Phase Five Complete

Pendana nordhavn 62 returns home

Phase Five Complete

Pendana is now home in Sydney waters after a six month trip away, covering some 2,500nms/4,689klms. I must say that the overall journey was a wonderful experience and one that we all enjoyed. Other than 24 hours of some pretty nasty weather off the Fraser Island coast and 24 hours of hell on our first day of our return trip south to Sydney we did, in the main, have perfect conditions for the entire run.

Pendana has now travelled from her home port in Sydney (June 22nd 2013) direct to Lady Musgrave Island, then onto Middle Percy Island. From Middle Percy we then went direct to the Whitsunday Islands. From there we returned to the Gold Coast via the Great Sandy Straights then back to Sydney arriving home on January 10th 2014.

Map below shows rough route taken.

Nordhavn pendana on youtube

On our return trip south from the Gold Coast, Pendana slid through the water like a hot knife through butter with her recently applied new antifoul. The new cutlass bearing and straightening of the shaft provided vibration free motoring and I do mean vibration free and overall all our systems performed flawlessly. As expected, Pendana bought her family and crew safely down the east coast of Australia without incident once again in what were uncomfortable seas.

Youtube video of Pendana exiting the Gold coast Seaway can be found at the following link:

At this time of the year there is an advantage of no whales migrating and, as such, no chance of hitting one which is great but just before we left on our run south, Captain Mark James received an email from a friend of his who was on a 37’ catamaran named Tao travelling in the opposite direction ie from Sydney to Brisbane and while they didn’t hit a whale they did pick up a large tree. The tree in question was some 20nms off shore and became stuck between each of the Catamarans pontoons and wasn’t able to be freed until they reached their destination.

coolant N14 Cummins

Tree finally removed.

Our trip south was without incident (no trees) and other than the confused sea state and me feeling rather unwell for the first time in a very long time (yes, that’s right, lots of very fast visits outside to stare Davey Jones in the eye!). Pendana was, as always, sure footed with her stabilizers working overtime to correct and counteract any roll movement the seas wanted to throw her way. The East Australian Current provided a wonderful 2kt push with the final hours of our run south being on dead calm seas making recovery from my condition possible. I can’t describe the feeling of sea sickness other than to say I ate nothing in two days, drank no coffee which for me is unheard of and any water/fluids taken were soon exciting the system in whichever way they could. Thankfully it is a rare event for me and one I would be grateful never to repeat as the entire exercise becomes a seemingly never ending test of one’s endurance when not feeling well at sea.

Our final month on the Gold Coast was spent pretty much going to restaurants and of course the theme parks as well as, many a tender ride with the girls up and down the seaway and the Nerang River which winds it’s way around the city skyscrapers like a snake wraps itself around its prey. Captain Mark James and his charming wife Helen invited us all for a BBQ lunch, a little jet skiing and sailing at his home on the water at Paradise Point. I understand now why it is called Paradise Point as it was truly a spectacular part of the world.

Whitehaven Beach

Captain Mark’s flame throwing BBQ style while unconventional provided a superb meal.

Capt Mark James at BBQ

Mark, not sure about the apron mate!

Now, for anyone who has never gone a jet ski, I am here to tell you they are about as much fun as one can have legally! Mark has two 225hp Seadoo skis and the power these machines have is simply incredible. From zero to 110klms per hour in seconds one has to hold on for dear life just to stay on. Claire, Abi and Bianca all got to experience Marks 360 degree spin ski manoeuvre but as I was pushing the weight limit of the ski Mark and I both agreed we didn’t want to have the ski fall out from under us, and as such, I was lucky enough to avoid that little treat! As I said, for anyone who hasn’t been on a jet ski before I can’t recommend enough! Really great fun! Might have to investigate a little further……

Whitehaven Beach

Claire and Mark on Jet Ski

Helicopters on Whitehaven Beach

Abi and Mark on Jet Ski

Mark James on jetski

Bianca and Mark on Jet Ski

Alan Robinson from All Marine Electrical

Abi and Helen (Mark’s wife) off for a sail

Funnily enough as the day was nearing an end we could all see a rather nasty storm approaching when all of a sudden one of Mark’s neighbours came past and said that the storm was due to hit in one hour. With that news at hand and a 4.3nm run for us on the tender back to the marina and the safety of Pendana we decided to pack up and head for home. Mark offered to take Abi on the Jet Ski and would lead the way. 

Alan Robinson from All Marine Electrical

Photo of storm approaching.

Within about five minutes of leaving all hell broke out. Winds went from 10kts to 40kts and rain came blasting down followed by hail. Every time Pendana’s tender came off a wave I was blasted with what felt like five buckets of water being thrown directly into my face making it almost impossible to see. Add this to the fact that every other boat on the water was making a run for it I had to keep my wits about me. Basically a lovely 10-15min run back became an exercise in endurance and sheer determination as the wind and waves kept leaping directly into my face and Claire’s. The temperature plummeted and the sky turned black and the hail stung like bee stings on our faces. Some shelter was had under some beach towels draped across our heads but they soon became sodden and hard to hold onto in the wind and the constant banging around. 

