Q&A with Dan Streech, President and Co-Owner, Nordhavn Yachts
What was the impetus behind Pacific Asian Enterprises’ beginnings?
Our earliest days at PAE involved used boats (brokerage) of all kinds, but typically sailboats. We then began importing CT sailboats and the Transpac 49 from Taiwan—about 75 boats in total. We were importers only, and didn’t design or develop those boats.
In 1977, we commissioned Al Mason to design a 43-foot sailboat for us. Copying what a few others were doing in those early days of boat building in Taiwan, we owned that design outright and commissioned a Taiwan builder (Ta Shing Yacht Building Company) to build the molds, which we owned. By owning the molds we were able to “brand” the boats as ours and control the marketing, distribution, quality, and service. After the success of the Mason 43, Al designed three other models for PAE (the M63, M33, and M53). Jeff Leishman joined the company in 1982 as a junior designer and updated each of the original Mason designs to the “4 series” models. Over a period of 18 years, we built and sold 212 Masons. Nearly all of those boats are still in service today and have become beloved icons. The Nordhavn 46 was designed in 1987, with the first boat being completed in 1989. At that time, it was commonly believed that the only way to cross oceans was on a sailboat. After years of motoring sailboats around, especially our largest Mason, the M63, we began to understand the dynamics of fuel burn and the open ocean behavior of a long-keel ballasted, heavy boat, which was powered at displacement speed. This then made the teachings of Robert Beebe as put forth in his book, Voyaging Under Power, perfectly understandable, and the light turned on.
It is now clearer in hindsight than it was at the time, but Jim Leishman just connected the dots that were invisible to others and the N46 was designed by Jeff as his first complete design and the Nordhavn line of boats began. Little did we know at the time that we were
changing the course of history. The N46 was built by South Coast Marine which subsequently, along with Ta Shing, became the builder of many of the Nordhavn models to follow. Twenty-nine and 39 years later, respectively, those two builders are still our trusted partners. They only build for PAE and we only buy from them. Those relationships are treasured by both sides and are rare (maybe a record?) in the mercurial world of boatbuilding. The first circumnavigation aboard a Nordhavn was completed in October 1995. The boat was N46 #10 named Salvation II, owned by Jim and Suzy Sink. Even then (6 years after hull #1 was built), it was still not commonly understood that small powerboats could cross oceans. That circumnavigation was a huge leap forward in the awareness. You recently returned from the Nordhavn2AK Rally, in which over 30 boats convened in southeast Alaska for several days of seminars and socializing. What was your biggest takeaway from attending this event? I was humbled and bursting with pride. I was there as the President of PAE, but in fact, I was a minor player in the event, which was owner-planned and organized. The power of the “Nordhavn world” is immense, huge, and now much bigger than PAE itself. We started it, but it has taken on a life of its own. The social network amongst Nordhavn owners is very powerful. The owners are wonderful and passionate and dedicated to a lifestyle that their Nordhavns have made possible for them. With 537 Nordhavns now built and cruising the world, every day is a boat show with friendly owners around the world showing off their boats and demonstrating the lifestyle that has been made available. I have always preached that it is difficult to have money, good health, and time, all at the same time. Today however, many people have accomplished that at the very same time that Nordhavns have come of age with miracle products built in: superb communications, safety, luxury, and comfort that exceeds what many of the owners enjoy on land. It has fueled a revolution.
Dave, I wish it were that simple. There are so many variations of copper-based alloys that it becomes difficult to draw clear delineations. You are correct that the basic difference between brass and bronze has to do with tin vs. zinc, but you can’t count on the terminology. Take manganese bronze, for example, which might contain 25 percent zinc or more. Despite the name, it is technically a brass. And silicon bronze, the gold standard of copper alloys for use on boats, has no tin but may have up to 1 percent zinc present in the alloy. Your statement about the dangers of brass below the waterline is right on the mark, but keep in mind that even bronze alloys can suffer and should be protected with sacrificial anodes and proper bonding (wooden boats are another story).— Steve Zimmerman
RE-HITTING THE BRICKS
Readers may find these two tales of electronic chart problems of interest along with another story that predates GPS and electronic charts.
About 10 years, ago we took our boat, Ranger, a Kadey-Krogen 70, from Seattle to the west coast of Vancouver Island. My wife, Carol, and I were the crew. After getting to Barkley Sound we poked around for a few days and then anchored in Pipestem Inlet.
The water was perfect anchoring depth, water temperature about 70¡, eagles were flying, black bears were around, the sun was shining, and all was right with the world. But, according to the raster