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  1. Marc Onetto says:

    Just read about your crossing into Russia to use the canal. Great it went well. it must be a bit frightening. Hope your return goes smoothly. I am arrived In Stockholm. See you next week

    • Hey Marc. Good hearing from you. We’re just passing through the last set of locks in Russia and will be back out in the Baltic in a couple of hours. We’ll clear back into Finland around 7:30 this evening.

      See you in Stockholm in a few days.

  2. Welcome to Kuopio. We are admiring your beautiful ship from our balcony. Hope you have a pleasant stay.

    • Thanks for the hospitality. We’ve only been here for 8 1/2 hours and we have already managed to walk all over town and visit the Puijo tower to enjoy the view and walk around the sky jumps. We’re enjoying Kuopio.

  3. Kimberley and Eric King says:

    My husband and I are interested in living and cruising on a Nordhavn. We are exploring a 47 or 52 Nordhavn. We are currently trying to put together our numbers to determine how to make this dream possible. We are interested in information on monthly expenses. Is there a place in your blog that discusses your ongoing expenses? If not, would you be willing to share that information. We are very inspired by your journey. Thank you.

    • Congratulations on getting close to what will be an adventure of a lifetime. What it costs is a super hard one to nail because it’s up to you. We know people that travel on something close to 1/2 million dollars a year and, in our travels, we’ve met people that are travelling at less than $30k per year. We saw smiles on the faces of both couples. There boats were not identical, they didn’t both fly back and forth from the US all the time, one didn’t use marinas much, restaurants were rare for 1, and the division between do-it-themselves vs for-fee was very different. It really depends on how you live, what you expect, what’s important to you, and the resources you have available.

      An often quoted number is to assume 10% of the current value of the boat and use that to cover all boat related and boating expenses. Most people I know feel this is much higher than it should be and use a lower number. For us the number might be slightly higher only because I work full time so maintain a lot of expensive communications options that work doesn’t pay for and I’m also responsible for all travel (which we view as a boating expense) which some years can run up quite a bit some years. The boat it’s self is reliable and the components are remarkably durable. We use our boat a ton and have 10,400 hours on the main, 5,800 hours on the gen, and 960 hours on the wing. All are in great shape. The boat is structurally super strong and it’ll never wear out. Major components are good quality and wear very well. The boat is servicable so, when parts do need changing, it can be done at reasonable effort. We value our time fairly highly so we have a lot of spares on board and one of the reasons why we run so many hours a year is we never are waiting for service, waiting for parts, or trying to fix something that is blocking the trip.

      Generally the 47/52 series are excellent small boats and are unlikely to provide with many surprise expenses. You can adjust your expenses by doing things yourself even when it’s complex and frustrating, and by minimizing your moorage costs by anchoring out or choosing less expensive location, and you can control your insurance costs by adjusting where you go. Our recommendation is to chose the smallest boat that will do what you want, make sure it’s big enough to keep you happy since one of the most expensive parts of boating is changing boats, make sure you have the resources to cover the boat you buy and avoid the temptation to buy bigger than you need only to be constrained by the costs of maintaining the boat. It’s about the trip not the boat. Remember even boats as small as the N40 has been around the world and they include all the same features and heavy construction.

      Good luck on what should be an exciting journey.

  4. Eric Patterson says:

    J and J, check in on the blog every day. So we are planning level detection on the fresh, grey and black via some form of pressure transmitter (maretron, etc) but also plan on leaving the Nordhavn Dometic standard in for redundancy (although I may mount these in the N60 util room. My question is did you install the transmitter in a stilling tube or just let it rest on the bottom? I am not clear from my discussion with Nord what I should do in preparation for this. I will post this possibly on NOG although being that you retrofitted I have specific interest in your opinion.

    • We did much the same thing in that we left the standard Nordhavn gauges (in our case TankWatch4) in place and redundantly installed Maretron. For the black water sensor, we just let it rest on the bottom of the tank. We chose to mount on technical gear for measurement, reporting, etc. in the PH on the argument that it’s best to have it all central and available there.

      I suspect our black water pressure sensor will need cleaning every couple of years but it hasn’t been required yet. The grey and freshwater are still the TLM100 ultrasonic guages. They have been very reliable but, if I was to need to install new ones, I would go with the in-the-tank pressure sensor as we are using in the black water tank.

