Passagemakers Aboard S/V Quest Killed by Pirates

Passagemakers Aboard S/V Quest Killed by Pirates

S/V Quest

S/V Quest

Conflicting news reports this morning have agreed on one sad fact, that the four passagemakers aboard the S/V Quest, hijacked late last week by Somali pirates, are dead.  The CBS report is HERE.  The pirates reportedly told Reuters that they killed the hostages after their two commanders were killed by U.S. military forces shadowing the hijacked vessel.  U.S. military reports say the Navy only boarded the vessel after shots were heard aboard.

Undoubtedly, it will take a while for the actual facts to emerge from the haze of what is essentially a war zone off the East Africa coast, but I have to say that sailing alone in these waters seems plain foolhardy now.  We don’t know the exact reasons the Quest left a larger group, although friends in Seattle, quoted by news reports from there, suggest they may not have realized the true extent of the risk.  If that is so, it is hard to understand, since the marine media, online boating communities and government sources are full of daily discussion of the huge, and growing dangers in the area.

If you are sailing in the Indian Ocean, you need to be informed and prepared and there are a huge number of resources to help you get and stay that way.  In the meantime, our thoughts go out to the families and friends of the sailors aboard S/V Quest.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Sail, People, Sailboats
Krogen 58′ Northbound:  Part 3

Krogen 58′ Northbound: Part 3

The magic of sunset at sea while aboard a trawler. . .

The magic of sunset at sea while aboard a trawler. . .

One of my favorite things about being at sea is “The Big Sky.” No, not the state of Montana or the great 1952 lubberly movie with Kirk Douglas — THIS big sky over me. Growing up in the hilly country of New England, the celestial vault never took up much more than half of the view above the horizon. Here, far off the coast of Georgia, a fairly calm sea permits a 180-degree perspective on the heavens. The sights and sounds of this big sky, both during the day and at night are highlights of a trip offshore.

A view of our position courtesy of Fugawi Marine ENC running NOAA ENC charts. Note the speed.

A view of our position courtesy of Fugawi Marine ENC running NOAA ENC charts. Note the speed.

Gregg and Greg are both standing at the helm, examining the chartplotting laptop as dawn arrives on our second day at sea. It’s still mostly dark, but a faint tangerine swath on the eastern horizon suggests where the sun will rise. As Greg Kaufman takes his watch, we agree things are running smoothly. Our speed over the ground (SOG) has risen to well over 10 knots, as the wind and swell have veered into the southeast, and the ride has smoothed dramatically. The engines are still only burning about 6.3 gallons per hour, combined, and the faint hum we hear from them in the pilothouse is accompanied by the sounds of the rushing water along the hull; a rhythm that shifts quietly and constantly with the set of the waves and wind. 

The tangerine deepens at its heart and bleeds a rose stain farther along the horizon and up into the sky and then, abruptly, the orb of the sun rises from the sea. It happens quickly, and the drowsy pilothouse is suddenly flooded in warm, yellow sun. Gregg has been drinking coffee on his 2-6 watch, but a fresh pot brewing in the galley awakens my breakfast appetite and soon enough I’ve got a bowl of cereal and some fruit in hand. The ride is so smooth now I fling caution to the wind and climb the steps back up into the pilothouse without “keeping one hand for myself and one for the boat.” Apparently, Poseidon was still asleep, because I make it to the settee in the pilothouse without spilling anything. 

Kadey-Krogen's Greg Kaufman has the sunrise watch.

Kadey-Krogen's Greg Kaufman has the sunrise watch.

After breakfast, we check the decks for flying fish who had one-way tickets. There are none today, which is a little surprising, given that we could see and hear them during the night, occasionally running into the hull. It’s probably just as well that we didn’t find any; flying fish sushi at this hour seems less than appealing. Gregg uses the freshwater washdown on the foredeck to rinse the Portuguese bridge and pilothouse windows of their salt crust from yesterday’s bash. I’m taking some time to wander around the yacht, taking pictures and making notes for a more detailed article about the Krogen 58′, which I’ll write up when I get home. 

The wind continues to veer and by midday is mostly from the southwest. We’re also in the core of the Gulf Stream and our SOG has risen above 12 knots — quite a fantastic speed for a trawler running at an economical cruise setting of 1,850 rpm.  Gregg managed to download the latest GRIB files before we were over the horizon, so we spend some time in the morning looking at the forecasted winds overlaid on the chartplotting software on his Mac laptop. It looks like a good day, with the winds behind us, at least until sometime early tomorrow morning. 

While today’s cruisers do not HAVE to be completely disconnected from the rest of the world, with Internet phone, TV and data services available by satellite, we don’t have any of those resources so my cell phone is silent and my laptop is without any connections. My brain eventually also catches up to this reality and it’s then that I really begin to notice little details — like how I can see the differencein direction of the wind waves and ocean swells. I look more closely at the old radar set we have and I realize I can see that difference in the “sea clutter” returns on the screen, too. That will be handy at night when I can’t see the waves visually. 

There’s more life out here than first meets the eye, too.  We’re regularly visited by bottlenose dolphins; big, gray athletes running across our course who suddenly change course to check out our pitiful bow wave and then, unimpressed, move on. There are large patches of Sargassum seaweed; orphans snatched from the great Sargasso Sea by eddies of the Gulf Stream — each a haven for entire food chains floating underneath them in the water column. 

