So, Michael, tell us a little something about your cruising to date and where you have been so far?
About 20 years ago we made the switch from a water-ski boat to a 26 foot Sea Ray – our first boat we could sleep aboard. We were hooked on the first night and started to plan ways we could spend more time aboard. Fast-forward 6 years and three different boats, and we had made the decision that we would retire aboard a boat and travel the world – in 20 years.
In order to make progress on our dream, we felt moving from Wisconsin to a place where we could gain experience on the ocean year-round was important.
In 2002, we moved to south Florida and started to search for a boat capable of a circumnavigation. In 2005, we purchased Chicory, Nordhavn 46-006 with the intention of refitting her over the next 15 years. The plan was to have the right boat and the right experience when we were ready to retire.
In the last 10 years, we have been focused on our careers, but have found time to complete the renovations we felt were critical and we have taken time to cruise in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas.
In January, 2016 – we moved aboard Chicory full time and are planning to start cruising full time this summer.
Why did you choose Nordhavn?
We wanted a full displacement boat capable of circumnavigating. We wanted to purchase a boat that had the design and build quality to be safe in the ocean, as a 40-year-old boat; remember our plan was to start retirement when the boat was 30 years old, and it needed to be rock-solid at least until it was 40. Nordhavn was the only choice for us when considering all the variables.
I understand your Nordhavn is one of the good old girls and has some years any many miles on her?
Yes, she was built in 1989. She is hull number 6 in the series and one of only a few that is fitted with a ketch sail rig. The Lugger has 5500 hours on the clock, and she purrs like a kitten.
What projects have you done to modernise her?
We are just finishing up our second refit in 8 years. I have put together some before and after photos to show you the major cosmetic projects. We are not quite done yet, so many of the photos show partially completed work, but you get the idea. These cosmetic changes conceal a significant amount of mechanical upgrades, which I will touch on briefly.
You may be interested to know that Tracy and I have performed 99% of all work shown.
Our first major refit was in 2007 and included a new helm, new electrical panels and replacing all bolt-on components on the engine. Notice the electrical panels were moved to the stairwell.
The current refit has been executed over the last year and we hope to have completed in the next couple of months, just in time for us to start our summer cruising.
Tracy and I enjoy baking and cooking, so reconfiguring the Galley was very important. We have a convection / microwave oven and induction cooktop. The counters are quartz and they conceal all new storage and plumbing.
Chicory did not come with a mid-stair to the cabins, but instead had a desk area. This was not very useful space for us, so we switched it out for a stacked 240 volt washer and dryer. The old combo unit that was located in the stair down to the staterooms has been exchanged for a 2nd refrigerator.
We have slept on a king-size bed for the last 28 years and we did not want to give up the space when we moved aboard full time. This necessitated stripping the master stateroom down to the floor and back to the walls and starting over. The new king-size bed lifts completely with a linear actuator and provides access to the water-maker, air-condition pumps, seacocks and the stabilizers.
Along with refitting the master stateroom, we changed out everything in the master head.
In the old photo of the master stateroom you will notice at the foot of the bed there is missing a set of drawers and a cabinet. We used this space to house our new stacked inverter producing 6000 watts and 300 amps of 12-volt charge to the 1890 Amp-Hour battery bank.
Because we took space from the master stateroom, we needed to add some storage back to the boat. We accomplished this in the forward stateroom by replacing the very small double bed and a settee with two high-bunks including an integrated fold-out desk. This space also conceals reconfigured water tanks, water manifolds, air-conditioning and two chargers one for our 48-volt bow-thruster and one for the windlass.
Chicory came from the factory with a 12KW NL Generator, which is fantastic, but many times it’s way too big. We were chronically under loading the generator at night when we only were running air-conditioning. We wanted to add a second, smaller generator to give us redundancy and an option for off-peak loads. I saw a picture of N46-Jenny, with a fish cleaning station in the cockpit and found my inspiration for how to make this happen.
What has been your cruising highlight so far?
We are blessed to live in paradise, so we have not needed to travel far to enjoy Chicory. This is fortunate, because work has forced us to limit our vacations to 2-week adventures.
We have cruised in the Florida Keys and Bahamas over the last 10 years. Our best trip aboard Chicory was to the Bahamas, where we primarily anchored out, with one exception. We visited Cat Cay Yacht Club for a couple of days to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The diving, fishing, companionship and weather were all perfect.
Do you travel with an animal/s on board?
Yes, we have a 10-pound miniature puddle named Jet. Jet was born with three times the personality required for a dog, so he keeps us hopping.
In your past life what did you and Tracy do?
We both have been in Marketing / Graphic Communications for our entire careers. Most recently we ran our own business serving large corporate clients.
Tracy, if there is one thing Michael does that irritates you while underway what would that be?
Working together over the last 10 plus years has made me pretty immune to all of Michael’s irritating qualities.
And it’s only fair I ask Michael the same question, so Michael, if there was one thing Tracy does that irritates you what would that be?
