|Pulling Out the Stops|
Part 2: Zen-like resignation
By Tim Clark — July 2002
We found ourselves in a blow like that early on the second day of our voyage, within hours of exiting the Gulf of Patriakos and faced with more than 200 nautical miles of open Ionian Sea. Pleasure cruisers would surely have waited it out in an herb-scented anchorage on Kefallinia Island, at the mouth of the gulf. But our forecast promised the gale wouldn't worsen, and we had a schedule to keep.
Usually, your affection for a particular boat develops gradually, not just over time but also over geography, as you begin to associate her with a lengthening list of pleasurable places. Your relationship to a boat that delivers you through tumult matures a lot more quickly. On the fair day of our departure, the seeds of a certain fancy for the Nordhavn may have been planted as she took us within sight of the Acropolis at Athens and through the sheer, gorge-like Corinth Canal. However, in the Ionian, with winds from 35 to 40 knots, my fondness grew apace. Seething combers from the southeast broke against her port stern quarter for ten hours, but with fin stabilizers and paravanes at work she felt well able to take worse. The weather pushed us to 8.5 knots, a full knot faster than her usual cruising speed with the 105-hp Lugger diesel at 1800 rpm.
Such slow speed teaches Zen-like resignation, so even in foul weather, patience and calm underlies the crew's vigilance. After a period of tranquility through the Straits of Messina, we were pummeled again as we ran north of Sicily. Blunt five-foot head seas tossed the stout little Nordhavn. To move about the boat, or not move, or to sit, or sleep, or not sleep required ceaseless effort.
At 5 a.m. I was roused from my bunk when someone opened the saloon-sole hatch to the engine room. There was a problem with the pump that cooled the fin stabilizers' hydraulic oil, and Leishman and Zumwalt were going at it forcefully, almost as though they were happy to have a distraction from the weather. I took over the watch just as Eunson woke up to join the fun. Friends and coworkers for years, the trio tackled the trouble, a faulty switch, with impressive determination, speed, and--the special mark of a fine crew--civility.
This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.