Audubon's Shearwater. Photo by Flickr user "Jforb"

Audubon's Shearwater. Photo by Flickr user "Jforb"

What looks like an Audubon’s Shearwater swings lazily by, evidently concluding we are not edible and then darting off to check out a suspicious surface swirl off our port beam. These birds periodically pass us and I wonder how they manage so far from land. The Gulf Stream this time of year is beginning to fill with the pelagic birds as they begin northward migrations. North Carolina, incidentally, is a great place to take some offshore pelagic bird trips. Check out this website of Brian Patteson’s

Traffic is pretty light and we seem to have the sea to ourselves for the day. The southwest winds persist and we make great time, racing along in the middle of the Gulf Stream.  It’s clear from the forecast and our progress that it’s going to be a race to the North Carolina coast for us. Our hope is to get as close as possible to North Carolina before the wind quickly shifts to the northeast, courtesy of a fast-moving cold front coming from the mid-west. By day’s end, we’re fairly certain there will be more head-bashing before we get where we’re going. 

Atlantic Ocean Sunset From a Trawler

Atlantic Ocean Sunset From a Trawler

After an early sailor’s dinner, Gregg heads below to get some sleep. The other Greg and I enjoy a spectacular sunset. The wind has picked up but it’s still calm enough for me to wander around the side decks experimenting with my camera. There are enough clouds around that the sunset has some canvas to paint on and it gets better and better as each moment passes. And then, as suddenly as it rose 13 or so hours earlier, the sun sets and a gray haze mutes the colors. 

Our ship sails steadily northward through the descending night. The pilothouse is darkened; all the lights and screens dimmed as far as possible to preserve night vision. I periodically step out onto the sidedeck to look at the stars. Low in the west, Orion poses majestically in full hunter glory. The dark skies of the moonless night pull the stars into three-dimensional relief and the constellations now truly resemble their ancient namesakes. I can even see the Orion Nebula, M42, with my naked eyes. Overhead a cloud stretches to the eastern horizon in a broad belt. As my eyes continue to adapt, I realize I’m looking at the Milky Way — an edge-on view into the heart of our very own galaxy, with its dense “cloud” of stars and gas paving my own sky. 

Later, on watch, stars rising from the ocean play tricks on my eyes and I think they are ships hull-down at the horizon. I have to watch them steadily to reassure myself they are indeed off-world and not the approaching range lights of some container-carrying leviathan. I have to move my gaze constantly to pick up faint lights with my more sensitive peripheral vision. Thankfully, the radar faithfully confirms or denies each apparition. I would be significantly less comfortable without this modern aid. 

Gregg comes up to the pilothouse shortly before his 2 a.m. watch and does an engine room check. We each check it at the beginning of our watch and once at mid-watch, which means someone has eyes on all the running equipment every two hours while we’re underway. We look for leaks in the shaft seals, hoses and thru-hulls; loose belts or pulleys; signs of oil or fuel anywhere, and finally check the sight gauges on the fuel tanks. We know to a small fraction of a gallon how much fuel we’re using, thanks to the digital information buss on the John Deere engines, but it’s nice to be reassured by a logical level in the sight glass. 

As I handover the watch to Gregg is the wind is picking up and beginning to complete it’s veering circle of the last 36 hours. By dawn we are once again bucking a stiff headwind and sea. Despite the pitching of the boat, I have no trouble getting some sleep in the forward stateroom, although eventually something in the anchor locker forward of my stateroom bulkhead decides to knock against the bulkhead in rhythm with the waves. 

This time we only have to endure the bashing for a couple of hours and then we begin to feel the lee effect of North Carolina. By mid-morning on Sunday (I think it’s Sunday; you lose track of the time and the day of the week quickly out here…) we are approaching the entrance to the Cape Fear River south of Wilmington. We follow a tug towing a barge up to the city, but duck out of the river and across to the Intracoastal again and head for our marina at Wrightsville Beach. 

Gregg brings the big Krogen up the channel toward the face dock at the marina and executes a beautiful 180; the starboard side coming within inches of the dock as he completes the turn. He’s done this a few times. I step off the boat because I’ve got a plane to catch back to the other real world, but the two Greg(g)s will pick up another crewmember and continue northward on Monday. 

Our leg from Jensen Beach to Wrightsville Beach took approximately 47 hours. We traveled as far as 120 nm offshore and in the core of the Gulf Stream saw speeds as high as 12.6 knots. The engines ran at a nearly constant 1,850 rpm and the smaller of our two generators also ran the duration. We burned less than 300 gallons of diesel fuel and suffered no mechanical or systems failures. The yacht handled breaking waves in the departure inlet of greater than 10 feet and serenely traveled through both head, quartering and following seas without complaint or wander. It was a great trip on a seaworthy yacht and I won’t forget it. 

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Engines, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, Technology

Krogen 58′ Northbound: Part 2

Our Krogen 58' Departs Jensen Beach and turns north up the ICW

Our Krogen 58' Departs Jensen Beach and turns north up the ICW

It’s 2 p.m. on Friday and I’m stowing my camera gear carefully in the salon of this big yacht when I hear a sudden muted rumble from below decks. Our captain, Kadey-Krogen Project Manager Gregg Gandy, has started the John Deere diesels. We’re ready to depart our Jensen Beach, Florida, marina and head north to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina with this brand new Krogen 58′.

