“We chose a Nordhavn because there’s no other brand of trawlers in the 40-45 foot length that is built like a tank with the mechanical redundancy to allow us to cross oceans and travel the world safely and comfortably.”
Freedom, Nordhavn 43′
Interview with the Captains — Shawn and Elizabeth
Learn more and follow their adventures at MV Freedom Seattle
On Long Range Cruising
Where have you traveled to, and where are you heading next?
We’ve traveled all around the South, Central and North Puget Sound region; Vancouver Island & much of British Columbia, Canada and down the west coast to the Columbia River and Oregon. Our ultimate plan is to cruise around the world (or as much of it as we can with our dog, Sully). In the short term (1-2 years), we plan to cruise south into California’s San Francisco Bay area for 6-9 months before cruising back north to Alaska for 4-6 months. After Alaska, we’ll begin our full time cruising down into Mexico & Central America, through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the east coast of the US before crossing into Norway. After that, we’ll likely cruise Europe and the Mediterranean for 1-2 years before deciding what our next big cruising route will be.
Could you share a memorable story from your adventures (e.g. particularly rough seas, incredible wildlife, etc)?
Our most memorable stories come from our time on the west coast of Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. When we circumnavigated the island in our 40’ Searay, we enjoyed many nights at anchor on the northwest side of the island enjoying natural hot springs and searching for bears. After not having much luck finding bears during one trip, I decided to put on my cozy bear robe hoping it would bring us luck. While making coffee, Shawn whispered “Hey, I think I see a bear on shore!” Sure enough, there was a large black bear about 200 feet away on shore in search of breakfast. We grabbed our coffee, jumped in the dinghy and slowly drove by to get a closer look and to say “good morning.” I guess it pays to have a bear robe!
Most under-rated piece of equipment for long-range cruising?
By far the most underrated piece of equipment for long range cruising is a comfortable helm chair that’s separate from any other pilothouse seating. We have a Stidd helm chair that makes driving for hours incredibly comfortable, while allowing other people on board to enjoy more space sitting or laying down behind the Captain. Also, a trash compactor is highly underrated. Ours has been a HUGE life saver in terms of allowing us to minimize how many bags of trash we have to worry about disposing of. We can go 2-3 weeks sometimes without having to take the trash out which is a big deal when you’re far away from somewhere to dispose of it, if we plan to be at sea for long periods or if we possibly won’t be in a port that allows trash disposal.
Do you have any other notable resources you use (apps, devices, etc)?
We regularly use apps like SailFlow & PredictWind to get the most accurate wind forecasts when we’re cruising, and Navionics is great to plot courses or use on the go when we’re exploring on the dinghy. We also can’t live without our WeBoost Cell Booster to help us work and stay connected when we’re cruising in more remote places. Working full time while cruising can be challenging if you don’t have reliable cell coverage for calls and internet, so this is a must-have for us right now.
About the Boat
Why did you choose to buy a NordHavn?
We chose a Nordhavn because there’s no other brand of trawlers in the 40-45 foot length that is built like a tank with the mechanical redundancy to allow us to cross oceans and travel the world safely and comfortably.
What other kinds of boats did you consider before buying this model (and how did they compare)?
We considered semi displacement trawlers like the Beneteau Swift Trawler first but decided on full displacement trawlers that offered more range to cruise farther. The other boats we seriously considered were Selene Yachts in the 43-47 foot range.
How did you come to find/locate her before purchasing (and what’s the boat’s history if you know it)?
We searched on YachtWorld.com for several years! We are the 4th owner but the 2nd owner was the famous bass guitarist, Johny McVie, from the band Fleetwood Mac. We actually didn’t know who he was when we first came aboard, but the previous owner got us pretty excited about that!
Who first introduced you to boating?
Shawn had previously been on small boats as a teenager in Wisconsin while I had never been on boats until we went to a boat show after getting married in 2004. We both had motorcycles and decided to trade them in for a 24’ Glastron ‘pocket’ cruiser. The rest is history!
What boats have you previously owned?
We’ve owned a 24’ Glastron, a 36’ Carver Sport Sedan, a 40’ Searay and now our 43’ Nordhavn trawler. We saved the best for last!
What are the features you like most about your boat?
We love its cruising range of 3,000-3,500 nautical miles most of all. We also love the redundant systems like a backup “wing” engine, two spacious and comfy staterooms with separate heads, and a raised pilothouse to make the space feel much larger. With both of us living and working in a small space, the layout allows each of us to feel like we have our own wing of the boat. And the washer/dryer combo unit is nice too!
What features/improvements have you added or do you plan to add?
We’ve added a washer/dryer combo along with Dell touchscreen PC for navigation in the pilothouse, a new Rocna 55 kg anchor, a wireless autopilot/bow thruster/anchor remote control, red LED lights on the Portuguese bridge, a BRNKL security and monitoring system, a WeBoost cellular booster, a new horn and spotlight, a new stainless faucet for the galley sink, a stainless steel microwave, new accordion window shades throughout the salon, a flatscreen TV in the salon, a fusion stereo system, and storage systems in the engine room.
In 2021, we plan to replace our black water hoses in both heads, upgrade to a higher capacity water-maker as well as upgrade our battery charger and inverter for faster charging and in anticipation of moving to lithium batteries in a couple of years.
What is the biggest challenge you have in servicing your boat?
Our biggest challenge is not having enough time to get to everything we want done or to complete upgrades as fast as we’d like.
Do you have any advice for those looking to buy a Nordhavn like yours?
Our biggest piece of advice is to work directly with a Nordhavn broker or Nordhavn Yachts in Dana Point, CA. Nordhavns are very unique vessels with a lot of systems and features to know, and the most knowledgeable folks are those who work directly with or for Nordhavn. Also, there are always a ton of “pocket” listings that only Nordhavn brokers know about. So, if you’re in the market for a specific model that doesn’t have inventory available when you’re searching, a Nordhavn broker will likely know of an owner interested in selling or can inquire about interest within the community of Nordhavn owners.
What’s the story behind the boat’s name?
When we’re out cruising, especially in remote or far away locations that many people can’t easily get to, we feel completely free. And knowing that our boat is our home and can take us almost anywhere in the world, the only name that came to mind was Freedom.
Check it Out
Click the gallery below for more photos and information about Freedom!