Sunday, February 25

Nordhavn Splashes Much-Heralded 51-01

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Lots of new boat buyers, particularly those who sign up for hull number one, go to far lengths to visit the factory as the actual construction goes along, to check on the progress, to make final decisions, or simply to become part of the process of creating a brand new yacht.

But Mark and Fiona Rammell, who described themselves as lifelong Kiwis, have taken all this to an entirely new level. Mark, a retired Air New Zealand pilot, has created a series of videos of their new Nordhavn, hull number one of the 51 series, being built in Turkey. The boat, which they named Awanui NZ just splashed in the test tank at the Nordhavn factory in Tuzla, and a very happy Mark was there to record it. He’s now on video #36 on You Tube. (Awanui is a township on New Zealand’s North Island; it also means big river, or coming together, in Maori.)

It took about three years from the time the Rammells decided to buy the boat until the splash two weeks ago, but Mark hadn’t ever been on a Nordhavn until last November when he went on a sea trial of a new 41 out of Tusla. “Wow,” he wrote. “My first impression was this is a bigger boat than it looks.”

Way back, at the beginning, he said they started the videos to provide “a point blank, no-holds-barred view of what the searching, buying, learning, waiting, outfitting, planning, waiting, training (did we mention waiting?) and actual cruising process is like.”

The Rammells are not people who wanted to sit around home in their golden years. They’re doers. Mark was president of the New Zealand Airline Pilots Association for six years, and also built half a dozen houses. Fiona taught math in college and was a lay pastoral leader until she concentrated on building their events business on a 14-acre site in Upper Hott, near Wellington. They have four grown children and two grandchildren. And they wanted to cruise the world.

“We are both extroverts, hard-working, and have drive,” Mark wrote. “If at home we can’t stop working, so that is why we’re going to pick up a boat in Turkey and spend three years sailing it home.”

At first, they thought they would buy a Nordhavn 43. But then they became intrigued by the idea of getting the first-built 51. The 51 had more room, of course, but it was still small enough so they could handle it as a couple. Built as a long-range cruiser, the 51 has two staterooms and two heads and is powered by twin 160-hp John Deere engines. Top speed is 10 knots, and it has a range of more than 3,000 nm at its cruising speed of 7-8 knots.

Both the Nordhavn 41 and 51 are built in Tusla as production boats; there isn’t that much a new owner can change in the build. But that was fine with the Rammells. “What makes it exciting is it’s a new thing,” Fiona said. And they got a lot of advice and support from other Nordhavn owners in forums and chat groups. “You’re not going into this alone,” she said, “you’re with people who already know things.”

This spring they plan to start their life on Awanui NZ, cruising the Med and, over the course of the next few years, head up to England, over to the U.S. and eventually back home. “This is the dream of the Nordhavn life,” Mark wrote. “The Nordhavn life brings enough work to keep you occupied, but also provides the perfect environment to relax and soak up the beauty and peace of travel on the water.”

Read more at and see the video below:







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