John Brice - Soundings Online

John Brice

North Pacific 49 Restless , currently lying in Singapore
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LOA: 51 feet, 6 inches • BEAM: 15 feet, 4 inches • POWER: single 305-hp Cummins diesel • SPEED: 7 knots cruise • RANGE: 1,900 nautical miles at 7 knots • TANKAGE: 920 gallons fuel, 350 gallons water • CONTACT: North Pacific Yachts, Vancouver, British Columbia, (877) 564-9989. northpacifcicyachts.com

What was your scariest moment at sea? Traveling from Miri to Kuching in Malaysia. We waited almost four weeks for a good weather forecast because along this coast there is almost no shelter. Within about eight hours of setting out, we encountered an unexpected storm with 40-knot sustained winds, 50-plus-knot gusts and blinding rain, nonstop for more than 30 hours. The waves were huge, and my crew was so sick I had to stay awake at the helm the whole time. Because of the high headwinds, we were only able to make 4 knots burning 6.6 gph, while we normally go 6 knots and burn 1.6 gph. We eventually detoured 50 nautical miles out of our way to find shelter in a commercial port because I simply could not keep going.

 

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What can you tell us about your most memorable cruising moment? This is tough, as there have been many. When we were cruising in the Pacific Northwest near the Broughton Archipelago, we saw a large pod of around 50 of killer whales. They were heading our way, so we stopped the boat and turned off the engine. One large male headed directly for the boat. He surfaced for air about 30 feet away from our port side and then swam right under the swim platform, where we were standing. As he did, he rolled and looked right at us. It was amazing making direct eye contact with this huge whale just a few feet under our boat. It seemed in slow motion. It was incredible.

What are some challenges of long-distance passagemaking? In the United States and Canada we are spoiled, having such an abundance of boating facilities. In Indonesia, we found none of this, and getting fuel became a problem. There were many instances where we had to find locals willing to bring jerrycans and barrels of diesel out to the boat. Needless to say, you need to be self-sufficient and inventive when cruising in remote locales. Also, bring lots of spare parts. 

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue.