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  • Lake Malaren

    Lake Malaren is the third largest in Sweden, stretching 64 nm west from Stockholm. The lake is ...

  • Stockholm

    From late June to early August, we spent a fabulous five weeks at Wasahamnen marina in downtown ...

  • Two Weeks in Seattle

    In mid-July, we made our annual summer trip to Seattle for James to participate in a multi-week ...

  • Historic Steamship Tour

    In our 28th Technology Series episode, we tour the historic steamships SS Savonlinna and SS ...

  • Drottningholm

    Drottningholm Palace on the island of Lovon was completed in the late 1600s during ...

  • Vasamuseet

    In 1628, the warship Vasa set off from Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town, on its maiden ...

  • Kungliga Slottet

    The 608-room Royal Palace Kungliga Slottet was completed in the mid-1700s and still is the ...

  • Scania Site Visit

    In the 27th edition of our Technology Series, we visit the Scania manufacturing plant at ...

  • Round Gotland Race

    The Round Gotland Race, formally know as the AF Offshore Race, has traditionally started and ...

  • Gamla Stan

    The island of Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s old town, dating from the 13th century. The ...

  • Stockholm Arrival

    We arrived into our berth at Wasahamnen in Stockholm, our home for the next few weeks, after a ...

  • Vaxholm

    Vaxholm Fortress was built in 1544 to protect Stockholm from naval attack, and repelled a ...

  • Return to Sweden

    We returned to Sweden from Uto, Finland six weeks after we’d departed for Aland and ...

  • Uto

    Uto is right at the southwest tip of Finland, and a natural place for a military base. The ...

  • The Scenic Route

    From the Aland Islands, we’d run fairly directly to Helsinki and then on to the Saimma ...

  • Great Saimaa Lakes

    Some of the best places we have visited in our cruise around the world were destinations we ...

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General questions & comments
  1. Rodney H Sumner says:

    James
    Happy birthday greetings (albeit a little late) on reaching another 0 milestone!
    If our paths cross (I certainly hope they do!) I would love to buy you a beer as part of your world wide ‘pub crawl”

    • András Kővári says:

      Hope you had a happy B-day James, did not realize we share that special day!
      The beer is on me as well if your boat gets into scenic Delft in Holland! please pass by and say hello!

      • Happy birthday to you as well Andras. We did visit Delft last year (https://mvdirona.com/2019/02/delft-nl/) and we had a truly exceptional time. This winter we will be back in Amsterdam and will likely be exploring by train from that wonderfully convenient hub. Thanks for the offer of a beer if we pass through Delft again. And, if you are going to find yourself in Amsterdam over the winter, let us know.

    • Thanks for the birthday greeting Rod. I’ll rarely turn down a beer and an interesting discussion on boating or engineering.

  2. Eric Patterson says:

    Happy B’day James. You are very fortunate to have been doing your cruising for this long. I just asked James Leishman what the average age was for entry into Nordhavn and he said about 60. I will be 55 when we start and I feel like I have waited too long.

    • Thanks Eric and I agree with you. I wish we had started boating earlier. And, if we had started earlier, I would probably still wish we had started earlier.

      It’s been a great adventure and you are going to have a ball with your new boat.

  3. Rodney H Sumner says:

    James:
    Plastic bags snagging on outdrives/outboards, sadly, is becoming more common. In an incident a few years ago a bag snagged our outdrive and prevented proper cooling. The only way I was alerted to this situation was a fairly rapid rise in engine temperature. I hate to think of the possible damage from an engine overheating! There was no performance difference. This is why I like to have an engine temperature gauge.
    Rod Sumner

  4. Jody Compton says:

    Your knowledge of excel is tremendous, would you guys be interested in helping me create/alter your spreed sheets for facility maintenance stuff? Im a facility manager in Brandon MS and looking to track equipment repairs and maintenance on things like HVAC, generators, preventive maintenance contracts, etc.
    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    Please reply with email, just happen to find this site during a ramdom search.

    Jody Compton

    • If you you have a question or two on the spreadsheet, post them here and we’ll answer them. But, the spreadsheet is designed for boat maint so you would need to be able to make the changes needed to adapt to your facilities management needs.

    • Eric Patterson says:

      Jody, there are freelance sites that have many persons who do Excel spreadsheets. Also, there are quite a few specialized facility management DBS programs on the market. Good Luck!

  5. Peter Merritt says:

    In preparation for taking delivery of N5279 in April next year, Jenny and I attended the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria (Australia) “Practical Navigation” course a few weekends ago. The homework assignment was to plan a passage from Manley Brisbane to Urangan, including crossing the Wide Bay Bar.
    This assignment has added interest for me given I had previously read of the experiences of Dirona attempting this crossing.
    I will be taking extra care on this part of the passage plan!

