Amsterdam Visitors

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In addition to being a wonderful place to live and complete some boat projects, City Marina IJDok also was convenient for visitors. This gave us an opportunity to catch up with some old friends, meet in person some that we’d only corresponded with, and make new acquaintances with locals or those travelling to the area. And we had some official visitors as well.

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Andre Verhoek
Blog reader Andre Verhoek stopped by for a visit and a tour of Dirona today. He and his wife Annemarie live aboard Liberty, a beautiful steel Stentor motoryacht moored near Amsterdam. They have cruised Liberty through Denmark and up the Swedish west coast up to Oslo and have been sending us lots of helpful advice and recommendations as we travelled south from Norway to Amsterdam. It was great to finally meet in person.
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Dutch Customs
Dutch Customs came by today with a few more questions about the boat’s VAT status. We suspect our American flag will “capture” a few more Dutch officials before our visit is done.
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Peter and Steve
Peter Hayden (centre), who is building Nordhavn 6837, and marine consultant Steve D’Antonio, were in town for METS (Marine Equipment Trade Show) this week and stopped by for a visit. We last saw Peter and his wife Laurie in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 2016 and haven’t seen Steve since before we left Seattle in 2012. We had a great time talking boats, travelling and technology, first on Dirona and later over dinner.
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Laurens van Zijp
Laurens van Zijp stopped by to interview us for Netherlands-based Motorboot magazine. We enjoyed meeting him and describing our travels and how we’ve setup Dirona. Laurens knows boats well and we had a great discussion.
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Triskel Marine
An excellent evening on Dirona and later over dinner at De Gouden Reael with Triskel Marine directors Ken and Allison Wittamore (on either side of us) and their friends Pete and Ali. We met Ken and Allison at their METS booth and their boat Armorel, a Hallberg Rassy 42, is moored for the winter near us in Amsterdam City Marina.
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Paul van Meegen
Coffee with Paul van Meegen, whose boat is moored just down the dock from ours. Paul is a retired barge captain who lives aboard a converted German survey vessel from which he runs his company Copula Promotions. He’s retrofitted his boat to fit through the French canals and added some commercial features rather unique in a pleasure craft, such as legs that telescope down and allow the boat to effectively “park” anywhere he wants as long as the water isn’t too deep.
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Deb and Jan
In Zaandam with Jan Pieterse and Deb Richardson. They live part time in the US and the rest of the time on board their canal barge Jan-kees (it’s a clever name, pronounced “Yankees“). Jan has been giving us all sorts of useful advice for the Netherlands and beyond and it was wonderful to finally meet in person.
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Daniel Boekel
Daniel Boekel, owner of ShipCraft Engineering in Alkmaar. Daniel is an unusually talented engineer, here holding open an electric car battery that he’s recycling. Daniel buys the batteries from wrecked cars and uses them in boat propulsion systems and energy storage supporting solar power deployments.
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Howard Rosenberg
Blog reader Howard Rosenberg was in Amsterdam for a few days and stopped by for a visit and a tour of Dirona. We had a great time talking boats and in particular learning more about the company he founded, B-Stock Solutions, that provides an online marketplace for inventory liquidation.
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Nico and Nely
Nico and Nely Vendrig just arrived at the marina in their Grand Banks Widestars III and stopped by to say hello. We’ve corresponded a bit with Nico, who is interested in Nordhavns and has been following our blog.
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Ken and Ali Wittamore invited us over to Armorel to see their Integrel Marine charging system in use. This innovative charging system won the prestigious DAME Design Award at METS in 2018. We met Ken and Ali through Nigel Calder and we were really impressed with the Integrel advanced generator replacement so we jumped on the chance to see one in use.

The system combines a 9kW output engine-driven generator with a fairly large lead-acid battery bank and an advanced control system. The system will run well on any boat, but their target market is small to mid-sized sailboats where a generator takes up considerable valuable space. By installing a 9kW main engine driven alternator, they eliminate the need for the generator but, on smaller boats, this load represents a considerable portion of the full output of a small engine.

The real secret of the design is the control system that monitors current prop power draw and max engine output at the current RPM. The system takes whatever power is left over after driving the boat, ensuring that propulsion requirements are met unchanged and only the unused available engine power is used to charge the batteries. This takes available engine power to drive heavy loads that would normally have required a generator while, at the same time, ensuring full engine output is always available on demand.

The control system makes load decisions ten times per second to ensure the system is always running at maximum efficiency, the engine is never pushed into overload, and full engine output is always available for the prop on demand. The idea is innovative and it’s a very professionally-engineered solution.

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Daniel, Deb and Jan
Daniel Boekel of ShipCraft Engineering, and Deb Richardson and Jan Pieterse came by for a visit. We had a great time discussing topics ranging control systems to Brexit, first over drinks on Dirona and later at dinner in a nearby restaurant.
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Rob Higgins
Rob Higgins, president of Robinson helicopter leasing company Higgins Leasing, was in town and came by for a visit. We last saw him in Seattle in the summer of 2017. We had a great time talking boats and helicopters, first on Dirona and later over dinner at Bickers aan de Werf.
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Wolf Atelier
Wolf restaurant, just across the road from our marina, is a beautiful facility built on an old railway bridge with 360-degree views. We’ve walked past many times and keep meaning to make a dinner reservation, so we jumped at the chance when Ken and Allison Wittamore of Integrel Marine invited us to join them and their son-in-law Kevin Wittamore there for dinner. The meal was exceptional and the Wittamores are always interesting and enjoyable company.
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Mike Spits
Mike Spits, who owns a classic Feadship, stopped by for a visit. We had a great time talking boats and sharing travel experiences. Mike is from the Netherlands, but currently lives in Thailand and owns Wiseguy Suspenders. We’re not much into suspenders, but the product looks edgy and high-quality, and one person who does know is Warren Buffet, who commented that “Charlie and I love them … These will definitely upgrade our appearance”.
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Chantal & Folkert
Folkert Schoots and his partner Chantal stopped by for a visit and a tour of Dirona. They are considering options for eventually making extensive sailing trips and wanted to learn more about Nordhavn and the boat’s operation and maintenance. Folkert works for Feadship, and we had a great time sharing our experiences and learning a little bit more about 100m-plus yachts.
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Adrian Van Velsen
California resident Adrian Van Velsen came by for a visit and a tour of Dirona. Adrian is from the Netherlands, but now operates Pacific Yacht Electric, specializing in boat electronic installations. Andrian knows both software and hardware systems well and has worked extensively with many of the system we use on Dirona. We had a fun and wide-ranging discussion.
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