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  • Frederiksborg Castle

    Frederiksborg Castle, a Dutch-Renaissance palace built in the early 1600s as a residence for ...

  • Anholt

    The tiny island of Anholt is 7 miles (11 km) long and about 4 miles (6.4 km) wide and is 80% ...

  • Laeso

    Laeso, a Danish island in the Kattegat, is famous for its seaweed houses that are found nowhere ...

  • Around Skagen

    Denmark’s peninsula of Jutland is bordered on one side by the Skagerakk in the North Sea ...

  • Skagen Arrival

    Skagen, at the northern tip of Denmark, is the largest fishing port in the country and lands ...

  • Return to Smogen

    On our final day in Sweden, we returned to Smogen, this time anchoring off the east shore. With ...

  • Kosterhavet Trails

    The Koster Islands are known for their extensive and beautiful trail network. On our fourth day ...

  • Ursholmen

    The lighthouse station on Ursholmen, in Sweden’s Kosterhavet National Park, was opened in ...

  • Koster Swimrun

    We’d received many, many recommendations to visit Kosterhavet National Park, just south ...

  • Fjallbacka

    The picturesque town of Fjallbacka is a popular and crowded summer destination. It is famous as ...

  • Vaderoarna

    Vaderoarna (the Weather Islands) were classified as a nature reserve in 2012 and have one of ...

  • Nordens Ark

    Nordens Ark, on the Swedish west coast, is a private, non-profit foundation focusing on ...

  • Smogen Storm

    Smogen is right on the edge of the Skagerrak and exposed to the North Sea. So when a big ...

  • Smogen, the Island of Light

    Smogen, the “Island of Light”, ends its summer season with an art light festival ...

  • Gullmarsfjorden

    The 19th-century seaside resort Lysekil sits at the mouth of Gullmarsfjorden, a 15-mile-long ...

  • Karingon

    Karingon, a small and beautiful island along the Swedish West Coast, has one of the most active ...

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General questions & comments
  1. Olle Sköld says:

    Hi! I saw your picture of the police car. I cannot really tell the country letter on the license plate but it looks like an S, and in Sweden we have a public register where you can search information on all vehicles just by typing in the registration and I get that it should be a Ford Excursion XLT. It is owned by a private individual and was imported to Sweden as recently as September this year. The thing is that in Sweden you can own a car that looks like that as long as you don’t have the blue lights on it, and from what I can tell from the picture the light rack on the roof has been removed. There is a place in Stockholm where you can rent special cars, and they actually have an old chevy US police car from 1964:
    http://www.hyrspecialbil.nu/files/IMG_4344.jpg

    • I’ll bet you are right and the truck really is a retired King County (Seattle) Transit Police vehicle. I looked through the vehicle selection at the link you included and it ranged from a purple 1960 Cadillac Fleetwood to a 1964 Chevrolet Bel Air Police car. Kind of cool.

      We love learning about what’s behind what we see — thanks for passing along the explanation.

  2. Bernie Andersen says:

    Hi Guys! What a journey you’ve been on exploring the world in the last 10 years or so! Very Impressive indeed. I’ve have been peaking at your site off and on since you hit the rocks in Bornholm, DK. I’m Bernie and I’m a Dane. I’ve been living in the US since 1989. In 2019, I spent 6 months’ time in Seattle, WA exploring and enjoying the atmosphere to learn and see if area Seattle resembles Scandinavia the most. I must say, there’s a lot of similarities! I’ve been traveling the world over the years, but you guys definitely peaked as world explorers. I can only imagine how fulfilling it has been traveling the world on a Nordhavn! Anyway, I’m headed to Copenhagen in a couple of days. I will grab my bike when I get over the there and head towards the harbor hoping to get a glimpse at the famous Dirona before you leave the area. if not this time around, maybe when you hit the shorelines of Seattle again :-) Wish you all the best exploring the rest of the world. -Bernie

    • Copenhagen is a wonderful city. We’ve really been enjoying it here and would certainly be comfortable here over longer periods but, on this stop, it won’t quite be a week. When you get back to Copenhagen, drop us a note (jrh@mvdirona.com) and, if we are still in town, we can show you around the inside of the boat as well.

  3. Gunter says:

    Hello James and Jennifer,
    I just saw your very interesting video “Tour of Nordhavn 52 Dirona” with information on the Lenovo control system. It’s been very valuable for my own boat project but unsuccessfully searched the internet for details. Where can I find more specs on your website?