Mark said afterwards he would have given me a thousand dollars for my hat in the hail storm but unfortunately it had been shipped off my head in the squall and never seen again. Shame. That was my favourite hat.

Worn hydraulic Cable

News real photo of storm approaching.

The boys arrive from All Marine Electrical

Tendering in this was difficult!

Also while on the Gold Coast we visited Mark and Christine on Gray Matter N6206 who had just completed a crossing of the Pacific and who were tied up on the Brisbane river some 60miles north. It was great to meet them, compare notes and boats as their layout on Gray Matter is about as far removed from ours on Pendana as one could imagine. Mark and Christine also have a blog which is well worth a read. Their blog can be located at .

Gray Matter Nordhavn 62

Gray Matter on the Brisbane River

Mark decided he wanted to see Pendana and came down to the Gold Coast from Brisbane the following week at which point we were able to introduce him to Master Mariner 1 unrestricted and general all round nice guy Mr Craig Brent-White (“CBW”). CBW also among many of his pursuits happens to own a rather large winery in the Margaret River area of Western Australia so came laden with a few bottles of his best. It was great to all sit a chat about our Nordhavns and the differences/similarities over a few drinks and to consider that with Mark’s arrival to Australia it now made a total of five N62’s residing in Australia. Note to self, must get a photo of all five together!

As the afternoon wore on into the evening CBW with the skill of a turtle decided to reach for his last drop of red wine only to knock it clean off the table an onto our sofa. CBW moved with the speed of a cheetah proclaiming the wind was to blame as I ran for the salt. The reason for this story is to let you know that the salt was useless in removing the stain and after CBW regained composure he mentioned white wine was the way to go. After half a bottle of white wine had been applied to red wine stain and a gentle wash of the sofa covers it was removed without a trace. So, if you ever have an accident with red wine, white wine, not salt is the answer.

Captain Craig Brent White

CBW looking a little too pleased with himself after said incident. 

With the 2013 year over it was time once again to analyse the numbers on what we had spent on Pendana and I am pleased to report that we had made considerable improvement on the year before which came in at A$159K. The total for the 2013 cruising year was A$117K and while over my $96,500.00 budget was not as bad as I had originally expected.

The main numbers were marina fees at $25K, detailing outside of boat (wax/polish/wash) $6.6K, insurance $8.5K and the annual haul out which ended up costing $45K – a list of jobs undertaken at haul out can be found in an earlier blog. As such, based on these numbers and based on the immaculate condition of Pendana I am expecting to come in at around $80K for the calendar year 2014, so let’s see how that goes!

Breakdown of 2012 and 2013 actuals below.




Marina Fees



Engine Maintenance






Electrical, Hydraulics, Toilets,



Airconditioning Maintenance



Washing & Detailing Boat






First Aid









Stern Thurster



Haul Out






Hull cleaning Divers
















Nordhavns are not so much boats but rather little ships that are truly in a class of their own and we our forever thankful we have all of Pendana’s eighty tonne might, bearing down on the seas we face. Her stability and sea keeping qualities are in a class of their own and it’s no wonder the Nordhavn 62 has been described by experts as “the finest oceangoing, luxury yacht ever produced under 70 feet”. She is economical, strong, reliable and incredibly capable as such this year (2014) we plan to take her south to Tasmania and across Bass Strait which for anyone who has anything to do with boating knows can be a treacherous piece of water indeed. 

Strong currents between the Antarctic-driven southeast portions of the Indian Ocean and the Tasman Sea‘s Pacific Ocean waters provide a strait of powerful, wild storm waves. To illustrate its wild strength, Bass Strait is both twice as wide and twice as rough as the English Channel. The shipwrecks on the Tasmanian and Victorian coastlines number in the hundreds, although stronger ships and modern marine navigation have greatly reduced the danger.

Travel Lift at GCCM

Photo above shows Bass Strait which runs between Melbourne, Victoria and the northern part of Tasmania.

Many vessels, some quite large, have disappeared without trace, or left scant evidence of their passing. Despite myths and legends of piracywrecking and alleged supernatural phenomena akin to those of the Bermuda Triangle, such disappearances can be invariably ascribed to treacherous combinations of wind and sea conditions, and the numerous semi-submerged rocks and reefs within the Straits

Before crossing Bass Strait we plan to visit Melbourne which is Australia’s second largest city after Sydney. Melbourne and Sydney enjoy a similar rivalry as San Francisco and Los Angeles and are equally two very different places with Melbourne perhaps being a little more conservative than Sydney and certainly a lot cooler. Melbournians enjoy a rather odd game called Australian Rules football which outside of Melbourne is little acknowledged and even less understood. Then again, in those freezing winter months at least it gives the folks down south something to do!