Our departure has been delayed for a couple of hours, courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service, who somehow figured out how to take four days to make an express delivery from Tampa to Stuart of our radar set. But that’s behind us now; Gregg and a local technician have the old Furuno unit hooked up and running well. This is a brand new yacht that Kadey-Krogen has been using as a company demonstrator and now they’ve decided to sell it, so it’s on its way up to the Annapolis, Maryland, office. So naturally, we don’t want to be making holes in the beautiful helm panels for this temporary gear. We’ve got it installed on a removable panel offset to the right side of the helm, along with the new Furuno autopilot and the VHF radio.

Gregg Gandy (foreground) and Greg Kaufman in the Krogen 58' pilothouse

Gregg Gandy (foreground) and Greg Kaufman in the Krogen 58' pilothouse

We’ve got full (1,760 gallons) fuel and water (400 gallons) tanks; the galley lockers are loaded with fruit, cereal, granola bars and microwave meals and we let go the lines and head east from the marina into the ICW, then turn north and head for the Fort Pierce Inlet. We could have turned south and gone out the St. Lucie inlet, but the tide isn’t high and Gregg “hates” backtracking, so north we go.

A bottlenose dolphin swings by while we’re in the waterway, just checking out the nice lines of the big Kadey-Krogen. I’m adjusting to steering the yacht from the flybridge. It takes a few minutes before I stop over-correcting and adopt the smaller, more anticipatory movements that keep this deep-keel boat on track. In short order we turn east into the Fort Pierce inlet and get ready to head offshore. Gregg takes the wheel, transferring command from inside the pilothouse and I head below to join him and Greg Kaufman, Kadey-Krogen’s newest sales team member, himself a long-time sailor and captain.

The Fort Pierce Inlet is deceptively calm when viewed from inside

The Fort Pierce Inlet is deceptively calm when viewed from inside

From well inside, the inlet looks calm enough, but the aerial antics of a couple of kite surfers suggest that more is going on at the mouth of the inlet than we can see from here. The tide is still going out and a strong east wind is piling up wickedly steep waves. Gregg has a firm hand on the wheel as the bow starts to rise and fall with the increasingly short-period waves; some breaking now. The TRAC stabilizers have the roll element handled nicely but we’re pitching markedly as even our big, heavy yacht can’t defy the physics of tons of green water completely. It’s a tad dramatic and a crash from somewhere aft in the saloon reminds us that we forgot to latch the refrigerator doors. The lovely Jenn-Air has neatly emptied itself during one of our uphill climbs. Oops.

The water color marks the limit of the inlet outflow

The water color marks the limit of the inlet outflow

Just when the ride is getting to be a little tiresome, we approach the boundary of the inlet outflow, marked by a decidedly sharp line between the murkier water of the inlet and the blue water of the ocean. We’re still in for a bit of a head-bash as we turn north, with the long ocean swells from the northeast and an east-northeasterly wind mixing the sea surface up. Full confession — I’m a tad green around the gills by nightfall and find I need to stay topside while my inner ear, brain and stomach negotiate a settlement. I have the 10-2 watch and by my turn I’m feeling better and slip into the routine. My two shipmates decide to get some sleep and head below to the guest stateroom amidships, which has twin bunks.

The helm routine on watch is simple. Let George (the autopilot) steer, while you watch the course track on the GPS-linked laptop, monitor the VHF and watch the radar. We periodically change the radar range to ensure we don’t miss a small boat up close, but mostly we’re focused on keeping a lookout for the big stuff; large freighters, warships and cruise ships, moving a high relative speeds and sometimes seemingly oblivious to anything else in their way. Gregg is running MacENC on his Mac laptop, while I’m running the latest version of Fugawai Marine ENC on my Windows 7 laptop over on the other side of the helm. Our SPOT Messenger is velcro’d to a forward pilothouse window where it reports our position every 10 minutes. Friends and family follow our trip by checking in on a website that displays the last 50 position reports.

We keep an hourly manual log of time, position, heading, speed, engine RPM, and comments. It’s standard practice offshore and allows you to pick up a dead reckoning position should you lose your electronic fix. The paper charts we would need to do so are in the wide chart drawers to either side of the helm. We do an engine room check every two hours, looking for leaks, loose belts, odd vibrations, expected fuel levels in the sight glasses, etc. The John Deere diesels are in their element, however, and run on and on at 1,850 RPM for virtually the entire trip. These are continuous duty-rated engines that are built to be started and run forever. At that RPM, we’re getting somewhere just north of 8.5 knots of basic hull speed, but the Gulf Stream will add to that significantly once we get in the middle of it.

Toward the end of my watch, the wind and waves have both veered into the southeast, easing the ride considerably and I hand over the helm to Gregg, who has the 2-6 watch. It’s a dark night, with no moon and lots of clouds obscuring the sky. I settle back onto the comfortable settee behind the helm and close my eyes, listening to the symphonic rhythms of a boat at steady cruise — the steady thrum of the engines, the constant rush of water by the hull, the occasional splash of an errant wave. I’m tired, and it’s all very. . . sleep. . .inducing. . .