  5. Murray Birch says:


    We have also had very good reliability from our Tecma toilets. What were the symptoms when the clear tubing failed?

    Murray Birch N6303

    • Yes, Tecma heads are the best I’ve ever seen. The only fault we have seen in 10 years is that hose plugs up. The symptoms are the bowl not always fully draining. What happens is the water that would be at the back of the bowl after flushing flows down through the hose leaving the bowl and piping above the pump/macerator dry. The water that flows below sits in the pump/macerator so it starts pumping quickly.

      If you see water left in the bottom and it’s repeatable, that’s probably the issue Murray.

  6. andrea kirsh says:

    Hello, my husband Bill and I are the owners of Nordhavn 4061. We love your website and blog entries and have followed you for quite some time. We are going to be in Helsinki (not by boat) on June 11 and would love to take you to dinner.

    • We would love to but got underway this morning for Finland’s Lake Saima region so we’ll miss you as you pass through Helsinki. But we appreciate the offer and, of course, if you do find yourselves passing through the same city in the future, let us know.

  7. Karen says:

    I was mystified by Linnahall when we visited Tallinn. I thought maybe it was just too expensive to tear down. All that concrete. Your info that it has heritage status is illuminating, but if the state or city gave it that designation, surely they could revoke it. Obviously nobody loves it. Enjoying your Baltic postings, it’s one of my favourite itineraries.

    • Hey Karen. We’re still trying to visit a location where you haven’t proceeded us :-).

      On Linnahall, I suspect it’s a classic case where one arm of the government is putting up obstructions making it difficult for another. In this case the national Ministry of Culture making it more difficult for the Tallinn city government. I’ts an amazingly large structure given how small the seating capacity is within. Arguably not a great design and definitely an shining example of Soviet era construction quality.

      We’re heading to St. Petersburg towards the end of this week and, later in the month, we’ll be taking the boat through Russia to get into the Lake Saimaa region of Finland.

      • Karen says:

        So, we will have preceded you in St Petersburg but not Lake Saimaa. We are doing a short road trip in Quebec with Neil and Jackie later this summer. Too bad you are not on the St Lawrence…

  8. Stephen Walker-Weinshenker says:

    With regards to your I2C voltage drop problems, you might consider utilizing a pair of p82b96 i2c voltage translator chips. they can handle up to 15V supply voltage and can even operate in a multi drop bus configuration like i2c but at the higher voltage. Compatible versions are sold by TI and NXP, and at least TI sells it in a DIP form factor which should make for easy integration.

    hope it helps

    • I hadn’t seen that part. Thanks for the advice. With the improved power and ground changes I made, the system is working reliably under all conditions except when the main engine is running. When it’s running, I get I2C I/O errors but the system still functions so it’s not as anoying. I’ve not yet investigated this but I suspect I have SDA/SCL running beside the control lines for the remote alternator regulators. If that is the issue, I can reroute the lines and likely avoid the issue entirely.

      Thanks for pointing out the voltage translator chips. It’s always nice to have another tool available when pushing signaling limits.

  9. Dumitru H. says:

    Did you guys get a European “Boat Operator License” for navigating in EU waters? Do you know if it is required? Cheers and thanks!

    • No we didn’t get a European Operator License. Generally when travelling in foreign waters, you need to comply with the regulations of your flag state. There is no requirement for any education in the US but we do have Washington State Boater Education cards and, if asked, we show this credential and thus far it’s been acceptable.

    • jan-kees says:

      I am not sure what you mean with European Bat Operator License…
      Do you mean an ICC ( International Certificate of Competence) ? An ICC can only be obtained in your country of residence and the US, Canada etc. are not part of the signatory. The ICC is only valid when a country has decided to sign the treaty.
      Then for Inland water ways, you also need CEVNI endorsement. But just like James wrote, the licensing of your flag state counts.
      On the inland waterways, the police usually lets you get away with it, especially with a cup of coffee offeres, your boat in good shape, and you can provide them with some more documentation, as log books etc

  10. Jim Stwert says:

    Haven’t read you mentioning so I’m assuming that English is a common enough language that it hasn’t been an issue with you? Also, you haven’t mentioned having security issues, either at sea or in port.