    • We probably should write up more detail on the control systems but this 2018 article is a pretty good start: https://mvdirona.com/2018/04/control-systems-on-dirona/. You specifically asked about Lenovo gear. We use Lenovo L1900ps monitors spread throughout the boat and, in the pilot house we use night running covers on these monitors: https://mvdirona.com/2010/05/night-running-monitor-covers/. The central navigation system computer that runs the nav software and all central control system software is a Lenovo ThinkStation Tiny P320 covered about 1/2 down on this page: https://mvdirona.com/2018/09/trondheim-projects/.

      Most of the control system software running on the central windows system is custom built software that: 1) collects all data from the NMEA2000 bus and stores in a relational database (RDBMS) every 5 seconds, 2) collects data 5 Raspberry Pis (RPIs) doing digital input (off/on) and stores in the RDBMS every 5 seconds, 3) screen scrapes some key equipment like the satellite communications systems where the data isn’t exposed through any programmatic interface and stores that data in the RDBMS every 5 seconds, 4) puts all key data not already on the NMEA2000 bus onto the bus for display by Maretron N2kView (this is wonderful commercial software that we use to display and report on all operational data on the boat, 5) pushes data to the mvdirona.com website for real time reporting on the boat position, weather, fuel remaining, etc. 6) monitors all equipment state for 100s of alarm or warning condtions that are shown on N2kview, emailed to us both, and displayed as warning lights in the ER, and 7) support external communications allowing us to log in and see boat system state, change boat system state, and view other facilities like the video cameras.

  4. Musko Base photo says:

    I am Kuo Ming Chen, The editor in chief of Defence International. In recent molitary news, they say the Musko Base have reopen. If we write the news on our monthly, that is a monthly, now is No423. Can we use the photo you take and note your name on it? We published on Taiwan, Taipei

  5. Peter & Pia Moller says:

    Dear both.
    We have followed your trip. We hope you are visiting Copenhagen next on your way south. May we recommend “Nyhavn” inside Copenhagen Port, right at the center of Copenhagen. We have ourselves a coastal cruiser and also want go cruising, just in smaler scale, like Europe, not trans Atlantic. It would be great if you had the time and possibility to spend a short time for a visit. Heating and other issues of living aboard a motoryacht in wintertime has great interest. Please let me know if you have time for a coffee in Copenhagen.

    Further if you need help of anykind during your stay in Copenhagen, please let me know

    Best regards

    Pia & Peter

    • We are currently enjoying Helsingor and will be visiting Copenhagen for around a week starting tomorrow. If we can find a place we like in Nyhavn, we’ll be in there as you recommend. We’re always interested in talking about boats so feel free to drop us a note at jrh@mvdirona.com if you feel like dropping by or meeting somewhere. Thanks for the offer of help while we are in the area.

  6. L-H K. Arvedsen says:

    I’m impressed at how much detail you get from the various places you visit. When you were in my town, and all the other places.
    One little thing – The SAR boat that you saw in Skagen is named from the person depicted in the statue “The Rescuer”
    That person is believed to be the model for this painting in this famous painting: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/Den_druknede.jpg

  7. Gregg Testa says:

    Your tender is in and out of the water quit frequently and wondering how’s the boom holding up since the refit.

    • The overall mechanical portions we worked upon have remained solid and trouble free. We did develop more remote control problems where the hard wired pendant failed for what I think is the 5th time. The pendants are quite unreliable whereas the rest of the electrical system is simple and very reliable. We eventually gave up and re-engineered the remote operation and, for just under $600, have wireless remote operation: https://mvdirona.com/2019/02/steelhead-wireless-remote/

      It works well, seems very stable, and we continue to have the hard wired pendant for backup. The rework that you read about at https://mvdirona.com/2018/04/crane-rebuilt-remanufacture/ was massive. Days of tedious and kind of depressing work. The net result seems pretty reliable but it took days of working full time to get to this point and there were multiple different design faults that needed to be corrected. The interference between the linear winch and the boom it operates within is the only issue where I expect it’ll return to causing us trouble eventually. There are all new parts in there now and it’s lubricated but that problem will eventually return. It’s just a matter of time. The crane extension problem was the use of a direct aluminum-to-aluminum friction surface in the early cranes. This has been corrected in subsequent design updates and we corrected it in ours by sanding away enough material to allow space for an anti-friction surface. This is what they have done on the newer cranes and from what we have seen so far, I think it’ll be an effective fix. I would expect that the adhesive used to hold the anti-friction surface to the boom and boom extension will fail eventually so the longevity of this fix is directly related to the quality of the adhesives used and materials preparation during adhesive application. I suspect it’ll go 5+ years and I’m hoping for 10 but that’s a hope and it’s really hard to know up front.