The entrance to Melbourne is gained via Port Phillip Bay which is a large mass of water of approx. 480,000 acres and has some 264Klmss / 164 miles of shoreline and notorious for its rip. The Rip or entrance via the heads can run at 8kts so getting our timing right for our entrance together with ensuring the right weather will be paramount to our successful navigation of this body of water. Both Claire and I have very real memories of seeing one particular cargo ship, fully laden, being thrown around like a rag doll as it exited these heads some years ago. Getting the weather right on our trip south will be very, very important. The entrance to port Phillip Bay has a reputation amongst commercial shipping as being one of the most dangerous port entrances in the world. Oh joy!

Missing teak on Pendana Nordhavn 62

Map above of Port Phillip Bay.

Port Philip Bay Melbourne The Rip

Map above locating the rip.

For those who know me I am a planner to the point of requiring psychiatric help, that means I don’t leave a single stone unturned when planning a trip to ensure that there are no nasty surprises or things unknown as we venture south. The further south we go, the close to the southern ocean we get and the greater the chance of facing unpredictable weather so being prepared from a navigational perspective with a list of alternate ports is of paramount importance. That being said, canoes have successfully crossed the rip so it really does all come down to getting the weather right to ensure we don’t face a raging southerly as the coastline offers very little protection from these notorious winds from the south.

Fellow Nordhavn owners Peter and Margaret Sheppard live in Melbourne and have done many a circumnavigation of Tasmania and, as such, not only do I have a great font of information available to me but I also have the confidence in knowing that it can be done. Peter and Margaret’s blog can be found at If the truth be told much of our reason for heading south is based on Peter waxing lyrical about the joys of boating in Tasmania and its untouched beauty and as Peter and Margaret have crossed the Pacific Ocean and circumnavigated Australia I guess one should pay attention to their recommendations.

The plan at this stage is a little all over the place but it will take form over the coming few months. No doubt it will mean leaving Pendana perhaps in Melbourne prior to Christmas so that we can make our crossing and circumnavigation of Tasmania from December 9th through to January 30th allowing enough time to enjoy the scenery and for the weather to do what it will. More to follow.

While talking of plans a few folks have asked me when are we planning to have another crack at New Zealand and crossing the Tasman Sea. I am pleased to report that this will be in late 2015. I am not one to shy away from a trip nor one to walk away from what would be a great challenge and, as such, our plan is to go to New Zealand in December 2015. Stay tuned!

Finally, I have decided that 2014 will be the year I get formal qualifications and get my captains ticket. I am not doing this to re-join the workforce but rather as a way to formalise all that I have learnt and to ensure I really do know what’s required to operate a vessel at sea. I have decided to go with the British Maritime System of licensing/UK Department of Transport as I feel it offers for me a more thorough course and subsequent tickets than either the US Coast Guard or Australian Masters Class ticket and is also far more widely recognised around the world. 

I have decided to undertake the RYA (Royal Yachting Association UK) MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency UK) Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore ticket and look forward to getting stuck into the learning and exams early in this year. After sitting a practice exam I was surprised at what I already knew and horrified at what I didn’t so I am looking forward to hitting the books once again.

One thing I am eternally grateful for is to have been able to have the services of Captain Mark James, who has just about every qualification under the sun. Mark has taught both Claire and I more in the past two years than one could learn in twenty. Mark’s very professional manner to bridge operations has rubbed off, and as such, we take very seriously our responsibilities while at sea and honestly run Pendana very much as a commercial vessel and to their standards while underway. If one thinks that things can’t go wrong very quickly while at sea then I would suggest a book entitled “Bridge Resource Management for Small Ships: The Watch keeper’s Manual for Limited-Tonnage Vessels” which highlights a number of errors made by watch-keepers with the corresponding disaster that followed. Frightening stuff!

Bridge Resource Management

Well worth a read for anyone on the water.

It’s great to have Pendana back at her home Marina and within easy access. For now the plan is to start thinking and planning for our next adventure south to Tasmania, taking small two –five day trips on Pendana and gaining my off shore Yachtmaster ticket.


Ok that’s all for now

Safe travels



7 thoughts on “Phase Five Complete”

  1. Michael Jennings

    Thanks James for sharing all your travels and experiences. It really has been very interesting and joy to read. Its been a fun year to follow your blog and look forward to next year!!

  2. James (PENDANA)

    REPLY .>>>>>

    Andy, the previous blog goes through some of the main areas re haul out.. ( that being said, we replaced all heads with new electronic flush models (approx $5,000), we upgraded our ABT TRAC Shafts as one was ever so slightly twisted ($10,000) we re corked the teak, sanded and fixed glass chips and cracks ($5000) Polished and waxed Pendana from tip to toe ($4,000) and did all the usual stuff like anti foul ($4500), new cutlass baring/slipped shaft & straightened ($5,000) and also had made a new exhaust elbow for main engine as we had a very small pin hole develop ($5,000) add haul out fees and stand fees and it didnt take long to hit the $45K overall. Remember labour costs in Oz are pretty high compared with the USA. Hope that answers your question.


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  4. Response to a post by Romaine Go1 who said:

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