    • Language isn’t a problem in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, or the Netherlands. Communications are range from excellent to sufficient and we rarely aren’t able to communicate. Menus in smaller centers are often not available in English but it’s usually possible to figure them out and there is usually someone on staff that can help if needed. Germany and France can be more challenging but we always seem to get by without issue.

      Security in the Nordic countries appears excellent with little problem. In Norway, many don’t lock their cars but warn that you shouldn’t do that in Oslo. In the Netherlands, outside of Amsterdam, many bikes aren’t even locked. in Amsterdam the bikes have massive chains, are sometimes double locked, and even then theft is still a problem. All small boats are locked as was ours in Amsterdam. Big cities all over the world require more security but even the big cities we have been visiting of late seem pretty safe. In Sweden, Aland, and Finland, we haven’t even been locking the tender but we will in Helsinki and Stockholm.

      Generally communications have been excellent over the few years of our trip and security hasn’t been a problem.

  11. Dave Jensson says:

    Just a good read on trawler/tugs. From where I grew up, Thought you might find it interesting.

  12. Dr. Jürgen D. Berndt says:

    Dear Mrs. and Mr. Hamilton,
    according to your nice reports you have passed the Kiel Canal twice – but without a stopover in Kiel, capital city of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. When finishing your trip in the Baltic Sea, you will have to decide where you want to leave this area:
    1. Round Skagen (most northern point of Denmark) or
    2. through the Kiel Canal or
    3. via Szczecin (Poland), then river Oder or canal (Hohensaaten-Friedrichsthaler Wasserstraße) to Hohensaaten/Germany (lock) and then german inland waterways with destinations as Elbe (Hamburg), Weser (Bremen) or Rhine (further to Netherlands, Belgium or France).
    The Lübeck-Elbe-canal is too shallow for Dirona: max. draft only 2,00 m, max. height of vessel: 4,40 m.
    If you choose the Kiel Canal I recommend a stopover in Kiel. Berth and TV-interview can be arranged as well as sightseeing in and around Kiel. in favorable weather conditions we can meet in daylight at the Kiel lighthouse and guide you into the harbor or a marina.
    Best impressions you can get at the International Kiel Week (June 22 to June 30 2019; more information: . But this depends on your timetable.
    Would be nice to hear from you.
    Kind regards,

    • The idea of going from the Baltic to the Netherlands via canal is exciting but when we investigate we find the combination of needing 2.1m of water draft and just under 9M of air draft just barely fails on most of the longer routes. If we could find one that works, we would likely do it. Failing that we’ll either do the Kiel Canal or the around Denmark. Likely the Kiel unless we decide to head up to Oslo Norway for some time toward the end of the norther cruising season.

      We were planning to go to Kiel this spring by stopping at the dock just outside the Canal on the Kiel side and busing or taxing into the town center. But we found the docks with sufficient depth for us had been damaged by storm and the others lacked the depth we needed. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to stop in to visit on our return trip. Perhaps by arranging for moorage downtown in Kiel itself. I think we would enjoy it. Thanks for the offer of hospitality in Kiel and for the suggestions. We are interested in visiting.

      • Carsten Overgaard says:

        Hi Jennifer and James.
        At first: Thank you for sharing your journey. I saw you sail through Grønsund in the fog, but I did’nt have the time to go to Klintholm, to see you and your lovely ship. Have you considered to go through the Göta Kanal across Sweden: It closes sep. 29 th, may be too early for your return?
        Wish you all well. Carsten.

        • Sorry to miss you in Klintholm. We had a great visit there. We do plan to do a pass through the Gota Kanal just before they close towards the end of the year. Thanks for the suggestion.

  13. Stuart Martin says:

    Hi james and Jennifer

    Given your recent travels, does Norway officially fall outside of the European Union Customs Union for the purposes of resetting the EU Temporary Import clock for a private vessel?

    We are Canadian citizens and residents but also hold British and Irish citizenship as I was born in the UK and both of our grandfathers were born in the Republic of Ireland. Our Nordhavn would be registered in Canada but I can also register it in the UK although it seems that the TI rules require an owner who holds residency outwith the EU and seems to also suggest that the vessel be registered outside the Eu as well.

