After you've crossed the Atlantic on your own boat, what do you do for an encore? After all, that's a tough act to follow.
Not surprisingly, many, perhaps most, of the 18 owners in the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally say they plan to do exactly the same thing-go cruising. Although not on quite the same scale as their epic 3,800-mile voyage together from Fort Lauderdale to Gibraltar (see our story in this issue). Indeed, now that they're in the gateway to the Med, many will head for Spain, Italy, the Greek Islands, even Turkey. For a few, Croatia was a favorite destination; others were going as far afield as Ireland and Britain.
Walking around the dock at Marina Bay in Gibraltar, a day after we arrived, I talked with owners washing down their boats, replenishing supplies, and getting out their charts to plan for where they were going next. For Ken and Roberta Williams on Sans Souci, a Nordhavn 62, the decision was easy. They were going to take a two-week cruise to Mallorca, then a delivery crew would take the boat to France where, four months later, it would be shipped back home to Vancouver. For the Mallorca trip, they would have far fewer people on board than they had for the rally: Sans Souci crossed the Atlantic in style, with a professional chef (who usually worked in a private railroad car) and professional captain named Rip Knot (I'm not making this up).
Crosser also went in style. A 90-foot Monk-McQueen, she had piano in the saloon, a massage table in the master suite, heated marble floors, and an eight-person hot tub. The owner, David Stone, had definite plans after the rally: He was going to Madrid to be married, and then resume cruising the world.
Bill Smith had plans for Autumn Wind, a Nordhavn 62. First, he was going to fix the autopilot, which broke more than 1,100 miles back, somewhere near the Azores. (When we'd inquire on the VHF how he was doing in the last part of the trip, Bill would reply, "Fine. I have four autopilots here (meaning his crew), although their wrists are getting sore. He figured out that they turned the wheel some 34,560 times a day.) After that, Autumn Wind was heading for Portofino and the Med, picking up children and grandchildren along the way.
For its part, Atlantic Escort, a Nordhavn 57 and the lead boat in the rally, was going up to England to be sold by the Nordhavn office there. Jim Leishman, her captain and rally leader, was heading back to the Nordhavn offices in Southern California to prepare for the launch of a new 72.
Michael Perfit and Kevin Keith, the owners of Stargazer, a Nordhavn 46, also were heading for England, but not to sell the boat. They had decided more than a year ago to become full-time cruisers, selling their home and car in Florida and moving aboard the boat. They had originally planned to cross the Atlantic by themselves and spend a few years in Europe, but then the rally came along. Now they'll go back to Plan A, and cruise the Med and the Irish Sea before spending the winter living aboard on the Thames. "This is the best life we can imagine, Kevin says. "The rally was great. But we're just warming up.
For a complete compilation of the Rally from Ft. Lauderdale to Gibraltar, log onto yachtingnet.com's special Nordhavn Rally Web site.