  6. Eric Patterson says:

    James, I noticed for the first time Dirona has a bow eye. What was your reason for installing and do you ever use it for anchoring ?

    • We installed it for towing and thought we would use it for anchoring. We’ve never needed it for the former and never used it for the later but I still kind of like it even though it’s never been used.

      • Peter Merritt says:

        Interesting. I debated in my mind whether to include this option for N5279 as the cost is not minor and I was questioning when it would be used. I elected to include the option thinking the most likely use was for anchoring. I also agree with James (having been a small boat person) that it just looks ok.

  7. Gary Weiner says:

    Computer software damage, hangup associated with UPS may be attributed to surge, a spike. I recall a U.S. company in New Jersey called Zero Surge, making claims for their very heavy surge protector, a brick of copper & big slug capacitors using a feed forward design to arrest surges, that U.S. Government made a specification for their surge arrestors, based on personnel losses associated with introduction of power surge to electronic control, monitoring equipment. I read into this further and became a believer. MOVs or metal oxide varistors are sacrificial components, they keep wearing out bit by bit from surges they successfully arrest while the UPS side or the power strip continues to pump energy – so, we consumers think “it still works”. Yes, it does, but it is not providing the level of protection it once had. APC UPS is great product as UPS, and I not only live by them, am happy to replace battery cells on them as well, but I also run in series these ZeroSurge arresters and have not had any blown NIC cards, no blown anythings or weird digital occurrences either in very long time, years. Clean, flat power is under rated in the ecosystem….I am believer.

    • I’m not sure what happened to the small APC UPS we use. When it failed, we weren’t on the grid but the generator was on. I didn’t see any evidence of a surge nor was any other equipment damaged. My speculation is that this failure was not surge related.

  8. Henry Wikström says:

    Hi Jennifer And James.
    I saw your lovely N52 in Bergs slussar tied at the first lock. Unfortunately u both had taken your little dinghy
    out for a spin on the lake. It had been fun to speak to u both about your journey around the world and of course about the N52.
    Now i have seen a Nordhavn for reel and acquisitiveness for a Nordhavn have just increased 100%.
    Have nice trip in the future and i will follow your trip :)
    Best regards Henry

  9. WILLIAM DOMB says:

    re Lenovo not rebooting readily: one trick is to completely clear memory by completely unplugging and then hitting the start button a few times. Some even recommend ten times. For us, it usually works with two or three.

    Then plug back in and it usually starts up with no issues.

    • I know systems moderately well and I can’t figure out what the issue would be but the system definitely didn’t start the boot cycle until we had tried cycling the power the third time. My speculation was there had been a windows update that hadn’t yet applied. I have seen it very slow to show the splash screen in the past. Whatever the cause, we’ll keep your solution in mind. We are pretty dependent upon that system so we need it stable.

      Thanks for your suggestions.

  10. Malcolm Dale says:

    Strange figures showing in the trip statistics this morning (0800 Melb Aust). E.G. Av Speed 1160.32 Kts , 2877.60 nm/gal.

  11. Rodney H Sumner says:

    James:
    Beware the ‘lure’ of a SS prop. While possibly given better performance the risk of major engine damage is very high. If you hit a rock while using one, damage is much greater than with an aluminum prop because SS props do NOT bend/shear.

    While using a SS prop I managed to twist the coupling splines all the way up through a Mercruiser Alpha 1 outdrive all the way up to the engine coupler – 3 sets in all! Very expensive lesson

    On the other hand aluminum props bend/break easily minimizing any damage. Needless to say I only run aluminum props in the 1000 Islands where rocks abound

    Also how/when do you record the extensive notes for your photos? Your discipline in this regard is very impressive

    Happy cruising

    Rod

    • Yes, that’s the main reason I’ve always avoided going to stainless steel props. We like to explore tight and often uncharted places in the tender and we hit bottom frequently. Replacing an aluminum prop annually at $100 each isn’t a big problem but gear or spline damage would be a huge issue. I’ll continue the experiment for another few trips but the early results are that the boat runs 32 kts with the stainless steel prop and it ran 32 kts with aluminum. It doesn’t appear to make a measurable difference to the overall speed but there is a difference. Maximum RPM with the stainless prop is down 250 RPM. Presumably extra blade stiffness holds an effective higher pitch under load so max RPM is slightly lower. So, the impact of stiffer blades can be seen in slightly lower WOT RPM. But, since the overall speed doesn’t appear changed, I may switch back to Aluminum to reduce overall mechanical risk when striking unyielding objects.