Cruise ship passes astern of our Krogen 58' at sunset on friday

Cruise ship passes astern of our Krogen 58' at sunset on friday

(to be continued)

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Destinations, Electronics, Engines, Environment & Weather, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, seamanship, Technology

North From Florida on a Krogen 58′

Kadey-Krogen 58' Moored in Stuart, Florida

My ride for the next two days -- Kadey-Krogen 5817

I’m currently aboard a new Kadey-Krogen 58′ at the Four Fish Marina in Jensen Beach, Florida, making final preparations to head north to Annapolis with the boat. It’s a unique opportunity to give the current queen of the Kadey-Krogen fleet a thorough test in her natural offshore element. As soon as a new radar unit arrives and is installed, we’ll be departing. I’ll be posting — whenever I have a cellular Internet connection — updates on the first half of the trip, to Wilmington, North Carolina.

This yacht, Krogen 5817, was delivered last fall to Seattle, where she was displayed at the Seattle Boat Show. She was then loaded aboard a freighter and taken through the Panama Canal to Florida. Our plan is to run up the IntraCoastal Waterway (ICW) to the Fort Pierce inlet, then head offshore. The winds today (Friday, April 16) are still fairly stiff out of the East, but the forecast calls for it to gradually diminish and swing to the southeast, which will make the trip up the Gulf Stream a little smoother.

It should be about a 50-hour passage to North Carolina, and the two Kadey-Krogen crew and I plan on four-hour watches each, with eight hours off. That will give me plenty of time to do some detailed photography and video of our trip and to give you a nice look at this beautiful yacht.

So stay tuned for the next post, in which I’ll introduce you to our crew, Captain Gregg Gandy, and yacht broker Greg Kaufman (also a licensed Master), and give you the details of our route and cruising specifics. In the meantime, you can get a good look at the specifications of this particular boat, which Kadey-Krogen has been using as a company demonstrator and which is now for sale, here.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Construction & Technical, Cruising Under Power, Destinations, Environment & Weather, Passagemaking News, seamanship

10 Questions with Kadey-Krogen’s Larry Polster


Krogen 58 Cruises Among the Whales

Krogen 58 Cruises Among the Whales

Editor’s Note – In this series we feature a Q&A with the leading executives of passagemaking boat companies.  The second installment features the thoughts of Lary Polster, vice president of Kadey-Krogen, one of the top brands of passagemaking boats. The following bio was provided by Kadey-Krogen:

Larry Polster is a life-long boater, born and raised in Cleveland, OH. As a child he explored the Great Lakes from Mackinac Island to Montreal, and became thoroughly hooked on boating the day, at age 12, he piloted his family’s sedan cruiser the last half of their voyage from Kingston, Ontario, to Rochester, NY, because both mom and dad were too seasick to run the boat. Fast forward 25 years.  After ten years of owning a cruising sailboat, Larry and his wife Janet bought a Krogen 42′ – the beginning of Larry’s relationship with Kadey-Krogen Yachts. Then, completely in love with the Krogen 42′ and all it stood for, Larry volunteered to help out Kadey-Krogen at the Annapolis Boat Show. At the conclusion of the show, he was made an offer to come work for the company in Florida, an offer he graciously turned down. A seed was planted which grew into his mid-life crisis: he left his consulting job of 17 years and opened the Maryland office for Kadey-Krogen Yachts. A few years later he became a partner in the company and currently serves as vice president.  Larry and Janet along with their daughter Hannah and their Portuguese Water Dog, Sasha (the office mascot), reside in Annapolis, MD.

The questions asked are all from OceanLines and the answers from Larry Polster are verbatim.


1.   OceanLines:  Kadey-Krogen is considered to be among the top couple of full-displacement yacht builders in the industry.  When did the company really begin to gel and succeed in the marketplace?  And was there a particular boat that represented that “turning point?”

Polster:   The Krogen 42’ is what started it all and we built 206 of them from 1977 through 1997.  The Krogen 42’ became immensely popular in the mid-80’s and I think that secured the company’s place in the industry.  There was also a second turning point with the launch of the first Krogen 58’ in 2000.  It was the 58 project that was the impetus for the level of refinement, both in equipment as well as fit and finish, that is found in each and every Kadey-Krogen built today.

2. OceanLines:  What, in your mind, defines the Kadey-Krogen “brand?”  In other words, what is it about Kadey-Krogen that customers and boaters think, that they don’t think about other brands?” 

Polster:  Actually Tom, I think that really is two different questions.  The “brand” can be summed up in four words:  Capability, Liveability, Family and Value.  As for what our owners think, or more importantly know, about Kadey-Krogen, is that we represent a full and complete package – from the initial handshake to the inevitable sale when the owners are ready to move on.  Look on YachtWorld at the huge percentage of our yachts that are listed with us and then look at other brands.  Our owners stick with us and that speaks volumes.  Yes, there are those out there that are capable of crossing oceans and a motoryacht can make a great liveaboard, but only a Kadey-Krogen is At Home on Any Sea.

3.   OceanLines:  Like many other builders in recent years, Kadey-Krogen seems to have concentrated on expanding the larger end of its fleet.  Do you think this represents a shift of the early market away from smaller boats in general or just an expansion?  In other words, is there still a good market for the smallest boats in this market segment of liveaboards and serious cruisers?

Polster:  There is definitely a market for the 40-50 foot trawler.  Our expansion on the larger end has been purely to fill in size gaps with vessels that can be handled by a couple.  We had nothing between 48 and 58 feet, hence the 55, and we had nothing larger than the 58, hence the 64’ Expedition.  Other builders are expanding way beyond 65’ but anything beyond the mid-sixties really requires more than two people and until you get near 100 feet, you don’t have proper space for crew.  Perhaps that is why there are such a relatively high number of large, late-model trawlers for sale.  Getting back to the 40-50 foot market, if you closely exam the Krogen 48’ North Sea you will notice that we put a tremendous amount of effort in bringing a proven model into the 21st century.

4.      OceanLines:  Has Kadey-Krogen looked at some of the latest technology developments, such as the various forms of diesel-electric propulsion, or perhaps newer hull designs such as the cat SWATH hulls?  If so, what is the likelihood some of it will make its way aboard some future (or present) Kadey-Krogen yachts?

Polster:  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  The laws of physics and hydrodynamics have not changed.  We feel our efforts are better concentrated on continued improvements with proven materials and equipment. 

Krogen 64 Artist's Rendering

Krogen 64 Artist's Rendering

5.    OceanLines:  You recently announced the availability of the Krogen 64’ Expedition.  While the economy is certainly affecting all new boat builders, is it possible Kadey-Krogen might offer even larger yachts, perhaps in the same Expedition series as the 55’ and 64’?

Polster:  Possible, yes, likely, no.   We have a design for a beautiful 77 footer that would extend the Expedition series, but we build yachts that a couple can handle with ease and confidence. A 77 footer would push those limits for most couples.

6.     OceanLines:  In your opinion, which systems aboard today’s yachts are the most mature and reliable; and which are the least so?  If you could send a message to systems suppliers to Kadey-Krogen yachts, what would it be?

Polster:  To me, hands down, the most mature and reliable is the modern diesel engine like the 6.8 liter John Deere.  Here is a piece of equipment with parts moving roughly 1800 times per minute.  That’s 108,000 times per hour of operation which means parts will move 216 million times before the factory warranty even expires! 

As for less reliable systems, there are certainly items that one is more likely to replace than others, but that does not make it an inferior product or something a supplier needs to work on and I think that any builder that concentrates on quality will say the same thing.  The overwhelming majority of the components have their origin outside of the recreational marine or yacht market and as such are well proven before we ever see them.

7.    OceanLines:  What features do Kadey-Krogen owners most often point to as influencing their decision to purchase a Kadey-Krogen yacht?

Polster:  The liveability of a Kadey-Krogen is well recognized by the cruising community, but the way a Kadey-Krogen handles at sea, especially in a following sea, is what cements the relationship.  Other trawlers either get pushed around, slalom like a snow ski or water ski on edge, or both in following seas because the aft third of their underbody is relatively flat and the entire beam of their transom is in the water.  Our Pure Full Displacement hull form with fine entry and wineglass stern translate into what I call the “magic carpet ride” in following seas.  The boat feels like it is hovering in place, but in reality is tracking forward as if on rails. 

Krogen 48, A Popular Liveaboard Cruiser

Krogen 48, A Popular Liveaboard Cruiser

8.     OceanLines:  Are there some examples of owner-requested features aboard your yachts that have become standard?

Polster:  We are a limited production builder, and as such have the opportunity to sit with each customer and review personal touches.  Most recently it was the Viking range you may have seen in the Krogen 55’ Expedition and Krogen 58.  A couple was moving up from a Krogen 44’ to a Krogen 48’ and they asked if we could fit in the Viking.  After a design review session with our naval architect, voila, the Viking stove is now standard aboard the 48’ North Sea.

9.    OceanLines:  Some of the builders in the “small boat” market have done a good job of bringing new boaters in at the bottom end of their product lines and keeping them as they upgrade through the fleet to larger and larger vessels.  Do you see a way for a trawler builder to do this, both from a size and price perspective?

Polster:  Yes, although we feel it’s more important to keep them in the “family” which is why some Krogen owners are buying smaller, not larger.  In the past eighteen months we have had four sets of owners in the “multiple” category.  One couple purchased their 4th Krogen, another their 5th and still another their 6th Krogen. 

10.   OceanLines:  Are you still satisfied with having Kadey-Krogen yachts built in East Asia?  Do you see possibilities down the road for builders like yourselves to take advantage of some of the emerging capabilities in places like Turkey and Poland?

Polster:  We have a very special relationship with Mr. Lin Kao Shui and Asia Harbor Yacht Builders.  We have been building at Asia Harbor for 18 years.   They only build for us and we only build at Asia Harbor.  Both companies have worked hard to produce the quality yachts that are Kadey-Krogen today.  As you might suspect from answers to some of the earlier questions, we’re not about to jump on the “greatest thing since sliced bread” bandwagon.  Over the past ten years we have seen many companies leave Taiwan only to return upon realizing that the grass is not greener…

11.   OceanLines:  In the last 18 months, most builders in your market space have introduced new models based upon an existing hull.  Kadey-Krogen has not.  Why?

