to Spain. In early 2021, Mike Ridgway, a New Zealand software executive, bought it (it was the first boat he ever owned), and then, with a veteran crew, crossed the Atlantic to Barbados that December.
As it turned out, Kris Townend, an Australian and a veteran boat owner, had been following Ridgway’s videos of his journey. He and his wife Amy started boating with a 21-foot bow rider when they were married in 2011. Over the years, their family grew to include five children, and they moved up to a 35-foot Maxum and a 48-foot Sea Ray.
But an ocean-crossing cruiser, particularly a Nordhavn, was always on the horizon. Last year, Townend sold his business; this February he bought Spirit of Ulysses in Fort Lauderdale. He wanted it for its seaworthiness, long range and luxurious accommodations.
The original idea was the Townend would stay on board for the entire trip (he hired a professional captain) and he and his son Liam, 10, were on board all the way from the start through the Panama Canal. But then Townend faced a sudden business problem and they had to fly home; Townend will rejoin the boat in Fiji.
Once Spirit of Ulysses gets to Perth, the whole family will move on board. Their plans are to explore the waters around Australia for a while, particularly the Whitsunday Islands, and then move on to Asia. Stay tuned.
Specs.: 78’0”; Beam: 21’0”; Draft: 7’4”; Disp.: 286,000 lbs.; Fuel: 4,480 gals.; Water: 800 gals.; Power: 2×400-hp MTUs. Read more at http://nordhavn.com and see a video of Ridgway’s voyage below: