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  • Gripnesvagen

    Gripnesvagen is a beautiful, nearly land-locked anchorage at the north end of Tysnes with a ...

  • Husnesfjorden

    We enjoyed the anchorage below Hovlandsnuten so much that we spent a third night there. After ...

  • Melderskin

    The summit of 4678-ft (1426m) Melderskin has a spectacular view east to the Folgefonna ...

  • Hovlandsnuten

    Hovlandsnuten soars 2,385ft (727m) nearly straight up along the east shore of the island ...

  • Olsfjorden

    While we were rounding the world in Dirona, so too was the oil rig Polar Pioneer, including a ...

  • Matersfjorden

    Matersfjorden is one of the wettest regions in the country and in 2005 received 8.8 inches (223 ...

  • Mjelkhaug

    The five-hour return hike to 3,300ft (1,005m) Mjelkhaug is a combination of two other hikes: a ...

  • Kattnakken

    The large TV tower atop 2,375ft (724m) Kattnakken on the island of Stord was a common sight as ...

  • Siggjo

    1555 ft (474m) Siggjo on Bomlo was prominent in the skyline north of our anchorage at Karihavet ...

  • Moster

    According to Norse legend, the first Christian church in Norway was established on the island ...

  • The Case of the Missing Oil Leak

    An engine seldom “just gets better”—close to never—but our generator was leaking ...

  • Ryfylkefjordane

    Ryfylkefjordane, the Ryfylke fjords, lie between Stavanger and Haugesund in the southern ...

  • Haugesund

    In early August, we returned to a very different Haugesund than the one we’d visited in ...

  • Forresfjorden

    After a day of heavy winds and rain following our visit to Skjoldafjorden, we had wonderfully ...

  • Skjoldafjorden

    The Skjoldastraumen is a shallow waterway with swift currents, suitable only for small craft. ...

  • Sjernaroyrunden

    Six of the islets in the Sjernaroyane group are interconnected with bridges, with a marked ...

  • Randasen

    The hike up 1,230ft (375m) Randasen was among the easiest we did on our return trip to Norway. ...

  • Josenfjorden

    After two days of wind, heavy rain and overcast skies in Erfjord, we were rewarded on our third ...

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Recent general comments and questions (view all)
  1. Rodney H Sumner says:

    Hi

    Any thoughts yet on your winter plans?

    • MVDirona says:

      We’re thinking of another 3 weeks here in Norway and then working our way south to Scotland. From there we will make the decision on the basis of the current world health situation and either head south to the Med or stay in the Scotland area. We do plan to cruise most of the winter this year.

      • Joaquin Hervada Sierra says:

        Jennifer, James, I have been following your site for a while and am glad to hear that you are still considering Spain. I don’t know if you have many Spanish followers or contacts; if you need input please feel free to reach out. I live in Madrid but regularly sail in both the Atlantic (Galicia) and Med (eastern coast and Balearic Islands). Keep up the excellent site and travels!

        • MVDirona says:

          Thanks, that’s very kind of you to offer to help us when we head south and spend some time in Spain. We’re looking forward to enjoying some time there and, as much as we love the natural beauty of northern latitudes, short days and cold weather will eventually chase us south :-).

  2. Steven Legrand says:

    Just watched the pto replacement video.
    Nice presentation both video wise, audio, and narration. Makes for very interesting and educational video.
    Thanks you guys!

  3. Robert Poulin says:

    I discovered your site recently, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to make a video on the financial aspects. It is not a question of your personal information, but an order of magnitude on the purchase and maintenance of a boat of your size as well as the budget to plan for a circom. Thanks

    • MVDirona says:

      It’s hard to cover the finances given the variability of use. In 10 years, our main engine has seen 11,000 hours and the generator 7,000. Most people use the systems less. Our main engine has only had injectors in all these hours. That’s unusually little. Our generator needed to have a cylinder head replaced and that’s more than I would expect in those hours on average. Some work needs to be done frequently and is easy to budget for and other work is only a once a decade sort of thing. It all conspires to make providing financial guidelines challenging.

      But, with all those caveats, I think you are right that we could offer some thoughts on what to expect — we’ll give the problem more thought. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. Trond Saetre says:

    Cool to see you got in the local news paper. Seems to be pretty accurate written, except for one thing. According to the journalist, your longest passage was an impressive “6000 mil,” which is 60.000 kilometer = 32.397NM. Nordhavn set a new world record in range :) Way to go, Dirona!

  5. Stuart Martin says:

    Hi James
    I just saw the post about your wrist or thumb injury but i think it was dated Aug 27.
    How is it doing?
    I recently retired from my specialty as a hand surgeon. There are a number of different fractures and ligament issues that can result at the base of the thumb and in the wrist from a fall like that. Proper radiographic imaging is very important and subspecialty consultation can be important. The required treatment varies widely depending on the specific injury and is largely focused on preserving future function and decreasing the arthritis risk going forward.
    Please feel free to contact me privately at smartin@mcmaster.ca or 905-902-2686 if you wish to do so.
    All the best
    Stuart
    MV Bluenose
    Nordhavn 60

  6. Chris Barber says:

    Hi James

    Could you point me to your post on adding the second bilge pump to your main sump please. I searched and could not find it. BTW while I was searching I came across a photo of your main DC interconnect featuring two Mastervolt 500 connectors and a Mastershunt. Love that stuff. I already have a Mastershunt in my system and I did not realize until today how useful those four-tap interconnect gadgets are, so I just ordered one and will likely get more once I see how they integrate into my system. I always thought they were just a piece of copper in a green box (i.e. a typical name brand money grab), so how much can you possibly communicate about that over the network? :) In reality they are a great way to get four fused taps in a very compact space with fuse blow monitoring. How cool is that?

    • MVDirona says:

      Yes, exactly as you said, we use a Mastershunt to measure DC current and then we extend the Mastershunt DC bus using two Masterbus DC Distribution systems. That allows measuring up to 500A of flow into or out of the batteries and provides numerous DC taps.

      The second bilge pump addition was covered here: https://mvdirona.com/2017/12/alarms-at-115am-follow-up/.

      • Chris Barber says:

        thank you, exactly what I was looking for. What are you using for a float switch to turn on the Rule 3700? I also need to replace my existing main bilge float as it gets stuck on once it triggers and will not turn off at low water. I’m going to replace that jabsco pump disaster at the same time with a whale like you did.

      • Chris Barber says:

        Only thing I don’t like about those Mastervolt devices is their choice of hardware. They use those awful allen head bolts. In all my kits of allens I cannot find one that seems to fit that socket correctly. Every other piece of electrical connection gear in this boat is a hex head bolt. So I replace all their hardware with hex heads which unfortunately have to be metric. It’s not that I am against metric, but I am definitely against having to carry multiple sizes of tools to do one single job. And they definitely did not anticipate anyone connecting 4-ought cable lugs to those things. They don’t fit. I don’t know what they were thinking but any cable on my boat that is part of a 500 amp rated circuit is definitely getting 4-ought. I have had to grind off the noses of the lugs and shave off the extraneous plastic molded ridges in front of the terminals on the mastervolt gear to fit the lugs on the terminals.

        But I just received my DC interconnect and it looks great (other than the above caveats) and it is going to save soooooo much space in my DC fusing and distribution!

        • MVDirona says:

          I actually don’t mind the hex head connections but agree that the system is too tight mechanically and I’ve had to trim the plastic covers to clear larger connections. Small is good but 20% bigger with more connection clearance would make sense. But, as you said, it does save space overall and produces a fairly organized solution when you are done.

          • Chris Barber says:

            Are you using the CZone version of the shunt and getting its data on N2K? Can Maretron see it? My first MasterShunt that I put on the house battery is not a czone; I didn’t understand enough about czone at the time and ordered the plain one, but now I’ve got two of the czone versions coming and it appears that czone is essentially N2K. Is that right? People really need to stop reinventing things and coming up with all these different flavors of things…

            • MVDirona says:

              Our system was done back in 2010 and, back then, the CZone part was not an option so we used the standard Mastervolt shunt in the build. When I wanted to read amperage we installed a DCM100 to get programmatic access to the current flow. We essentially don’t use the Mastershunt at this point. Mastershunt with CZone can produce NMEA2000 so that’s a cleaner solution with less parts. Another option is to use the DCM100 and delete the Mastershunt.

              • Chris Barber says:

                I’ll go with the Maretron sensors if I have to, but I like the integrated battery SOC, etc, that I get from the MasterShunt. I have a MasterBus touch screen display on that network and it’s really nice, all my MV gear is there, one stop shopping. On the other hand the DCM100 coupled with N2KView does provide a nice SOC solution… I’ll let you know how it goes with czone and N2K when I get the new shunts installed. I’m using them initially on my bow thruster battery where I need a solution that will do 600+ amps. That takes two MasterShunts, which does not make it cheap!