    Thank you very much

    Stuart and Liz

    • Lucky you to have Irish citizenship. My having British/EU citizenship has been wonderful in allowing us to move freely about the Schengen area. It will be sad to lose that with Brexit. I do have Irish ancestors, but too far back for citizenship :(. If you don’t have them already, I’d recommend you get your Irish passports on the early side as they’re really backed up with Brexit.

      Yes, Norway does fall outside of the EU Customs zone for resetting the temporary import clock. There actually are a few places within the EU proper that have special status and reset the clock as well, such as Heligoland in Germany, Aland Islands in Finland and Channel Islands in the UK. Technically you just need to go to sea in order to reset the clock, but we prefer to have some evidence of being outside the EU Customs zone if possible.


      • Bruce Beckman says:

        Jennifer, is James able to benefit from your British/EU citizenship for long term stays in the Schengen areas? My wife is a German citizen and i’ve always wondered how that worked.

        • Bruce,

          Yes. EU and Schengen member state citizens have right of free movement within the Schengen area and this applies to any family members accompanying or joining them. Any time that James spends in the Schengen area travelling with me does not count on his Schengen clock. This would apply to you as well if you travel with your wife in the Schengen area.

          When we cross in and out of the Schengen area, we both go to the EU line together and I carry and present both my British passport and James’ US passport to the immigration officer. James’ passport must be stamped on Schengen entry/exit because he is a non EU-citizen, but mine isn’t because EU citizen’s passports aren’t stamped by law.


  14. jochen brecht says:

    4/18/2019: Cellina

    Modern Sailing Yachts have deep going rudders in the very back of their stern. They just want to prevent their rudders to hit the rocks. With their bow instead they can get very close to the rocks and even jump on the land.

    Yours very interested reader
    Jochen Brecht, Hamburg

    • That makes sense. Thanks Jochen.

      • Mikael Hvinlund says:

        You are cruising with great efficiency through the Stockholm archipelago. You have dotted the finest places in the archipelago on your way from the southern archipelago and north. You seems to enjoy the archipelago.

        For our part, it is time to start the season 2019. We have had our boat stored on land in Mariehamn in Åland. On Friday we go over there to take us to our home port in Saltsjöbaden. We may see you when we come from Åland at the beginning of next week. We have a boat that is made in Finland, a Targa 44.

        Have a good journey through the beautiful archipelago.

        • Yes, we are really enjoying the Stockholm Archipelago and we’re looking forward Aland. If you have recommendations for boaters like us who are visiting Aland for the first time and like natural beauty, we would appreciate your thoughts.

          • Sure, I will share some interesting places in the Aland archipelago. I get back to you guys during the up coming weekend. A little bit busy with work at the moment,

            • Yes, absolutely. Only if you have time and we only need a short list of whatever jumps to mind as top locations since we won’t be there that long. Either way, thanks for the blog feedback.

              • Mikael Hvinlund says:

                Hi James and Jennifer,
                Now we have jumped on our boat in Mariehamn västra (west). Its a very nice place. We can recommend Mariehamn west harbour if you wanna visit the small town here on Aland. On your way from Sweden you can make a stop at “Kobba klintar”. It is a very small island when entering the track to Mariehamn. We will also visit Rödhamn – approx 10 nautical miles south from Mariehamn west. It should be a very nice place for one night. We haven’t been there before but will probably go to that location tomorrow, sunday.
                Other interesting place in Aland is a small harbour called Kastellholm, they have an excellent culinary restaurant called Smakbyn. It is close to the little harbour. They have a one of the best chief in the nordic countries. You should also visit the archipelago of KÖKAR, in the southern area of Aland. Choose the northern guest harbour of KOKAR, called Sandvik. It is the easiest place to enter with Dirona. There is also a small harbour called Karlsby, but it is rather tricky to navigate to that place. You should also join the small island called KÄLLSKÄR, south of Kökar, one a swedish aristocrat had his living. A very special story. Interesting to get there with a guide. Fab views.