      I’ll give it some more time to see if the results reported above are stable but, if they are and the speed isn’t improved, I’l switch back to aluminum. In fact, I’m might switch back no matter what in a couple of weeks and use the SS prop as a spare. Thanks for passing along your experience.

      The trick to writing up the pictures on the blog is to do it right when it happens. If we can write it up within a day or two, it’s far easier to recall the details. The later we are in writing it up, the more difficult. The biggest challenge for us is finding the time to write them up. We like having the trip record, we love sharing our experiences, but it is often hard to squeeze in writing time and it’s super easy to fall behind.

  12. Don Magie says:

    Hi James/Jennifer. Your journey looks fantastic. We are hanging out in Montenegro/Croatia for the summer … well mostly me really as Jinhee is still working.

    Jinhee will be in Sweden early next month, I don’t know that I will go with her, but perhaps. How long are you staying in Stockholm?

    • Hey Don. It sounds like your time in the Med has been enjoyable. We’ll probably be heading that way next year.

      We’ll be leaving Stockholm this Friday so we’ll probably miss Jinhee on this trip but, if either of you pass through Amsterdam this winter, we’ll be there and it would be great to catch up.

      • Don Magie says:

        Thanks, I would like to catch up too. We are likely going to ship Home Free back to the US or Caribbean this winter. Jinhee is going to work for a while yet it appears so I would like to get the boat closer to home . . .

        While I was prepared to cross on the boat this spring, there is too much confusion in our lives currently and so my normal confidence is being sapped by distractions and I won’t start the journey that way. Shipping takes a lot less focus :)

        We will certainly find you if we are in the NW of the continent this winter. Enjoy your passage on the way back South.

        • Probably the right call not to take it back across the Atlantic if you don’t have time to focus on it and help to do the trip. We’ll winter in Amsterdam so, if you do a pass through Europe, considering stopping by.

  13. Michael Tibbetts says:

    JUST WONDERING WHERE YOU GOT THE GLASS STORM PANELS, AND THE DEADLIGHT PANELS FROM?

    • The storm plates where supplied as an option by the boat manufacturer Nordhavn. But, they can be easily fabricated by any plastics shop for any boat where the window frames have mount points for external panels.

      The deadlights are a standard offering made by the manufacturer of the port lights.

  14. Jakob Wisnewski says:

    Hi Guys,
    Enjoy following your travels. Should you on your way back to Denmark pass through Copenhagen. I can recommend to stop by in the small habour of Dragør. It’s an old fishing village and I would love to show you around.

  15. Eric Patterson says:

    James, I poked around your site and couldn’t find it. Have you ever detailed your electronics package? Kind of curious curious for your choices for radar, chart plotters, software, etc. I’m right in the thick of making choices and trying to decide if I will use a mix of Furuno and Garmin and probably doing my own custom Maretron like system. Ft. Lauderdale show will be my deciding timeline.

    • Yes, we probably should write up our electronics choices. We have a PC (the nav computer) running TimeZero with two screens and a Furuno NavNet3d MFDBB supporting the two other screens. All four screens can be replicated below in the MSR or in the Salon. Maretron runs on the navcomputer and it’s using 1 of the two screens leaving the other to TimeZero. We use Timezero because it can share charts at no extra charge with the Furuno system. Also from Furuno, we have a DRS25A 25KW RADAR with a 6′ open array and a DRS6A with a 4′ open array. For location we have a Furuno SC-30 sat compass and multiple seperate GPS systems on both NN3D and the NMEA2000 network. We also have a magnetic heading system that, when combined with a GPS can backup the SC-30. We have two ICOM M604 VHF in the PH and other VHF around the boat. We have a EPIRB and a couple of personal EPIRB. The tender has VHF and AIS as well. We use Lenovo L1900P monitors rather than Marine specialised units (1/10th the cost).

      Up top in the fly bridge we have a Furuno MFD8 and will use a tablet as well repeating the lower stations. We have 3 help stations with the PH, Fly bridge, and aft in the cockpit. We also use a YachtCommander remote control since we don’t have room for wing stations. I would prefer wing stations but the remote serves well.

      10 years later it’s all running well. We had one VHF radio failure and the Furuno 25kw RADAR started to show errors at 10,000 hours and so it’ll be replaced this year. Generally Magnetron’s are good for 10,000 hours so this is largely expected.