                • MVDirona says:

                  Makes sense. I wouldn’t have bought the Maretron DCM100 if I had a NMEA 2000 producing Mastershunt. Your choice is less expensive and a cleaner choice.

                  A minor point on the SoC meters, I’ve tried Mastervolt, Xantrex, Maretron, etc. and they all count amps and so all suffer from the problems: 1) overall bank capacity is entered as a config parameter but it is actually falling from day one until you replace the battery bank rather than a fixed value. This means that 50% charge on your SoC meter is slowly going to actually be 40% charge after some time and it’ll go lower than that. And 2) if you count amps out, and count amps in and estimate the amount lost to battery inefficiencies (Peukert constant) which is what they all do, you get a slight error on every discharge cycle until fully charged again. This slight error is additive over time and will keep getting worse until the system is brought back to a 100% charge to get the error reset. The combined impact of these hard to predict error rates limits the accuracy of SoC meters. But, just as a broken clock is right twice a day, a SoC meter will never look wrong if you have no way to check it.

                  It doesn’t really seem to be that hard a problem so I’ve also written several SoC meters myself that don’t suffer from all of the problems above but they still weren’t awesome.
                  It’s a harder problem that it looks. In the end, I have quite a few SoC meters on Dirona and yet don’t use any of them and around 5 years back, I stopped even bothering to show SoC on any of hte displays on the boat.

                  • Christian Gnass says:

                    HI James, interesting. I am presently looking at exactly this same scenario on my Sabre 42 Hardtop Express , where I installed a German brand SoC, and that shows the same weaknesses as you are describing. I came to exactly your conclusions as well, it seems that these influence factors of the real world are hard to overcome, so the SoC’s are not as good a tool as I would have expected. All the best, in (so far) quite healthy Norway!

                    • MVDirona says:

                      Exactly! And, yes, it’s great to be Norway. Lots of natural beauty, very lightly populated with nice people and very little COVID-19. We’ll be leaving in a few weeks but we’ll plan to be back.

                  • Chris Barber says:

                    I totally agree. It is a truly vexing bit of engineering. I’ve worked in companies populated with teams of incredibly bright people and have seen first hand the results of the “how hard could this be” syndrome. They didn’t do very well at it either. I think it’s mainly entertaining eye candy at this point. If you keep a mental adjustment factor running to compensate the numbers over time, and you know what you’re doing, you can probably figure out where your batteries really are. You or I could do this, and some others, but not everyone.

                    Also, as I understand it, the Peukert coefficient is meant to put a curve on the discharge rate according to the actual amperage being drawn. The higher the demand, the less effective capacity you have. So the 200 AH batteries are only 200 AH at the 20 hour discharge rate, and not so much at the 10 or 5 hour discharge rate.

                    Some new monitors that I have looked at , like the MasterShunt, also introduce a separate coefficient called the “charge efficiency”. I don’t know what math they are doing with it exactly but I believe they are attempting to compensate what you pointed out as “a slight error on every discharge cycle”. But even with this, the documentation still tells you the thing needs to be reset to 100% every so often, just like you said.

                    • MVDirona says:

                      Yes, I largely agree. And, as much effort that gets spent on reducing the “small error on every discharge cycle” an even bigger source of error is a 1200Ah battery will age to become a 1000 Ahr bank and 50% of 1200 is very different from 50% of 1000. After conditioning, a bank will regain some capacity. It’s changing all the time. I suspect that the reason why many people have SoC meters that they really like is they have no redundant data point telling them how for wrong it really is.

  7. Evan Bauman says:

    Congrats on being featured on the back cover Nordhavn advertisement on the Oct 2020 issue of Power & Motoryacht!

  8. Colin Rae says:

    Hi Dirona,
    What sort of depths are you anchoring in, and what sort of scope do you typically use.
    Thanks, Colin

    • MVDirona says:

      We’re currently anchored in 50′ and the previous 4 were 70′, 84′ and 70′. Over the last month, we’ve done as low as 18′ and as deep as 100′ with 30′ to 50′ being fairly common. In less than 30′ we like 5:1 and seldom use less when in shallow water. In 50′ we’ll typically use around 4:1 and deeper than that 3:1 works great but we typically are closer to 4:1 and sometimes 5:1. We are unusual in liking more rode out than many but we’ve weather through winds as high as 60 knots at anchor and, in 21 years, have never felt the need to get out of bed and check the anchor or stand anchor watch.

      The deepest we have anchored was in 146′ with 3.4:1 but it would have been comfortable with less rode.