                If your are going to Finland proper after Aland you should prioritize the southern route in the Aboland archlepalgo with islands such as finska UTÖ, JURMO, and ÖRÖ. Other options are also BJÖRKÖ and JUNGFRUSKÄR. After Öro, Hanko (Hangö) is a great town to bunker. That harbour is also the home harbour for Sweet Hope and where we explore Nordhavn for the first time. I think Mika and Katri will be there :-)
                On your way to Helsinki is the swedish speaking town of EKENÄS worth a visit.
                We can recommend a very nice harbour in Helsinki, called SKATUTDDEN (Finnish name KATAJANOKKA). It is located in the very city center, close to the presidential palace. When you bunker food in Helsinki, dont miss SALUHALLEN – it is an exclusivie food fair. You should also take the ferry to SVEABORG (Soumen linna). It is an old fortress with an interesting history ande nice views to the Finnish gulf.

                All the best!

                • We’re glad to hear your boat is now launched and you are back on the water. This really is an impressively beautiful area to boat.

                  Thanks very much for all the travel information you posted. We’ll use it!

                  • Mikael Hvinlund says:

                    Hi, welcome to Mariehamn! I noticed that you are in the east harbour. We are in the west harbour. Tomorrow we are cruising back to Stockholm.
                    We have been at the town main square and listening to a mail choir singing traditional songs to celebrate the arrival of spring. In english it is walpurgis night. Now we are back at our boat, having a glas of champagne. If you are walking by the west harbour, don’t hesitate to knock on the door and say hello !

                    • We were over on your side of town last night at the large bonfire north of you but by the time we walked south back into town it was 10:30 and too late for a visit. If we do see your Targa 44 at the dock, we’ll stop by and say hi.

                    • Mikael Hvinlund says:

                      Time goes quick in Mariehamn. It was a nice evening yesterday.
                      Today we have been cruising from Mariehamn to our home harbour in Saltsjöbaden, outside Stockholm. 90NM.
                      Are you coming back to Stockholm before you go south again?

                    • Hi Mikael. Have a good trip home to Saltsjobaden. We’ll be spending the next month in Finland before coming back your way and spending around a month in Stockholm. Perhaps we’ll see you then?

                    • Mikael Hvinlund says:

                      Hi James,
                      You will have a nice month in Finland. Im sure. I hope the warmer weather will approach soon. At the moment it is to cold :-)
                      Would be nice if there will be an opportunity to say hello when you are in Stockholm. Will you stay with Dirona in the city center or in a marina outside Stockholm?
                      Keep in touch and enjoy your days in Finland and maybe Estonia.

                    • It would be great to meet while we are in Stockholm. We’ll be staying at Wasahamnen downtown we’ll be arriving in July. Drop us a note if you have time to drop by.

                    • MIKAEL HVINLUND says:

                      Sure, would be very nice to drop by. Wasahamnen is close to our apartment. I will be in Stockholm until 3rd july. A short trip to the southern part of Sweden. Back in Stockholm 19th july and then approx 21th july we will go for holiday in four weeks boating.
                      Amazing that you had snow in Aland a couple of days ago. Very unusual. I hope the weather soon will turn to more summer temperature.
                      Enjoy your trip to Finland.

                    • We’ll be out of town for potions of that time as well returning to Seattle for some time at work but I suspect there will be some overlap where we are all in Stockholm at the same time. We’ll hope to see you then.

  15. Malcolm Dale says:

    Nordhavn specifications show the displacement for the N52 as 90,000 lbs. Just wondering how you feel Drone’s displacement at commencement of your Indian Ocean & Nth Atlantic passages would have compared.

    • The 90,000 lb spec on the web site is a on the light side. We weighed in at over 100,000 lbs when new with light tanks. We usually lift just above 110,000 with roughly 1/2 a tank of fuel. When we left Australia to cross the Indian Ocean we had full tanks which adds another 5,000 lbs and we had 960 gallons of deck fuel which is 5,700 lbs. I suspect we were in the 118,000 to 120,000 lbs range. In this configuration the boat sill can attain CE Category A Ocean so it’s still a stable platform:

  16. Dave Jensson says:

    Hello, I jest recently come by your video and youtube stuff. Have you had any thoughts of coming up the St Lawrence all the way to Lake superior?
    I also like your technical talks about your bought. Gives people thoughts on upgrades for sure.