      I have many ideas on how basically that same crane could be manufactured by Steelhead to be much more reliable and last longer but that’s not really an option on a crane in the field. Still, I’m optimistic that the changes we made will have a good service life and we’ll not be back in there anytime soon. I admit I continue to look longingly at Palfinger commercial kuckle boom cranes: https://www.palfinger.com/en-us. They are much more flexible, have more reach, have excellent service records in rough commercial use, but would need some work get looking good enough for this application.

  8. Tom Andersson says:

    Hi
    I am a reporter at the local newspaper at Laesoe, and took a picture of your nice boat lying all alone in the harbour. The Stars and Stripes are a rare sighting at Laesoe. I would actually just hear a little about your impressions on the Island…
    Feel free to call me at my cellphone +4542742032 or write me at tom@aogj.dk

    Best regards and all the best onwards

    • Hi Tom. We really enjoyed visiting Laesoe. We did an electric car tour of the island and had particularly good stops at the salt plant, looked around the airport a bit and, visited Byrum where we toured town and climbed the Hansen Tower. The views from the tower out over the island were great. Of course, we also went to Gammel Osterby where we watched the video on the Seaweed house construction techniques and visited Hedvigs Hus Museum. We also spent a few hours in Osterby Havn where we walked the commercial fish boat docks, spent some time in the boat repair yard, and stopped off at Sailors Pub to relax over a drink and enjoy the view out over the harbor. For dinner we both had a excellent Lobster dinners at Hotel Havnebakken enjoying their marvelous view out over the harbor.

      It was an excellent visit and we particularly appreciate the help from Alex Rasmussen, the harbor master, who was super helpful and personally delivered to the boat a map of the island and other information on places worth visiting and let us know that electric cars were available for renting. It was a fun visit. We’ll drop you a note as well.

  9. Chris Barber says:

    Re: The grey wire on the generator… I once spent 45 minutes with a logic analyzer cabled up to troubleshoot a cpu mother board to determine that there were no eproms installed…

  10. Steven Coleman says:

    Hello James,
    Reading about your sea-fire system got me wondering, if you were worried about an emergency situation where you might need to either cut a wire or jump terminals, why not pre-position jumpers with Molex connectors and Molex connectors on the wires you might wish to cut?

    That way in a stressful situation you could just plug the connectors together or pull the connectors apart.

    • Yes, that would be better and perhaps the best answer, if I think the SeaFire system might dual fault, is to put the SeaFire bypass on a switch. I already have an emergency override switch that disengages most automation and puts the boat into all manual mode. I’ve never used it but the idea is, if there is an automation failure, make it easy to return to manual mode. I could put the Seafire bypass on the same circuit with an 8 pole double through relay.

      I gave it careful thought and decided that the risk/benefit didn’t justify the effort. I did decide to label the circuits since it makes the system easier to work on. On this one, the override circuit isn’t complex but it would require 18 wires with 36 connections in an obnoxious place to work and I ended up concluding the odds of the SeaFire triggering and the SeaFire override failing wasn’t very likely. But reasonable people could disagree on that point. Thanks for passing on your suggestion.

  11. Thomas Boekenbrink says:

    Forgot to mention one thing on Sweden: if time allows, check out Stenungsund. There‘s a hotel called Stenungsbaden Yacht Club. It‘s not a yacht club anymore but it’s a beautiful location and food there is great. They also have a very nice spa – just in case you want a break from stressful ( ;-) ) boating. If I recall correctly, they have a jetty where you can moore Dirona directly in front of hotel. Have been there on business and dreamt of returning one day with my Nordy…..;-)

    • We appreciate the advice on things to see. In this case, we’ll probably head directly to Skagen Denmark from where we are up near the Norway border so won’t likely make that stop on this trip.

  12. Thomas Boekenbrink says:

    James,
    We don’t like the crowds either

    Two simple rules for Croatia ( which is the favorite boating spot for Italiens, Austrians and Germans – all can be very noisy party people at times…..):
    1) avoid July and August. We went there last week of August and first week of September. There is a significant decline in those weeks.
    2) avoid the coastline. There are some nice cities like Split and Dubrovnik but the further you get out to the islands the more quiet it gets.

    For the crowded time, probably Montenegro or Albania as they are not yet that developed (that‘s what people say – have not been there yet). Or – greek islands. Have been to Greece several times (not boating) and love the islands. Not so crowded as Croatia and stunning with lots of sandy beaches (bays) which you don‘t have in Croatia. Croatia is all rocks.
    If you want any more details, just let me know.

