N5263 being lowered into the water in Tacoma

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Nordhavn 5263 Delivery


Nordhavn 5263 arrived in Tacoma on board the freighter Ever Ethic on Saturday Dec 6th, 2009. We ran the dinghy down from Seattle to watch the offload (map of area). Similar to visiting the yard, but on a smaller scale, watching the offload was an adventure, and an exciting part of the purchase and build process. We did have a minor difficulty in the offload, and Don Kohlmann of PAE Northwest handled it with an extraordinary effort.


  The temperature was 28F when we left, so we bundled up for the 30-mile run from Seattle to Tacoma. The offload was scheduled for 8am, and we left at 5:45 to give ourselves plenty of time. Nautical twilight was at 6:26, civil twilight at 7:05 and sunrise at 7:38. We'd be in darkness most of the time, but the light would slowly be improving.
  The sky was clear, and conditions generally were good until about halfway there, when we hit a fog bank so thick we could barely see from one end of the dinghy to the other. We crept along the shore for reference, using a bow watch to look for logs, rocks and big ships. We'd not bothered brining a GPS, as we'd travelled this route dozens of times. We did have a handheld compass, so we relied on that ensure we were headed in the right direction when we lost sight of shore. Being so close to shipping lanes in such thick fog was a little unnerving.
We eventually reached Tacoma, but finding the 900-foot ship proved a challenge. Tacoma has several ship canals, and it was difficult to find the right one with such poor visibility. The Emerald Harbor Marine crew that had driven down to take the delivery (and would be doing the commissioning) reported the same problem. They had to get out and shine a flashlight on the road signs to figure out where they were. We eventually found the right one by trial-and-error, but didn't know it until we were almost beside the ship.
  A first look at N5263 aboard the Ever Ethic. That's the Emerald Harbor crew on deck below.
  Our boat and the 56 MS that had travelled with it were tucked into a nice protected spot. We watched, nervously, as the containers behind were unloaded. The crane operators are really good with the containers, but they do occasionally make mistakes.
  The arrival of the Vessel Assist boat signaled that the offload probably would happen soon. The boat is used to transfer crew from the shipping area to the offloaded vessels and to help deal with any problems that might arise. 
  The shipping straps are off, and they boats are ready to offload. Normally the boats are picked up by the cradle, but they used slings instead.

The crane operator first moved the crane forward of the ship, then ran the slings out across the water. This was to determine if the boat could be lowered down the starboard side of the ship. The cranes didn't extend far enough out to allow the Nordhavn to be lowered to the water.

  A crucial moment, as the boat comes off the cradle and the slings take the weight. 
  The crane carried the boat away to port, off the ship and over then dock. The operator lowered the boat until it was barely above the dock and slowly moved it forward of the ship. 
  The crew that would bring the boat up to Seattle, Don Kohlmann of PAE Northwest and Rod Holappa of Emerald Harbor Marine, climbed into the Vessel Assist boat to transfer to 5263.
  So far, so good. Only a little farther to go until the boat is in the water.  The fog by now had started to lift. The temperature was barely 30 F, but the day was otherwise beautiful. We were having a great time.
  The boat is in the water, but still supported by the slings, as the delivery crew prepares to board.
  The slings have been released from the port side and the engine is running. The stack folds down to reduce the air draft. And for shipping the yard added a small temporary exhaust in a wooden box

Everything had gone so well, and we were expecting the boat to just float free. But the slings had caught on the machinery and couldn't move away from the crane.

The slings are roped together on each side to prevent them from slipping. One of these ropes had caught on the stabilizer when the straps were released. Don Kohlmann and the Vessel Assist caption worked at trying to free it. Don even stuck his whole arm in the water, shirt and all, but with no success.
As we were beginning to think they'd need to dive the boat to free it, Don stripped to his skivvies and dove in the water. He swam under the boat at the port side, cut the rope, then swam around to the starboard side and pulled the rope out, then swam to the stern and climbed out.
        The water was 45 F and he must have been in for at least 10 minutes. At that point, you're supposed to be barely able to function, let alone swim around and climb aboard. Everyone was impressed and amazed. The longshoreman were clapping and cheering. That's customer service.  Simply amazing.    

5263 floats free.

Our first look at the interior. So far, we're really happy with how things are looking.


We took pictures of 5263 at speed from the dinghy.

5263 moored at G-33 in Elliott Bay Marina, where Emerald Harbor Marine will be doing the commissioning.
Very happy almost-owners.
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