Polster:  We’ve jokingly dubbed this phenomenon the “stretch-a-boat” concept.  In the last 18 months we have seen notable manufacturers stretch a 41-footer to be a 49-footer, a 47-footer to a 52-footer, and a 55-footer to a 60-footer. They have taken existing models and just inserted five to eight feet into the mold and voila, they have a new hull without significant design, engineering and tooling costs.  The problem is they have ignored architectural integrity, something Kadey-Krogen Yachts will not do.

12.   OceanLines:  Architectural integrity is not a concept that has received much attention.  Would you please explain what you mean?

Polster:  You are correct.  It has not received much attention because it only became an issue in the recreational yacht market very recently as builders started stretching boats in order to save development costs.  Perhaps the best-known example of violating architectural integrity occurred back when SUVs first became all the rage. Manufacturers simply took the chassis of another vehicle and put a large boxy structure on top, thereby raising the center of gravity. Remember all those early stories about SUVs rolling over?

Do I think these stretched models are going to roll over the way those early SUVs did?  Certainly not, but when a naval architect designs a boat, the hull is designed to accomplish a set of goals.  Designing a new boat is not done piece-meal and many decisions and measurements affect multiple characteristics.   If you take a boat and stretch it, the engineering is changed. You simply can’t design the proper curvature and shape of a hull, then stretch the middle by 10% or more, or stick a larger cockpit on it, and have the physics stay the same. You can’t, using sound naval architecture principles, place the propellers, rudders, etc. on a boat and then change its length by 10-15% and add a larger engine and prop, and expect the same handling result.   Take a sea trial, preferably on a really rough day. Insist on turning off the stabilizers and hand steering the boat in all conditions and you’ll see what I mean.


Copyright © 2009 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Boats, Construction & Technical, Cruising Under Power, Industry News, Passagemaking News, People, People & Profiles

Sushi Run Boats Reach Kodiak

GSSR Route Map -- Image Courtesy of Ken Williams

GSSR Route Map -- Image Courtesy of Ken Williams

The three-boat Great Siberian Sushi Run has reached Kodiak, Alaska, 1,892 NM along its planned 5,276 NM journey to pick up sushi in Japan.  If you haven’t followed this convoy since it left Seattle more than a month ago, you’ve missed some pretty cool stuff.  Owner and captain of the lead ship, Sans Souci, a Nordhavn 68, is Ken Williams, an über-prolific blogger whose practical prose over the past several years has educated and entertained many thousands of armchair explorers.  Ken began his blogging with the famous Nordhavn Atlantic Rally (NAR) during the summer of 2004 and hasn’t ever stopped.

Nowadays, Ken and his wife Roberta, who may someday challenge Samantha Brown for a spot on the Travel Channel, are also taking and posting video from the trip.  Have a look at the latest posting from Sans Souci in this Youtube clip:


If you haven’t read the rest of the blog entries, or would like to sign up for Ken’s regular e-mail updates, stop by Ken’s blog here and sign up.


Copyright © 2009 OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Destinations, People

First-Timer Sails Newport to Bermuda Race

Class Start at the 2008 Newport Bermuda Race  --Photo: Daniel Forster/Talbot Wilson/PPL

Class Start at the 2008 Newport Bermuda Race -- Photo: Daniel Forster/Talbot Wilson/PPL

I’ll bet many readers have a fantasy about doing this.  I do and many of my sailing friends do, too.  I’ll also bet the following quote from Richard Donn, captain of the Poeske, pretty much sums up how we would all describe our circumstance; except of course, that he followed through.

“Entering the 2008 Newport-Bermuda Race fulfilled a dream which was conceived early on in my sailing career but incubated slowly and only came to fruition in this year’s race to the Onion Patch.  For a 64-year-old man with a 25-year-old boat, the anticipation of the race was a mixture of excitement, apprehension, desire, and anxiety.”

— Richard Donn, Poeske

The Newport – Bermuda race is one of sailings oldest and most prestigious races.  Held every two years, the races features everything from gigantic ocean maxi racers with dozens of crewmen  to small, seaworthy cruisers sailing double-handed.  There are first-timers and there are teams and individuals (and boats) who have dozens of races under their belts.  It is not for the faint-hearted; with a 635-mile Atlantic Ocean trek that involves crossing the capricious Gulf Stream.

Richard Donn (center) with family and crew at race finish

Richard Donn (center) with family and crew at race finish

In 2008, nearly 200 boats raced to Bermuda and one of the entries was a 1983 Beneteau First 42, with a deep keel and tall rig.  Donn had crewed in the Marion-Bermuda race in 2005, and in 2006 did the return trip from Bermuda to Newport.  He and two of his crewmembers also crossed the Atlantic in the 2007 ARC.  Donn tells his story of entering the 2008 race on his own, in his own boat in a special feature on the Newport-Bermuda race site.  It’s been up for several months now, but it’s such a compelling story and one that resonates with so many of us that I thought I’d bring your attention to it.

In his piece, Donn covers the decision to enter, details about his crew and how he picked them, information about his boat and the rigorous inspection process required by the race organizers to ensure safety, and of course the experience of the race itself.  At the urging of John Rousmaniere, Donn includes an honest and extensive list of “lessons learned” at the conclusion of his piece.  Here are a couple of them; you can read the rest on the Newport-Bermuda race website, which should be a bookmark of yours anyway.

