Monthly Archives: April 2013

Yacht Spotting And New Launches

Yacht Spotting And New Launches

Nordhavn 120 Launched Into Test Tank

One step closer to delivery this summer

The Nordhavn 120 completed a crucial step today after it was launched into the test tank at South Coast Marine in Xiamen, China. Dan Streech, president of Nordhavn’s parent company Pacific Asian Enterprises, Inc. (P.A.E.) noted that so far the future queenship of the Nordhavn fleet has functioned in the water exactly as expected. “She floats perfectly,” Streech said. “All 800,000 lbs. of fiberglass, steel, wood, stone and glass have been brilliantly engineered and managed to float exactly as predicted.”

The awesome Nordhavn 120 gets ready for tank testing. Like all her sisterships, she has been designed to cross oceans in safety and comfort.

The awesome Nordhavn 120 gets ready for tank testing. Like all her sisterships, she has been designed to cross oceans in safety and comfort.

The tank test is the penultimate stage for the N120 prior to being delivered to her new owner in July. She will remain in the tank for approximately one month as systems are fired up and tested. Upon completion, she’ll undergo final ocean trials and ABS certification assessment in preparation for delivery – via her own bottom – to Vancouver, Canada.

Due to logistics, the sheer mass of the vessel as well as economic factors, it’s been concluded that N120 hull #1 will be delivered on her own bottom. With a non-stop range from China to Vancouver at a speed of within 3 knots of what freighters typically travel, the decision to “drive” her home was made thoughtfully, however, confidently. The current plan has the yacht departing the factory July 1 by a delivery crew led by P.A.E. vice president Jim Leishman. The goal is to make a quick and efficient passage running as fast as possible using the same classic fuel management practices utilized by the crews on board the Nordhavn 40 during the Around The World (ATW) voyage (as well as by hundreds of other Nordhavn owners during their own long passages). The non-stop passage from China to Vancouver is expected to take 24-28 days.

After nearly five years from concept to construction, P.A.E. is thrilled with anticipation at the impending unveiling of the Nordhavn 120. Our architecture and design team, together with the craftsmen at South Coast, engineering, contractors, the phenomenal interior design staff at Destry Darr and countless vendors have cultivated a world-class yacht that is second to none. At the surface, the N120 is a naval engineering feat; as capable as it is luxurious. But the yacht also proves to be a symbol of P.A.E., persevering at a time when the yacht/superyacht market was in a virtual tailspin. With the business of boats having apparently stabilized, the time is perfect to present the Nordhavn 120 to the world, a design prepared to rival any superyacht built by anyone, anywhere.

For more information about the Nordhavn 120, ATW, or any of the other ships this builder has to offer, contact them at





Like Running On Empty

Taking precautions to get your fuel system and engine room squared away, whether on a day trip or spending time away in foreign waters, can help prevent breakdowns, costly repairs, and a ruined vacation.

By Capt. Ken Kreisler

On the subject of our country’s energy problems, investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Russell Baker was quoted as saying: “Is fuel efficiency really what we need most desperately? I say that what we really need is a car that can be shot when it breaks down.”

That’s a sentiment those of us who have had problems with fuel-related breakdowns can relate to. It is an all too familiar feeling as we stare, with deck hatches akimbo, at that inanimate hunk of metal and hoses and wires and begin spouting, justifiably so, the proper salty and appropriate epithets.

Cap'n Ken at the helm

Yours truly at the helm on a day where everything went according to plan. Regardless of your time away from the dock, taking the proper precautions with some basic preventive maintenance measures can and will ensure a splendid time is had by all.

During one of my many extended forays away from the dock and outside of U.S. waters, I was at the helm, tanks just topped, and enjoying the mild conditions of the sunny passage back home. Totally content and in harmony with the familiar and slightly hypnotic rhythm of the twin diesel rig under my command, I had just checked the info on the GPS unit—43 miles to Palm Beach inlet—when I heard the timbre of the port engine change. And then the resonance of the starboard dropped as well. Quickly sitting up, and no longer enjoying the aforementioned feeling of nautical bliss, I clocked both gauges and immediately noticed a drop from 1900 to 1500 to 1000 to a quivering 600 rpm to a dead stop. It was all hands on deck for my two crew members and me.

Using an external funnel such as this one from Shurhold right from the pump, can often trap dirt, water, and other contaminants from getting into your fuel tank.

Using an external funnel such as this one from Shurhold right from the pump, can often trap dirt, water, and other contaminants from getting into your fuel tank.

That well-known three-hour cruise had turned into an all day constant travail of draining the Racors and changing both gunked up secondary and primary filters until finally limping back into the inlet and our dock at the Sailfish Marina. A day later, I was still at the filters, trying to get all the water out of the tanks. Not fun.

Taking on a load of dirty and water-laden fuel can all but ruin your well-planned travels. But just like downing a Prilosec as a preemptive strike before that night of gastronomical fireworks with your favorite uber spicy foods and drink, so can taking the right steps with your fuel and fuel system make sure you cut the odds against experiencing a mid-travel breakdown in your favor.

Before setting out, always remember that no matter where you fuel up, there is going to be some sediment, water, and mystery stuff present. It’s the nature of the beast. From refining to either gasoline or fuel oil, until it’s stored, shipped, stored again upon delivery, and finally pumped into your tanks, it has had plenty of time to play host to a veritable cabal of evil doers.

If you have the space in your engine room, you may want to research some of the offerings from Algae X.

If you have the space in your engine room, you may want to research some of the offerings from Algae X.

High on the list is water. While life as we know it could not exist without it, once inside your fuel tank, it can wreak havoc with both diesel and gasoline engines. How does it get there? Carefully check your fill cap for leaks or a compromised deck seal. Condensation can also exacerbate the problem as regular heating and cooling can cause moisture to form in the tank’s air void. Best to keep fuel tanks topped off on a regular basis.

Algae and fungi growth are the other culprits. Feeding on both fuel and air, these malicious microorganisms can easily gunk up your filter elements and stop you dead in the water. While there are many biocides on the market, avoid those with alcohol as this can cause damage to many rubber parts in the system. And remember, if you use a biocide, the resulting ‘body count’ can add to the already soupy mix on the bottom of your tank and those churned up while underway or in rough conditions. Take extra caution when monitoring your filters.

Having a primary fuel water filter is often your first line of defense against allowing water to get into your engine.

Having a primary fuel water filter is often your first line of defense against allowing water to get into your engine.

On that note, your first line of defense is to carefully check the ubiquitous primary fuel/water separator filter. Racor is most popular but there are also units manufactured by Dahl, Separ, Fram, Groco, and a host of others. Drain any water and sediment out of the bowl and check and replace the filter element as per your engine manual. Or, as most seasoned travelers say: When in doubt, swap it out. Don’t forget to check your secondary filters as well and always carry several spares. If you are a regular cruiser, you might want to check out Algae-X’s offering of fuel conditioning units or a more advanced fuel polishing system.

If you want to take an extra ounce of prevention, try using an exterior filter during fill ups such as Shurhold’s Mr. Funnel. This portable unit is used to catch impurities right from the pump as the fuel is going into your tank. While it will slow your fill time, if you are away from a reputable marina, it can help.

Finally, on the fuel system topic that is, and again, depending on how you use your boat, you may also want to give your fuel tanks a cleaning every once and a while, especially if you are changing those filters a bit too often. Get a reliable mobile company to come dockside to take the appropriate sediment samples and properly polish your fuel.

Using oil absorbent pads, such as these from 3M, can help keep your bilges oil free.

Using oil absorbent pads, such as these from 3M, can help keep your bilges oil free.

Now, let’s discuss your engine room. What could be worse than setting out for a day away from your home dock or on that extended and long-planned voyage to the Bahamas, and having problems with something gone terribly wrong down there? Compounding the dilemma is the afterthought that, with a bit of preventive maintenance, it could have been avoided. Here are a couple of engine room tips and thoughts to help cut down the chances of something stopping you dead in the water.

To begin with, clean your bilges and dispose of any oil-laden material with your marina manager. Once done, and if you already do not do this, position a couple of oil absorbent pads under your engine(s) so as to not only catch any oil drips, but to see if there is a problem with any suspect oil leak. And as any leaking water from the raw water system or expansion tank will also show up, this will help in identifying where the problem is. It’s also a good idea, especially when setting out on a long trip, to and make sure you carry enough oil and filters to do one complete oil change. In fact, make that two. As one old salt used to remind me: “Y’can’t get out and change a flat kid,”

Keeping both bilge pumps and float switches free of debris is an important part of your preventive maintenance regimen.

Keeping both bilge pumps and float switches free of debris is an important part of your preventive maintenance regimen.

Check your sea strainers for any fouling as well as any possible blockages to thru-hull connections, especially those to the air conditioning and raw water intakes; examine the hoses and clamp connections for any signs of degradation; and give all your seacock handles several open-and-close shifts. If you see any signs of wear and tear on any of these, replace them immediately. And make sure all your bilge pumps and float switches are free of debris and that bilge alarms are operating properly in both auto and manual modes.

Examine your internal main engine and genset zinc anodes for wear. If they are even half gone, replace them. Also, give those on your hull and running gear a look-see as well.

Let’s hope that another Baker witticism is not in your future voyaging plans: “The goal of all inanimate objects is to resist man and ultimately defeat him.” Safe travels everybody.

If you have any maintenance tips or a first-hand account of trouble along the way, use the COMMENT link on the bottom right corner below and send it on in.

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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Maintenance


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Green Dock

Green Dock


In our attempts to cover our Green Dock mission to deliver information that concerns all aspects of how we can work towards the betterment of our watery environment, we would like to pass on information about Ports of Cause.

Ports of Cause logo

The organization is the result of the passion and dedication of interior yacht designer Joyce Clear, founder of the Clear Group, and devotee of all things nautical.

Joyce clear

Joyce Clear with Damien Durchon, captain of the Mari Cha, a 150-foot ketch whose interior Clear refitted, is firmly committed to the task ahead.

Her concerns run deep and she describes her organization as a social enterprise with a philanthropic mission to support non-profit organizations that are focused on the global water crisis and the protection and preservation of our oceans. “Our mission is to serve as a catalyst for social responsibility, marketing, education, awareness, action and fundraising for these critical issues of our time.”

Ports of Cause sponsors1Clear, along with many other supporters, kicked off Ports of Cause (POC) at this past Palm Beach Boat Show with a gala affair with lead sponsors Active Interest Media and Element Financial. POC plans to propel a series of newly refit luxury yachts into the global marketplace as ambassadors for non-profit organizations and corporate social responsibility.

POC will be working to heighten exposure, education, action and fundraising for multiple organizations including Plant A Fish, Waterkeeper Alliance, International Seakeepers Society, Thirst No More and Join the Pipe. POC-designated yachts will have fundraising events for these foundations in the future as well.

Ports of Cause sponsors2png“It is POC’s goal to refit a vessel every year as well as create an exclusive POC membership club. All the vessels in the fleet will fly the POC flag as proud supporters of our water-based causes, a representation to the world that this industry cares and will affect change,” explains Clear. Ms. Clear and POC Co- Founders Shelley Furse, Eric Dahler and Peter Vogel share a passion with other leaders in the industry that the time has come to create a vehicle through which the world is educated about the positive philanthropic, economic, technological and design impact provided by the global yachting industry.

Joining the cause is the yacht Highlander. First built in 1967, she was owned by Forbes’ founder Malcolm Forbes and not only entertained kings, potentates, and celebs, but the movers and shakers who made the wheels of business and industry hum around the world. A fire took her to the waterline in 1980 but as you can clearly see, she has been lovingly restored to her classic Feadship lines. Highlander will be paired with Posh, a Hacker designed-Huskins-built vintage 1937 commuter yacht, as good will ambassadors at upcoming boat shows and other functions.

posh underway

If you would like more information about Ports of Cause, please contact them at 43 Ravenwood Drive, Suite 10H, Weston, CT 06883.

GREEN DOCK is dedicated to supplying a forum to discuss important issues, products, and trends that can better help all of us protect the environment. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and desire to make a change is most welcome.


Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Green Dock


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Sea Trials

Hemingway at the wheelA Combination of All
The Right Things

American Custom Yachts’ 90-foot C’est La Vie is the dream-fulfilling result of builder and owner.