    We are planning to cruise the Stockholm Archipelago next year.
    Would love to get some tips from you two.

    All the best,
    Thomas

  13. Thomas Boekenbrink says:

    Dear Jennifer and James,
    I love to read your blog. Great information – thanks for sharing all this!
    We‘ve had first contact on the dreamers site in 2017 when I recommended the Caledonian canal (I‘m sure you had this already on your list :-) – BTW – I‘m still chartering but not one of those crash-skippers that you‘ve encountered there ;-) )
    Since you are already in Europe – what are your next steps? Is the Med already in your focus?
    In the meantime we did some more (baby-)steps towards out dream: 2018 PNW gulf islands from Nanaimo to Victoria BC in a Bayliner and this summer Croatia, again in Bayliner. Very different but we loved both.
    If your plans allow – try the Croatian Islands. Beautiful area to cruise and nice climatic conditions from May to September. People is a different story but subject to everybody‘s own experience…. ;-)

    Looking forward to reading the upcoming news!

    All the best
    Thomas

    • We appreciate you passing on ideas for us in the Med Thomas. We do plant to go next year but our interests will be to go to less busy areas and Croatia has been looking like a very good candidate. I’m not in love with the boating in the massive crowds experienced in the busiest areas of the med during the summer. Hopefully with some skill and some advice like yours, we’ll find some of the less crowded places during the busiest parts of the year.

  14. Eric Patterson says:

    J and J, The nice thing about Dirona if ever sold the kitchen has very little wear and tear! :) The Hamilton’s should become restaurant critics!

    • We go through periods where we are eating out every night but we also go through periods where we go weeks and sometimes even a couple of months without seeing civilization. We spent 28 days at sea from St. Helena to Barbados and where out in the “wilds” for 7 weeks through Fiordland and Stuart Island in New Zealand. We seem to swing from one end of the spectrum to the other and we love them both.

      • Eric Patterson says:

        Lynn and I are jealous, the restaurants and scenery in Sweden are exceptional, our highlight of the evening is checking in on your blog. My wife has family in Sweden and we are so excited to cruise there. Safe travels and better get moving South. I hear snow has arrived in Scandinavia.

        • Thanks for the feedback on the blog Eric. Your right, the temperatures are falling here. This morning it’s only 49F out there but, the good news is that everything is much less crowded. We end up preferring the shoulder season on either side of the busiest times when we are exploring new areas but we’re probably down to our last week or two in Sweden. Overall, we’re really enjoyed our time here.

  15. WILLIAM DOMB says:

    We change the hydraulic system zincs ever 6 months, but they’ve hardly needed it recently. We used to replace them every two months, and they really needed replacement. Our suspicion is the variation is caused by zinc quality differences.

    Wonder if it’s also lower temps that are changing zinc lifespan. Also: is it a GOOD thing that zincs are not self-destructing as rapidly, as, maybe, they’re not providing the sacrificial anodic protection as well. ?????

    • I’m thinking it’s not likely sea water temp related issues since we spent out first 2 1/2 years in the Pacific Northwest where water temperatures are lower than in the Baltic. We’re currently anchored in 56F water and in the PNW, we were often in the low to mid 40F range and still had heavy hydraulic zinc consumption.

      The level of protection they are offering could be lower or they could just be better zincs. Another possible factor is the Baltic region is very low sea water salinity and we have spent many weeks in pure freshwater where zinc anodes are less effective.

  16. Eric Davis says:

    Anchor setup?
    What is your anchoring setup. Size, types, chain size, scope? Do you use bow and stern? How were anchoring conditions in an around the Baltic?

    Enjoying your blog. We’re Americans based in Groningen Netherlands on a larger boat and thinking of eventually heading into the Baltic.

    Eric Davis

    • For primary anchor we use a Rocna 70 kg (154 lb). We have 500′ of 7/16 hi test chain. Our backup anchor is a 42 lb Guardian (aluminum, large area Danforth that is light but quite big) with 450′ rope rode and 50′ of chain. On the stern we have another 42 lb Guardian. On our previous boat we both stern tied to shore and stern anchored but in this boat we don’t frequently do either but we are equipped to do it. We’re well equipped for deep anchorages so usually don’t find it hard to find something we like that is out of the most crowded locations so we find we don’t need to tie to shore or stern anchor frequently. Generally the Baltic has son many great anchorages in fairly shallow water and, on this trip, we’ve rarely had more than 200′ of rode out and often are down in the 100′ to 125′. We a bit conservative on scope and typically have 4 or 5 to 1 out and we just about never use less than 100′ if it’s shallow so at times in super shallow water we might be using as much as 10:1. In very deep water we’ll drop back to 3:1 but don’t usually go lower even though we know that many that use Rocnas with similar chain have good results at far lower scopes.