  • Start your preparations as earlier than you think is necessary.
  • Read accounts of previous races.
  • Use your mentor; they’ve been through this before and want to get you through safely.
  • Really know how to access and interpret weather data.
  • Pick your crew carefully and sail with them under conditions other than day sails on Long Island Sound.
  • Insist that your crew get into physical shape well before the race.
  • List all gear you plan to take ,know where it is stowed and anticipate what damage it might do when it gets dislodged.
  • Have each crew member stow their gear in either a locker or a zipped sea bag.
  • Use plastic baggies to keep sleeping gear and spare clothes dry.
  • Hypothermia is a real risk and can be deadly. Bermuda may be warm but the sea temperature north of the stream will be in the mid-50’s. Inadequate foul weather gear is a recipe for hypothermia. Personally review your crew’s foulies and safety gear. Every crew member should have a fleece jacket and pants which will insulate them when they get wet.
  • There is no such thing as overkill when it comes to spare parts, service manuals, and troubleshooting guides.

Copyright © 2009 OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Destinations, People

“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

The SeaKits Advantage for Spares Management

The dark, crushing ocean depths traveled by nuclear submarines are perhaps the most unforgiving environment we know.  It does not require much of a mistake to exact the most premium of penalties.  As a young nuclear operator aboard one of those submarines, Barry Kallander was trained to understand that harsh reality, and to do what he had to in order to ensure the safety of ship and crew.  And in some ways, Kallander is still at it.
Seakits MMS Homepage

SeaKits MMS Homepage

Kallander is the founder of SeaKits, a company that provides customized maintenance planning, record–keeping and spare–parts provisioning for large boat owners.  The service is designed to eliminate home–grown maintenance and parts logs in favor of a more organized – and more advanced – computer–based system.

While there are many software programs designed to help owners track maintenance and parts, SeaKits offers premium service at a premium price – and it may soon be the gold standard.  Just a year from its launch, the system has received plenty of recognition, earning a Best New Product award at the Newport Boat Show in 2007.  Manufacturers too are seeing the value – Kadey–Krogen, Selene, Fleming, Outer Reef Yachts and Real Ships all include the SeaKits system with each new boat delivered.

Seakits MMS Spare Parts Quote Page

SeaKits MMS Spare Parts Quote Page

Kallander’s Marine Maintenance System (MMS) is a thoroughly modern, internet–based application that takes a custom approach to each boat. It tracks every system aboard in great detail, based on simple inputs by the owner or captain, and then uses this data as a resource to inform the crew. For example, MMS can remind the user of upcoming maintenance and the actions required, based on information such as engine hours and manuals for the boat and its systems that are stored digitally. It can list the parts needed and their location – or help the owner order them. It even notes warranty expirations.

Ultimately, it is the content within the system – not the software itself – that becomes the asset, Kallander says.

“Frankly, how much value is there if you’re just getting a couple of spreadsheets and you have to fill in all the data yourself?  With SeaKits, you’re getting the fully populated database, customized for your specific boat and your systems,” Kallander says.  “We actually get the specs from the builder or we walk the yachts down ourselves.”


A typical Seakits spare parts package

A typical SeaKits spare parts package

Kallander started SeaKits in January 2007 and currently has approximately 80 customers, most of them powerboat owners with boats in the 50 to 80–foot range.  There are also a handful of customers in the 40–50–foot range and Kallander has his sights set on the 80 to 120–foot market and, eventually, the larger superyachts.

“Today we sell to the owner–operator,” says Kallander, though with larger boats, “you have to sell to the captains. The owners are typically much more arms–length.”

Kallander’s inspiration for the business was his own yacht, a Nordhavn 40 called Commander, which is featured in many of the company’s print ads. When he bought Commander in 2005, Kallander traded in his Catalina 42 and realized he needed a more organized method of keeping track of the boat’s maintenance requirements and spares.

“So as I got into it, I got into a more disciplined approach…outfitting the boat, keeping detailed records, talking to other Nordhavn and other yacht owners out there and I soon came to the conclusion that there was a business opportunity there,” Kallander says.

SeaKits Fluids Analysis Kit

SeaKits Fluids Analysis Kit

SeaKits’ original offering was a simple damage–control kit, with plugs, patches, fasteners, tools and a flooding damage control guide.  These are still available, but now are also sold by retailers for about $325.  The kit includes soft wood plugs for filling a hole in the hull, as one might experience with a damaged thru–hull opening, as well as a camp ax to shape and hammer in the plugs.  A variety of hoses, fasteners, sealants, ties, clamps and a flashlight with batteries are also included.

The company also offers fluid analysis kits to test engine and hydraulic oils, fuels and coolants.  A typical oil analysis kit includes a vacuum pump, three sample bottles, mailers, tubing, test packages, instructions and prepaid shipping to the lab.  It lists for $95.  A single hydraulic fluid test kit retails for $49 while a single–sample coolant test kit is $39.

But Kallander saw much more opportunity in the field and quickly decided to expand his operation into maintenance, spares and provisioning.


The result is the Marine Maintenance System, which goes beyond what most software can offer in several ways.  For example, the MMS can recommend the type and quantity of spare parts necessary for different kinds of cruising.  For the coastal cruiser within a day or two of a port where repairs can be made, the system might suggest a more modest inventory.  For the ocean passagemaker, who requires a higher level of self sufficiency, it would be more expansive.