      • Eric Patterson says:

        Nordhavn is so backlogged! I can hardly stand it, lol. At this point were about 3 months behind as it is. Who knows what changes will be in electronics by the time… Follow up, do you run a wireless local area network? I am really hoping to use my iPad or Phone connected to the local wireless while in bed, etc to check status of navigation and systems. I do like your idea of a monitor by the bed, etc but maybe on my tablet will be more flexible. Also, do you use a cellular modem such as pepwave? I know you use sims in your phone but do you also do a strictly data modem? The google Fi looks interesting.

        • Yes, we have a boat-wide wireless (and wired network) that is connected to three WAN ports and the router automatically chooses the least expensive connection problem and the boat is always connected somehow. In the usual configuration the three WAN ports are: 1) V7hts, 2) Cellular SIM#1, and 3) Cellular SIM#2. When there is good WiFi in the area, we go with: 1) V7hts, 2) Cell SIM#1, and 3) WiFi. Given how low cost cell data is and given how poor most marina WiFi is, we normally just run with two cell data options and we use it for everything including streaming live sports and movies.

          We considered having dedicated data SIMs for the router and having done that in past years but we have come to like a model where we have two cell phones and the system just automaticaly hooks up to the cell phones when they are near and uses them. The way it’s set up, don’t need to do anything. If the cell phone is close, the system will use it. If it leaves the area, the system will use a another form of connectivity.

          This sort of configuration can be built using Peplink. What we have done is a bit more flexibile and is based upon an open source DD-WRT stack running on a Netgear R7000 which is very flexible and allows us to super interesting things like having special VPNs into the boat for external access and special monitoring. But, you can do most of this with Peplink. We have a spare R7000 with the full software stack on it so, if we had a failure, we would just unplug one and plug in the spare.

          We like Google Fi and have come close to using it but find that getting local SIMs gives better bandwidth and it’s easy to get the 10s of gig we use a month where Fi really doesn’t like you operating in a permanent roaming mode. So far, we have found local SIMs better value, high sustained bandwidth without limit up while we use 30 or 40g a month. If we did use Fi, it would probably be “in addition two” rather than as a substitute for what we are currently doing.

          Good luck on your build.

  16. Reijo Nieminen says:

    You mentioned the Åland islands to be are outside the EU customs zone.
    Finnish customs website has more detailed information:
    The Åland Islands are included in the customs territory of the EU, but not in the fiscal territory of the EU

    https://tulli.fi/en/about-us/our-activities/eu-customs-and-fiscal-territory
    https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/vat/eu-vat-rules-topic/territorial-status-eu-countries-certain-territories_en

    Ministry for Foreing Affaies of Filnland website
    https://um.fi/the-special-status-of-the-aland-islands

  17. Bruce Carlile says:

    Have you thought of publishing a cruising guide for the U.K. and Scandinavia from your trip? Thank you.

    • We did publish a cruising guide for the west coast of British Columbia Canada: https://mvdirona.com/WaggonerSecretCoast/index.html. It was fun to do the book but it takes as much time as the blog and all the required work tends to get concentrated in big pushes. We have switched over to the blog where we can publish as we go. We like being able to publish in near real time, we appreciate the help from locals that know from our blog that we’re in their area and make recommendations on places we should go. For example, before reaching Australia, we hadn’t even heard of the amazing Kimberley region (https://mvdirona.com/category/destinations/australia/kimberley/). We also like being able to post real time boat location and the boat track (https://mvdirona.com/maps/). The blog also allows a greater diversity of topics that range from mechanical systems, through cruising destinations, steam engine trips, and even factory visits all over the world.

      If a publisher got interested in doing a book based upon material from the blog and we thought there was a market for it, we might do it.

      • Bruce Carlile says:

        Thank you James for your response. What sort of cruising guides (if any) are you using for your current exploration?

        Secondly, are you planning an east-to-west transatlantic crossing or will you ship the boat ?

        Thank you!

  18. Tom Walker says:

    James,
    Months ago you mentioned putting reflective tape on the rotating radar array. I think this is a brilliant (pun intended) idea and have purchased the 3M tape (from a Seattle source that begins with A). In mentioning this to a fellow technical oriented friend, he wondered if the reflective nature of the tape interferes with the radar function? I am sure you thought of this. Comments? Thanks for the time you spent on your fascinating site.

  19. Eric Patterson says:

    If you haven’t already visit the Vasa museum in Stockholm. Probably my favorite museum in the world. My wife’s family made us also a very simple meal of fresh pickled herring, small boiled potatoes and boiled eggs. I ate a ton of that fish. We would go to the wharf and buy it just recently pickled and never canned.

  20. erwin says:

    Hello Jennifer and James
    I have read your story in the magazine motorboot today. What a story wauw !!!
    I live in Nederland in the north and have also a little boot. I will follow your journey now on your website.
    Have a good time and enjoy

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