  9. Steven Coleman says:

    Hello James,

    Your “missing oil leak” photo reminded me of a conversation I had with a Marine Harrier pilot at an airshow years ago.

    I had asked if a hydraulic leak on his aircraft was a problem. Without batting an eye and with a completely straight face his reply was “only if it stops”

  10. Olle says:

    Hi! Hope you’re having a great time in Norway! I’m still working on the model of the Nordhavn 52 and I could see on pictures that your funnel stack and the mountings for the radars and antennas are quite different compared to the drawings and pictures I have of other Nordhavn 52’s, I do recall you told me something about it being custom when I visited you, but what was the story of it? have there been several different versions? It looks to me in the pictures that yours is a bit more straight and I can see heavy duty hinges on it so I guess you could lower it in order to do maintenance to it yourselves?

    Best Regards!
    /Olle

    • MVDirona says:

      Hi Olle. Great haring from you. Your model accurate matches the newest Nordhavn 52s. When the Nordhavn 52 was first drawn and built it came with the stack you see on Dirona. Later they moved to using the same stack used on the 55/60 series and that’s what you’ll see on all the more recent 52s. Your model accurately matches the most recent design.

      The large hinge allows the stack to be lowered for reduced air clearance but we’ve never done it. Dropping the stack requires unbolting the exhaust pipe, needs a crane to ease it back, and there needs to be enough slack in the wires heading up the stack. It’s nice to have the capability if we ever really need it but it’s a big operation. When the boat was shipped to North American from China the stack was in the down position so it has been used once.

      • Olle Sköld says:

        Thanks for the clarification! I have not been able to find a scale side view of your version (which I actually prefer the looks of to be hones, those big boomerang shaped radar mounts looks a bit weird. :) You don’t happen to have a scale side view of your version that shows the proportions? It doesn’t have to be detailed, just showing the proportions as it’s super hard to judge from pictures unless they are in perfect perspective from the side.

  11. Arto says:

    Hello,
    while you are in the area a comfortable hiking or biking target can be recommended from Sunndal to Bondhusvatnet, please check: https://www.visitnorway.com/listings/hike-to-the-bondhus-glacier-bondhusdalen/5053/
    Best regards

  12. Al King says:

    Have you had any thoughts of heading north to Svalbard & or Iceland?

  13. Sindre Stabell Kulø says:

    Thank you so much for your website, and welcome to Norway! I´m a huge fan of the Nordhavns, and I was so thrilled to find your site and YouTube Videos. Hope so see you proceed north in Norway, and welcome to my home town Kristiansund if you are on your way northbound. Looking forward to follow you!

  14. Tim Kaine says:

    Hello James & Jennifer
    It has been awhile since I have posted but at the time I did is when you all had you keel cooler painted. I have been following along and have seen a couple positive posts from you about it but am wondering what your thoughts are about it now after a few years of real world testing. Thanks in advance :)

    • I don’t have good A/B tests with and without but the painted cooler seems to work very well. The logic is simple: a large amount of marine growth is better insulation than a coat of paint. So, logically, if you aren’t able to keep the cooler clean it’s better painted.

  15. Hi Jennifer and James.
    I noticed your vessel when at anchor at Sauaholmen just a couple of hours ago, and when i googled you this interesting blog came up!
    Are you interested in an intervju at the local newspaper tomorrow before you leave?
    I work at Årbakka Handelsstad and you are welcome over for a chat? I open the shop and museum at 11 am.

    • Thanks for the comment and for the interview suggestion. The weather looks nice today so we plan to head over to Rosendal to hike Melderskin so it looks like we are going to have a full day.

  16. Trond Saetre says:

    If you need refueling, Onarheim has the least expensive diesel in the area.

    • We still have 4,400 liters on board from our fueling in Stornoway Scotland so it’ll be a while before we need diesel but we always appreciate your local knowledge and suggestions. Today, for example, we’re planning to do the hike you recommended from Rosendal.

      • Trond Satre says:

        Perfect weather for hiking Melderskin. Have fun!

        • MVDirona says:

          Wow, what an incredible view from the top of Melderskin. GREAT recommendation.

          It’s just a bit beyond my limit for maximum hiking output in a single day but all the best views usually follow from exceeding my limits :-)

          • Trond Saetre says:

            Good to hear you enjoyed the trip. Sometimes pushing the limits, is well worth it.

            • MVDirona says:

              Your right, it is a taxing hike but, wow, what an amazing view. Even my hiking boats essentially failed where the sole on both boots have sections peeling away. I think they are down to their last hike or close to it.