      Most boaters in Sweden seem to anchor using a stern anchor and then tying their bow to shore. This allows them to step off the bow onto shore so they don’t need a dinghy. It only works where there are no tides but on the Baltic side the tides are so small you can safely ignore them. Because locals favor anchoring right against shore, there are usually ample room to anchor.

  17. Joe Longtin says:

    The Dirona crew REALLY knows how to get the most out of a cruise. I can only hope to see half as much at any of my destinations!

  18. Steven Coleman says:

    Hello James,
    If you post the manufacturer and model of your freezer so I have a better idea of what you are dealing with, I might have more suggestions.

    Generally a freezer that is not keeping temp esp. when it’s had a history of “airflow or loading issues” is going to be a bad evaporator fan motor, dirty evaporator, bad condenser fan motor, dirty condenser, or improper or non-functional defrost cycle.

    I know you have a small chest freezer in your Laz, but I can’t tell from the pic if it’s that or something else.

    If it’s that one, it could have a start relay going bad, weak reed valves in the compressor (that’s a recip. in the picture) from years of operation in high ambient conditions or loss of charge (it doesn’t take much on small units) from something rubbing a hole due to vibration. It will quit cooling completely rather soon if that’s the case though.

    Something that small is not going to have service ports which, considering the amount of charge I wouldn’t use anyway as you’ll lose some just from hooking up. The manifold I use can be up to 9 oz of refrigerant if I am unable to get it all back into the system (you never can).

    Since temp=pressure you can still find compression ratio to check the valves and get a very good idea on charge status with an electronic thermometer.

    Sorry for the non-specific info dump, but without knowing what you are looking at that’s all I know to suggest.

    • Hey Steve, thanks for your thoughts. The freezer is a Dometic RSF-115E and it uses a tiny Danfoss comporessor. The system is back to -8.7F which is around what it always did at this ambient temperature so I think it’s back to happy. What I found was the condenser and cooling fan was quite dirty. I cleaned both and found the system worked well once the condensor was cleaned. In fact, it even worked OK with the fan not running once the condenser was cleaned. Cleaning the fan has got it back to full RPM but I sometimes can hear the bearings so I know it’s not long for this world and, after 10 years on a muffin fan, it’s probably no surprise that it needs to be replaced. I’ll change the fan once I get a new one but, other than that, it seems to be back to working well.

      You’re right the system doesn’t have ports. It’s a good idea to use temperature as a proxy for pressures. I’ll add that to my AC diagnostics list. In this case I didn’t measure the deltaT but the hot side is very hot.

      I’ll change the fan when I get a chance but, at this point, it seems to be working again at max efficiency. Thanks for the advice hear and all the recommendations over the years. Much appreciated.

  19. Svend Bjelland says:

    Hi.
    I have been following your site with great interest for the couple of last years or so, and I am impressed by the work you have done, and the journey you have been on. And, I have to say; A bit jealous! A Nordhavn is high up on my wish list… I now see that you are nearing my home waters and is wondering if you are planing to visit Oslo? If so I would be happy to give you advice on things to se and do. Our current boat, a Nord West 370, has its home port in the outer Oslo fjord, And I live and work in the Oslo area.

    • Thanks for the kind words on the blog and the trip. We continue to head north but we’re not sure if we’ll make it as far as Oslo at this point. It depends a bit on how busy we stay in the islands but, if we do have time, we will head back up to Norway and enjoy some more time in your country. We had an excellent summer there last year. If we do end up in Oslo, drop us a note and we’ll be happy to show you around Dirona since you have an interest in Nordhavns.

  20. Eric Patterson says:

    J and J, Lynn and I were interested in going back and reviewing your entire blog. It appears the “Travel Digests” have a complete timeline with the pictures, etc. Is this parsed or is it complete and is this the best way to review your times on Dirona? Btw; 6081 is out of the mold! We are likely headed to Asia end of this year to early next to see in person. Meanwhile headed to Ft Lauderdale this Fall for the boat show. Exciting times.

    • Yes, the travel digests (https://mvdirona.com/maps/TravelDigestList.html) are complete and include all trips except the one currently underway. That probably is the right way to see all the content.

      Congratulations on N6081 being molded and underway. You’ll enjoy the trip to the yard. It’s a massive place, your boat will at times have 30 people on it with work underway in every nook and cranny, and things take shape super fast.

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