                                  By Capt. Ken Kreisler

362203118_640“Hey Dom,” one of the guys on the open bridge of the 60+ foot, blue-hulled sportfish boat says as he calls out while steering his charge past the south dock of South Florida’s Sailfish Marina on Singer Island. The two companions flanking him nod in approval. Dom, standing in the cockpit of his boat, which is still tied to the dock for the moment, smiles and waves back.

“Dominic!” exclaims yet another mariner, this one at the wheel of a 39-foot, triple outboard, T-topped rig bristling with fishing gear, himself decked out with yellow skins as is his fellow angler. Again, Dom acknowledges the accolade.

Fully rigged and ready for action, C'est La Vie shows off her low profile and balanced proportions.

Fully rigged and ready for action, C’est La Vie shows off her low profile and balanced proportions.

And then one of those Downeast designs passes by with one older gentleman standing up and explaining to the three seated on the transom couch, if my reading of his body language was anywhere in the ballpark, just what kind of boat they were having a look at.

The word was obviously out. Dominic Lacombe, president of American Custom Yachts (ACY) was in town with the 90-foot C’est La Vie, the recently completed, and quite awesome, latest addition to the fleet of custom sportfish boats from the Stuart-based builder. Lacombe is a force of nature and no story about any of his boats can be told without looking at the man behind the iconic brand.


Dominic Lacombe is all smiles aboard C’est La Vie. Photo: Capt. Ken Kreisler

“For me, it all started when I was a kid fishing the offshore canyons back of Cape May, New Jersey. In those days, if you had an 18-knot boat and you were running 70 to 80 miles offshore, well, that was pretty good,” he remembered as I sat with him on the expansive flying bridge as her captain puts the big boat through a series of exhilarating turns and maneuvers, one of which involved backing down hard and watching the ensuing water drain remarkably fast out of the huge cockpit.

“I knew back then, that big, fast boats were the kind I wanted to be involved with. The faster you got to the fishing grounds, the more time you could spend there.” Never wavering from that principle, by the time he was 29, Lacombe was running the Monterey boat company. In June of 1992, ACY was born with the initial launch of a 58- and then subsequent builds of a 63-, and a 65-footer, all named Freedom. While Lacombe told me of a previous build that had as its central focus the need for an over-the-top galley, C’est La Vie’s owner, also the owner of ACY, had a much different focus. This boat would be built around a pair of massive MTU 16V4000M93L 9,200-hp engines.

C'est La Vie heads out to sea.

C’est La Vie heads out to sea. Photo: Capt. Ken Kreisler

As we pulled in the last of the lines that tethered us to our slip at the south dock of Palm Beach’s Sailfish Marina, someone watching from the quay as C’est La Vie’s captain began sliding the big boat out into the channel and free of the land, smiled and said, “Have a nice flight.” Within minutes of clearing the inlet, and with the calm open ocean before us, it was quite evident what that remark had meant.

I watched the bow rise a bit at first. I then heard the turbochargers kick in. And then I felt the big boat lift herself up out of the water as the engines spooled up past 1100; past 1500; and then settle in at 1750 rpm. And just like that, the 90-foot C’est La Vie, displacing some 190,000 pounds, and the latest build from Dominick Lacombe’s Stuart, Florida-based American Custom Yachts, was flirting with 39 knots and flying across the relatively calm waters off of Palm Beach Inlet. At 1950 we were just under 42 knots with a top end 2100-rpm speed of 44.6.

Located on 63 acres in Stuart, FL, the ACY facility is where C'est La Vie was designed, engineered, and built.

Located on 63 acres in Stuart, FL, the ACY facility is where C’est La Vie was designed, engineered, and built.

Constructing C’est La Vie, with her noticeably low profile for such a big vessel, required a fine and exacting blend of technology, vision, and lots of boatbuilding savvy. Having a boat of her size being able to get the kind of performance she was designed for is something else; and that is where Lacombe and his crew have dedicated their art to achieving.