    • Yes, we’re super interested in heading up the St. Lawrence to Superior. We used to live in Toronto so it would be doubly interesting to cruise the area since we know it by car. Our current plans will be to enjoy the Baltic this year, the Med next year and perhaps head back to North American. When we go back to North America depends a bit on much we enjoy our time in Europe and what happens with Brexit. As long as the UK is part of the EU, we can be in the area without much hassle since Jennifer is a UK citizen. Once that is gone, it’s more hassle to do longer than 90 day visits so that might cause us to head back. When we do go back, we plan to take the Northern route through Iceland and Greenland to Labrador. Perhaps the St Lawrence the following summer? It’s a ways out but we are definitely interested in doing the trip you propose.

  17. Jon Brown says:

    Hello James, I’m wondering if you can help? I am the captain of a Gunboat 66 catamaran. 66′ long, 28′ beam, 4′ draft. We stayed at Amsterdam Marina a few years ago. We are returning to Amsterdam next week for 10 days. This time we are wondering if it is possible to find a berth on the Amsterdam side of the river, closer to all the sights? Do you know of anywhere that might fit us in? Thanks so much, Jon Catamaran Moondoggie

  18. Trond Saetre says:

    Anchoring with a stern anchor, and the bow close to shore, with a mooring line or two to shore, is very common in Norway too.
    One reason is that the bow needs less water depth than the stern, and therefore the boat can get closer to shore. That means a tender is not required to get ashore.

    Hope you have a great time. Happy Easter!

    • Makes sense. We have seen a lot of boats without tenders and it seems like a good solution. What do you do if the wind comes up blowing onto shore during the night. I would think that if you are close enough to reach shore, then if a big winds comes up the boat would get driven into shore fairly hard. Basically, if it’s close enough to stop to shore, I would think it’s close enough to bump the bottom or shore when blown that direction.

      • Trond Saetre says:

        You just have to plan more for the wind directions, and pick the right places. I prefer to have the bow into the wind, but have anchored with the wind coming from all directions. My trusty Rocna has never let me down so far. Of course I would not anchor with the stern into gale force winds, when the bow is only a meter or two from shore, no matter how well the anchor is set.

        • Jostein Lima says:

          Before going to sleep I let out a couple of extra meters in the bow and pull in on the anchor the same distance. That gives a bit of extra safety margin during the night. Your comment on the tenders are spot on, there are many boats around 20 – 25 feet in Norway/Sweden, and a tender becomes a bit awkward. When/if you get a bigger boat, you tend to use the same technique you did before if possible. Also, the nature with the cliffs and limited tide allows for this way of anchoring. And, when the anchoring locations get really crowded during the summer, I find it challenging to find a good spot with enough swing room, it feels more predictable to be tied to the shore. And of course, old habit and tradition comes into play.

          • That makes total sense. The approach of moving a bit further off shore at night would cover the wind issue and, in many of these smaller anchorages we have seen in use, there isn’t sufficient swing room for any other approach. In British Columbia Canada, stern tieing is common. This is the same approach but with the stern closest to shore. In the Canadian approach, there stern isn’t close enough to jump to shore. Usually 25′ or more off shore so a tender is still needed and it’s more of a hassle than the bow in approach because the tender has to be launched to shore with the bow line to tie off. The upside is that no swing room is needed so even small anchorages can work and it allows 10s of boats fit into a bay rather than 2 or 3. We’ve done in many times but prefer to find less busy areas when possible.

  19. Peter Lefroy says:

    I love all your pictures from Sweden. We here in B.C. think that we have a pretty good ferry system but when I see the network of ferries in all of Northern Europe we pale by comparison! Thank you for your wonderful blog!

    • Yes, the Ferry systems are impressive. The rail infrastructure is excellent. And the metro transit systems in even medium sized centers is very good. BC Ferries run a great service but you right that Europe invests deeply in infrastructure.

  20. Eric Patterson says:

    You and Jennifer ever gonna be anyplace warm? It’s finally warming here in the central US.

    • Good point on the temperature Eric. We got underway this morning in 34F. The sea water on the swim platform from being underway has frozen. It’s not warm. The upside is it’s an really beautiful area to boat but it’s clear why the locals think there is only a two month season. It’s still quite cold in mid-April.

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