The previous owner had retained a young James Knight to captain and manage the boat. James had just brought her down from New Jersey and to make that trip he'd done the required maintenance and fixes; she was in good turn key mechanical condition and ready to go. So, we cleaned her up, renamed her Istaboa, and without much fuss loaded fuel, food, and booze, and made a run for the islands.
We were advised to do an orientation on the boat and her systems, and James did take us out for a couple of hours, but there was a good weather window and the itch to stretch out was unbearable. Throwing caution to the wind, we left Lake Worth Inlet and made way for West End, Bahamas. It was a beautiful day to run.
Mel and I were surprised at how quiet our new Nordhavn was underway, even in the pilot house. Up top on the Fly Bridge one could hear the hum of the big John Deere, but that soon became a relaxing zen like purr. Not far out of the inlet and hitting the Gulf Stream she crabbed a bit though the current didn't slow us down too much. 1500 RPMs before the stream = 9.1 knts - After entering the stream = 8.5 knts --- We were quite happy and a bit surprised with the speed and fuel burn.
Also pleasing was the feel of the boat. Our last boat was longer and heavier yet this Nordhavn was feeling quite solid; a short interval 3' beam sea was hardly noticeable.
An exciting moment for us; shortly after entering the Gulf Stream we had the good fortune to run through a large pod of Pilot Whales. They're fairly common on the east coast, but a mind-blowing sight for this Tennessee crew. We still like to look back on that encounter as the good omen it was.
Crossing the Great Bahama Bank
First the Abacos, then Eleuthera, The Berrys, and Cat — she ran steady.
And, what a boat: The whole amazing trip through the islands , all the way back to Tennessee, more than 2500 miles, and not one serious issue.
In those days we were still working, however, technology allowed us to stay connected while onboard and we were fortunate enough to be able to swing lengthy working-sabbaticals almost every year. We had owned several cruising boats but none had the range we wanted. Now, Istaboa's 2000 gallons gave us the legs to run from Tennessee to the Bahamas and back. The non-stop, 52 hour stretch, between the Panhandle and the Keys added weeks to our island time.
We did this trek, back and forth, many times, racking up a lot of miles and engine hours along the way. She's a boat with a purpose and she never lets us down.
Up next: Part 3 - Becoming Istaboa
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