Pacific ocean crossing

“Great Siberian Sushi Run” Prepares to Weigh Anchor

Late next month, an interesting convoy of sorts will depart the protected waters of Seattle for a nearly 6,000 NM trek across the North Pacific to Russia and Japan.  The three Nordhavns — the first Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci, owned by Ken and Roberta Williams; Grey Pearl, an N62 owned by Braun and Tina Jones, and Seabird, another N62 owned by Steven and Carol Argosy — are taking the unusual northern route and have dubbed it the “Great Siberian Sushi Run (GSSR).” 

A Wide View of the Route of the GSSR.   Image courtesy of Ken Williams

A Wide View of the Route of the GSSR. Image courtesy of Ken Williams

Williams is something of a minor celebrity in passagemaking circles, having blogged though the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally (NAR) in the summer of 2004, when a fleet of 18 Nordhavns (and a couple of others), sponsored in part by Nordhavn and other marine companies, transited the Atlantic from Fort Lauderdale to Gibraltar.  You can read the Nordhavn summary of that rally here.  Williams eventually compiled his blog entries into a book, entitled “Crossing an Ocean Under Power.”  Williams and his wife were the co-founders of the computer game company Sierra On-Line, from which they were able to retire and enjoy what has been, off and on, a full-time cruising lifestyle.

Passagemakers of all kinds, including no doubt, many potential Nordhavn customers, have enjoyed reading Williams’s blog entries in the years since the NAR.  He documented the sale of their original Nordhavn, a 62 also named Sans Souci, and their decision to become the launch customer for the Nordhavn 68.  In the kind of excruciating detail that many of us absolutely devour, Williams detailed nearly every major decision along that buying process — everything from engine selection to electronics and the myriad of other systems aboard a big, fairly complicated boat.  You can read many of his posts at his current cruising blog and much more detail about the Nordhavn 68 at the website he established when building the boat, here.  The Argosys also have a blog about their travels aboard Seabird.

The GSSR is taking a far-northern route from Seattle to Japan, in part to ensure the little convoy is never too far offshore.  Williams explains how they decided to do the trip in the first place and why they chose this particular route in a recent blog entry this way:

“We all wanted to cross the Pacific, and this gives us a way to “get to the other side” without ever being more than about 500 miles from land. Instead of a fifteen to twenty day cruise across open ocean, we instead have a spectacular trip with plenty of places to stop.

We have a “once in a lifetime” chance to visit a cruising ground that few, other than commercial fishing boats, have ever visited. How many boaters can say they’ve docked in Siberia?

It’s tough to get three highly opinionated captains to agree on anything. We wanted to cruise together, and couldn’t agree on Tahiti. I don’t know why.”

The legs of the trip, as currently planned, are tabulated in the following whimsical illustration, which has become a sort of logo for the trip.  Click on the image for a larger, more readable look at the leg distances.

Great Siberian Sushi Run Route Map   Image Courtesy of Ken Williams

Great Siberian Sushi Run Route Map Image Courtesy of Ken Williams

Ordinarily, a trans-Pacific run is made from near-Equatorial latitudes in order to take advantage of the prevailing trade winds, which can add a knot or two, sometimes more to westward boat speed.  In this case, the GSSR is more likely to face headwinds and seas which crossing the infamous Bering Sea.  Williams says the planned departure date, April 23, was chosen to improve the odds of relatively benign conditions in the Bering. 

Nordhavn 68 Sans Souci at Anchor.  Photo courtesy of Ken Willaims

Nordhavn 68 Sans Souci at Anchor. Photo courtesy of Ken Willaims

Williams promises to keep up his blogging, so make sure to stop by his blog and sign up for the regular GSSR updates.  He’s a great writer and his prolific blogging means there is something for everyone; whether it’s route planning, outfitting, navigating, anchoring, marinas, or restaurants and shore visits.  And for those of you wondering how to bring your pet with you, Shelby Williams, a Norwegian Lundehund, will be aboard, just as she has for the many of thousands of miles the Williams already have under their Nordhavn keels.

Copyright © 2009 OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Destinations, Passagemaking News, People