“There is a period of time from when you start talking to a customer until the contract is signed. Our owners are seasoned veterans of the build process and when they finally decide on ACY, we’ve already gotten to know them very well and just how they are going to use their boat. We don’t try and tell them what they want; instead, we explain what we’ve done in the past and what will fit, and then we discuss what they are looking for,” Lacombe said. “A boatbuilder is only as good as its people; and we strive to offer the best talent in the business.”

As with all ACY custom builds, C'est La Vie began as a steel jig over which her hull began to take shape.

As with all ACY custom builds, C’est La Vie began as a steel jig over which her hull began to take shape.

C’est La Vie is a cold molded boat utilizing a steel jig and built with five layers of 12mm Acumi plywood on the bottom with Kevlar and fiberglass inside and out. From the waterline up, it’s two layers of the ply, again with Kevlar and fiberglass inside and out. To help save weight, ACY uses Divinycell composite coring in the decks and Nida-Core in the deck hatches. For the cabinetry and any nonstructural bulkheads, Tri-Cell is utilized in the cabinets and nonstructural bulkheads. And in the structural bulkhead, vacuum-bagged marine-grade plywood over balsa core is used.

Nothing has been spared to make sure she is rock-solid all around. Being able to handle the incredible weight and power of the main engines, each clocking in at 10+ tons and being able to develop the kind of torque to make your knees weak, meant that Lacombe and his crew would need to plan and build a special engine bed to handle the load.

cestlavie er

As expected, her engine room affords the kind of working space to make any hands-on owner or skipper be at ease while doing any maintenance or other work here. Photo: Capt. Ken Kreisler

“The motor mount system is all aluminum,” Lacombe said as he and I stood in the cavernous engine room before all that power came to life. “And the entire space here, from chine to chine and bulkhead to bulkhead is integrated with an aluminum engine bed system allowing the motors to not only sit on the keel but on every stringer and chine as well. “ In addition, V-drives are used to lessen the shaft angle resulting in a more efficient use of all the horsepower. “Backing down is also more effective as we’re not digging in.” Lacombe and his ACY crew even had to design and fabricate special air boxes to allow the monstrous powerplants to get the maximum amount of ventilation necessary for them to do what they, and this boat, were built for.

Given her length and beam, and that she’s all custom, the interior of C’est La Vie was designed and outfitted as per the owner’s demands and planned use of the boat as being both ultimate fishing platform and uber comfortable so as to accommodate his large family.

With plenty of space to work with, C'est La Vie's salon can be configured in many ways to suit an individual owner's needs.

C’est La Vie‘s salon can be configured in many ways to suit an individual owner’s needs. Photo: Capt. Ken Kreisler

To that end, her main salon offers wide-open spaces with all galley appliances housed in below counter drawers and cabinets. There is nothing to block the spectacular views out of those extra large windows to either side or from the salon’s aft end as well.

With all the room here, the seating arrangements and dining space can be configured in several ways, all of which work within the given dimensions. “All the furniture and cabinetry you see here is done under one roof; the same one that builds the boat,” Lacombe pointed out as we took a turn around the interior. “The fabrics, leathers, and any canvas, are all done in house by American Canvas & Interiors.”

A centerline staircase leads down to a long hallway and the six stateroom—three over to port and three on the starboard side—five head layout. As Lacombe and I open doors and drawers and closets, I notice the more-than-ample storage areas in each room. Indeed, I found so much space aboard C’est La Vie—from cockpit to engine room to flying bridge as well—that once provisioned, and but for fuel considerations, she is quite able to accommodate her crew for an extended time away from any dock.

cestlavie cockpit

C’est La Vie‘s business end is all that is should be on this world class, custom sportfishing yacht. Photo: Capt. Ken Kreisler

Of course, being a big, no-nonsense, not-for-the-faint-of-heart sport fishing machine, C’est la Vie’s flying bridge and cockpit are all business. To that end, Lacombe and his team have outfitted these areas with everything one could want in a deep water, horizon-chasing sportfisherman. The centerline helm offers plentiful room for a vast array of electronic, communication, and navigational equipment, installed by affiliate IMS American Marine Electronics. Forward seating is abundant and as well, there is space for any number of cooler and freezer options you may require for your needs. And don’t forget those 60’ Rupp, five-spreader riggers on that substantial Bausch-American tower, custom fabricated and installed by ACY. The teak-soled cockpit offers the fishing crew the kind of space and amenities that one would expect on a world-class tourney boat and as we banked on a gentle, controlled 40+ knot turn and powered our way back to the dock, I could only imagine all those trolled lines aft with cutting fish eyeing everything from the teasers to the pro-rigged goggle eye baits just waiting for a bite.