      • LHM says:

        Hi James & Jennifer,

        My wife and I live in the US with our 7 year old son and two dogs. I am from South Africa, my wife is a US citizen, and our son is a dual US/South African citizen. We’re thinking of doing a Trans-Atlantic crossing onboard a Nordhavn from Florida to Cape Town within the next few years.

        We are aware of your trip between Cape Town and the US, and would like to know what the seas were like near Cape Town when you traveled there. We have heard many reports of rough seas and large waves in that area, and would like to know when you traveled (start to finish dates), what the weather was like, and whether you witnessed any rogue waves (the Atlantic is large, and can be quite inhospitable at times) or had any issues with piracy anywhere en route during the long journey.

        Any additional advice/information of importance would be greatly appreciated.

        • MVDirona says:

          That sounds like a fun trip. Our expereince in the Capetown area is limited to two trips. The first from Richards Bay south, around the Cape and north to Capetown and the second from Cape Town to St. Helena and then on to Barbados.

          On the first trip, conditions were mostly quite good and the trip south in the Agulhas Current was fast with the current running in the 4 to 6 knot range. But, just north of East London the winds suddenly built to 30 kts from the south. We’re used to seeing seas taking a couple of hours to build large in 30 kt winds but in the first 10 to 15 min we got hit with one of the largest green water waves we’ve experienced where it hit the pilot house windows so hard it sounded like an explosion. Loud enough that I ducked. It also tore the lid off the forward deck compartment which we haven’t seen before or since. In the Agulhas current waves develop very fast and can be large and quite powerful.

          On the second trip we left Cape Town heading North towards Barbados. When we left, there was a 12′ swell running and some where surprised we decided to sail but it was on a 12 second frequency so there was lots of up and down but nothing sudden and the seas were fairly comfortable. The entire trip to Barbados ranged from smooth water to rough enough that it slows the boat down but it remained comfortable the entire trip. We never saw any unusually large waves and conditions where never a concern on that trip.

          I would be very careful in the Agulhas current on the east coast. We didn’t see anything worrisome on the west coast. Of course, it is the southern ocean so go at the right time of year but, with those precautions, we saw nothing concerning.

          On the trip south from Richards Bay we left on November 11 and took about a week to make the trip with a few days in East London (https://mvdirona.com/Trips/southafrica2015/SouthAfrica2.html). On the trip north from Capetown, we left December 23rd (https://mvdirona.com/Trips/atlanticocean2016/atlanticocean1.html) and arrived in St. Helena January 4th (https://mvdirona.com/cache/TravelDigests/Trips/atlanticocean2016/atlanticocean1_TravelDigest.html).

          • LHM says:

            Thank you James, your reply is very helpful, informative and quite interesting. We’re planning on making Barbados and St Helena our two “stops” on the way to Cape Town, and from what I understand a good time to go would be during the US fall. We are very excited and value your feedback and any suggestions you may have in the future prior to our trip. It’s a long trip, but well worth making.

            • MVDirona says:

              We’re proof that the St. Helena direct to Barbados routing works and the other direction will as well. But it is an unusual routing and it’s a long one so, if you are in a power boat, you’ll need far more fuel than most Atlantic crossing routes and, if it’s a small boat, you’ll be at sea for close to a month. We enjoyed the trip and we would likely chose the same routing again but I did want to point out that there are some downsides to that routing.

              More data on the trip: https://mvdirona.com/2016/02/barbados-arrival/.

          • LHM says:

            Oh, in addition to my other reply to your comment I’d like to add as a matter of interest that I spent quite a few years in Knysna during my high school years, and spent countless happy hours on the estuary and at the Knysna Heads. At least two superyachts have entered through the heads, and the SA Navy has done so many a time during the annual Knysna Oyster Festival. What a pity you guys did not experience the beauty of Knysna and the welcoming atmosphere at the Knysna Yacht club and Waterfront area! Maybe next time. 😉 Maybe we’ll see you on the water during our Trans-Atlantic passage in 2027.

  17. Joe Sousa says:

    Happy Birthday Spitfire!!

  18. Ioannis Berdos says:

    My apologies for not thanking you for answering a question regarding licencing and US flag on a boat.

    Thank you very much as you have clarified the issue. Also thank you for the very detailed/informative videos regarding diesel engine troubleshooting on YouTube.

    Fair winds following seas,
    Ioannis

  19. Doug Miller says:

    Just realised, that with social isolating due to COVID-19, it must be ages since you last ate at a Pizzeria. Have you managed to get some therapy to cure this longing? (lol)

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