Tracy claims to have better common-sense then me, which unfortunately I have proven on many occasions. Now, when I start to do something she deems bone-headed, she explains that I may hurt myself and provides and alternate and safer plan. Irritating! Right!
Onto irritating things, have you ever run out of something while at sea that has caused problems?
Because our vacation time was so limited, we were paranoid of having anything disrupt a trip; therefore, we packed and provisioned excessively. To the point of ridiculousness. So, no we have never run out of anything.
We hope to be anchored out for extended periods starting this summer, so I am certain we will encounter shortages along the way.
Would you describe yourselves as more hunters or more gathers?
We are most-definitely hunters. We both made our careers in sales and we enjoy being continually challenged to “hunt”.
Why did you name your vessel MV Chicory?
We purchased Chicory already named. Our boat was previously owned by Bill and Ellen Bane, who crossed the Atlantic with the NAR in their Nordhavn 46 – Satchmo. They met in New Orleans and wanted the name of the boat to be reminiscent of their home. We liked the name Chicory, the story and the boats history, so we kept the name.
What other names did you consider?
We did not have any names in mind during our search for a boat and once we found Chicory, we did not consider any other names
What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you while at sea?
The funniest thing was in sea as opposed to at sea. We were finishing up a great day of diving and headed back to the boat when we saw a nice lobster. We surfaced and grabbed our newly purchased lobstering paraphilia. We had just got our licences and thought this was the perfect time to start building our skills. It was ridiculous how inept we were at trying to coax him out of his little hidey-hole. We spent about 45 minutes trying to catch this little bugger – we would catch him just to have him escape before we could get him into the bag. We caught it and lost him four times over our hunt, but we finely prevailed.
What’s the biggest mistake you have ever made on the water?
You may want to refer to the common-sense comment earlier – this incident was an important foundational moment in Tracy’s theorem!
Shortly after we purchased Chicory we were traveling in the Florida Keys northbound from Indian Key. I did a routine engine room check and discovered some transmission fluid coming out of the breather fitting. I could not tell how much fluid had escaped because the breather is situated over the deepest part of the bilge and I could not see down there on a moving boat.
The thought of running low on transmission fluid was stressing me out and I felt a great deal of urgency to figure out what was going on. So, I yelled up to Tracy to put the engine in neutral and to stand by. I unscrewed the transmission dipstick and instantly a geyser of boiling hot oil spewed out of the tube and covered my hand and just missed my face. Oops.
We packed my hand with ice and made the decision to make the 16-hour trip to our slip so we could get our car and go to the emergency room. The burn healed, but the legacy lives on…
Now in my defence, our transmission should be checked when it is engine is warm and running, so my idea was not completely idiotic, just stupid.
Tell us a little something about MV Chicory?
We have tried many different tenders after getting frustrated with raising and lowering an inflatable off the upper deck. So, now we tow a 20 foot Aqua Sport as our dive boat and we use Chicory as our home base. We figured there wasn’t much difference between towing a 12 foot and a 20 foot when you are going 7 knots. This has opened a new world for us and has expanded the places we can explore and where we can anchor. We have a SCUBA compressor aboard and all or our dive equipment and we are excited to start exploring.
[PIC 17 : “Chicklet” out tender being towed in Hawks Channel.]
What are you afraid of?
Michael – Besides the obligatory R.O.U.S (Rodents of Unusual Size) – I fear letting Tracy down in any way. I love her a great deal and want her to be happy at all times.
Tracy – Being far away from civilization and one of us getting hurt badly
What’s your favourite photo ever taken while at sea and why?
This is picture is from our very first trip aboard Chicory. Our friends took this picture when we were anchored off Rodriguez Key. We call it “Chicory in the mist”. I just love the way the boat looks shrouded in mist in dead-calm water.
What would you never leave behind (besides each other) when heading out to sea?
Vodka – Tito’s to be specific. We are not big drinkers, but enjoying a cocktail while watching the sunset from your boat is a certain kind of bliss.
Tracy tell us something about yourselves that nobody knows?
Although Michael and I are avid divers, including deep cave penetrations; I almost decided not to get certified to dive because of my fear of underwater weeds.
And finally, where to next?
We are taking off this early summer to start exploring all the diving sites and destinations we have dreamed of visiting. We are going to start in the Florida Keys and move to the Bahamas quickly. Remember, our longest time aboard and at anchor was 14 days, so this will be quite an adventure for us. Just learning the provisioning and intricacies of having a dog aboard will keep us hopping! We are going to document the dives, dive destinations’, our time aboard and the improvements we have and will be making to Chicory in a Video Blog. We are just starting to build Boaters Diving Guide and we are excited to start adding content.
Thank you very much for your time, will be watching this year’s progress closely.
Good luck with your travels!
Our new site will be: Boaters Diving Guide
Our site showing the first refit done earlier is at: Nordhavn 46