Photo: Capt. Ken Kreisler

If you are thinking of competing in the rarefied air of a truly custom sportfish boat, you need to make a visit to ACY’s Stuart, Florida facility an absolute must. While the cost of fulfilling your dream is something you will need to discuss with Dominic and his crew, the result of having your hands on the wheel of one of his designs is guaranteed to be priceless.

American Custom Yachts. 772.221.9100.

                                               Specs for 90’ C’est La Vie

RPM                        Speed (kn)                        GPH

500                           9.3                                      14
1000                        17.0                                    100
1150                        23.0                                    130
1350                        28.6                                    180
1550                        32.8                                    270
1750                        38.4                                    340
1950                        41.9                                    400
2100                        44.6                                    500

LOA: 90’
BOA: 22’-3”
LWL: 79’ -3”
Draft: 6’-8” (half load)
Fuel: 6185 Gallon Capacity
Water Tank: 453 Gallons

-Water Maker: Village Marine 1600GPD PW1600M 220V & Village Marine: 1200 GPD PW1200M 220V Water Maker Capacity: 2800 Gallons per day
-Bow Thruster: 12” Trac 38 HP Bow Thruster
-Transmission: ZF9050V Gear Ratio 1.967:1A with trolling valves CL70
-Driveline: Centalink Drive Coupling System
-Gensets: 2 -38 Kw Northern Lights Generator M944T
-Miller Leaman Inc. Raw Water Strainer Filter System for Engines
-Custom Built K&N Air Filtration System
-5 Blade Veems; 47-571/2 Interceptors
-5 1⁄2 Propeller Shaft with custom stainless steel stern tube with intermediate strut system.
-Steering System: Custom built high performance swept back rudders with 5” rudder posts from ACY designs that the company has been building since the early 1990’s.
-Anchor System: Maxwell 4000 VW Windless with custom-built hydraulic fold out Anchor Deployment System.

                                   ACY 90’ C’est La Vie  Equipment List
Flybridge Equipment:
2-17” KEP Monitors
1-15” KEP Monitor
1-Garmin 7215
1-Garmin GSD26 CHIRP Digital Black Box Sounder
1-Airmar R599LH 3 KW Transducer
1-Garmin 6208
2-Furuno Navnet 3D MFDBB’S
1-Furuno 25 KW Digital Radar
1-Furuno 12 KW Digital Radar
1-Furuno FA50 AIS
1-Furuno DFF1 Digital Sounder
1-Furuno B164 Transducer
1-Furuno CH300 Searchlight Sonar
2-Furuno RD-33
1-Airmar 235KHZ Transducer
1-Furuno BBWX2 Sirius Weather
1-Simrad AP50 Autopilot
1-Carlisle and Finch Nightfinder Spotilght/IR Camera
2-Icom 504 VHF

Tower Equipment:
1-Garmin 6212
1-Icom 504 VHF

TV Dome

CCTV System:
3-Engine Room Cameras
1-Pump Room Camera
2-Underwater Cameras
1- DVR for cameras

-Complete vessel has Savant A/V integration. This allows control by I-PAD in all locations inside and out.
-All locations have access to DIRECTV US, DIRECTV GLA, BLU-RAY, APPLE TV, NAVAGATIONAL Sources.
-Each State room has a full selection of audio and video sources with in ceiling speakers.
-Salon has a Sony LED 60” TV with complete Surround Sound.
-Cockpit has a 32” Sony LED that drops down from the ceiling for viewing while seated on the mezzanine.
-Cockpit has 10 -JL Audio 770 Speakers and 2- 10” JL Audio Sub-woofers.
-Flybridge has the ability to watch and listen to all sources  A/V sources.
-Flybridge has 4- JL Audio 770 Speakers.


Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Sea Trials


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