Kallander also says that his MMS system better accommodates today’s boats, which contain complex systems and may be intimidating to owners.  MMS will provide a scheduled maintenance plan for all the equipment on board, from oil and filter changes to cleaning the condenser coils on the refrigerator.

MMS also makes use of documentation: all parts catalogues, data sheets and manuals are available on the website.  The customer can also receive a disk with a copy of these documents.  With the documents available online and on disc, there is little chance of loss or damage.

Another benefit is the ability to order parts by simply logging into the system.  “They go online, request a quote, we give them the quote, they approve it and then we get the parts,” Kallander said.

One benefit of this system is that all spares ordering and provisioning can be done by SeaKits, eliminating the need to work with multiple vendors.  Kallander notes that the owner of a typical 55–foot vessel might have to deal with 15 to 20 suppliers in order to outfit the boat with all the spares needed for a cruise.

“Our value proposition is that that customer can come to us for anything on the boat, from a simple water filter under the sink to a spare water pump for an engine,” Kallander says.  “All the parts come to our shop first.  We tag them with part name, number, manufacturer and which kit it goes into – engine, stabilizer, plumbing, etc. – and then we assemble them into packages.”


The MMS service is not cheap, but customers paying a premium for the help are offered premium service.  The initial fee to sign up, which covers documenting the boat’s requirements and assembling and kitting the parts, is based on length of the boat.  Kallander says a 50– to 60–foot vessel might cost in the $4,000 range, and that does not include the cost of the actual spares.  Thereafter, a more modest annual fee is charged. For example, an owner might pay $196 for a 55–footer.

The system can be used with an existing boat or it can be added to the commissioning process on a new boat, as it is for Kadey–Krogen, Selene and Real Ships.

“With Kadey–Krogen, for example, every boat that is sold comes with MMS and we start working with the customers a couple of months before commissioning,” Kallander says.  “At commissioning, then, we turn over a completed system.”  The system also allows owners to use it while underway, which can be a substantial help when ordering parts outside the United States.

“They can call us for anything from oil filters to the most substantial piece of equipment,” Kallander says.  “We had one client headed down the Mexican coast, for example, and he needed some emergency parts from his list.  He gave us a five–day window at a specific marina and we had the parts waiting for him when he arrived.”

Kallander says the typical owner will arrive in port and, unless they have reliable internet access at sea, log onto the system.  They will then provide engine hours – including generators and watermakers – and the system will calculate which maintenance requirements are coming due and provide alerts for those.  When maintenance intervals are time–based, the system will track those as well.


One customer of SeaKits is Ken Williams, who owns the first Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci.  Williams is well–known in the trawler community, thanks to his participation in the Nordhavn–sponsored Atlantic Rally, which saw a group of trawlers travel en–masse from Florida to Gibraltar during the summer of 2004. 

Ken Williams uses SeaKits MMS Aboard Sans Souci, his Nordhavn 68

Ken Williams uses SeaKits MMS Aboard Sans Souci, his Nordhavn 68

His blog entries from that trip were turned into a book.  Williams is still blogging and planning big cruises.  His latest plan involves a group of four boats, which plan to leave from the Pacific Northwest next year and follow a northern route to Japan, via Russia.

Williams is an unabashed supporter of the SeaKits MMS concept.  “First,” says Williams, “the effort they made just to get all the manuals and documents as PDF files is clearly of value.  I can look up whatever I need on the website.  ” Williams said he also has the original manuals onboard the boat but now doesn’t have to be on the boat to look something up.

“The maintenance interval stuff,” confesses Williams, “I’ve been really bad about it.  I tend to just tell [the captain] about it and he takes care of it.”  He says he is impressed at the level of detail in the maintenance recommendations, citing as an example, a reminder to grease the windlass – “stuff I would have completely forgotten about.”

Williams says the maintenance documentation and records will be of significant value when boats are sold, but he reserves his highest compliments for the spare parts management inherent in the MMS.

SeaKits re-labels and re-packs all parts for tracking and efficiency

SeaKits re-labels and re-packs all parts for tracking and efficiency

“That part alone justifies the purchase,” he says.  “When you get your spares, they’ve taken the time to shrink wrap and label them and pack them in Pelican cases.  Then, when you need replacements, they’ve got all the information.”  Of particular value, he said, was SeaKits’ experience getting parts moved through customs in foreign countries, a task that can often be a stumbling block for cruisers.

Williams’ captain, Jeff Sanson, who helps move Sans Souci between cruising regions and handles the maintenance and logistics for the boat, said he too is a proponent of the MMS system.

“I wish that all my owners had the system,” Sanson says.  “I wouldn’t have to spend the time I do on those boats.

Sanson says he probably doesn’t need the maintenance reminders and scheduling help as much as most owner–operators, having been doing yacht maintenance for the last 30 years, but acknowledges that the reminders are a good backup to experience and memory.  “I can always decide not to do something” he says, “but at least it is a conscious decision.”

Sanson’s company, Pacific Yacht Management manages 10 yachts, the biggest at 90 feet and the smallest 38 feet. His bottom line?

“If I was building a new boat, I wouldn’t even think twice about that system,” he said. “It would be on the boat.”

Copyright ©  2008 by OceanLines

Posted by Tom in Industry News, Technology