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Nordhavn fleet makes Bermuda

The Med Bound 2007 participants are dogged by weather on their way to the island

The Med Bound 2007 participants are dogged by weather on their way to the island

Pushing ahead in 30-knot winds to avoid the full force of Tropical Storm Barry, a fleet of eight Nordhavns in early June completed a passage from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Bermuda during the first leg of the Med Bound 2007 trans-Atlantic rally.

“Weather has posed a major obstacle, but I think the participants are still having fun, and the event has been great for their confidence and overall experience,” says Jenny Stern, Nordhavn marketing director, in an e-mail to Soundings. (Med Bound is not an official Nordhavn event.) The group kicked off May 28 after a four-day delay due to another weather system producing high winds and seas.

Organized by Nordhavn 47 owners Milt and Judy Baker, Med Bound is a voyage in company that will take a fleet of long-range passagemakers from Florida to Gibraltar via Bermuda and the Azores. The Bakers came up with the idea after purchasing their Nordhavn, Bluewater, in September 2005. Milt Baker also was a member of the organizing committee for the 2004 Nordhavn Atlantic Rally, which saw a fleet of 18 passagemakers (mostly Nordhavns) cross the Atlantic from Fort Lauderdale, making stops in Bermuda and the Azores before finishing more than 40 days later in the Straits of Gibraltar.

Nine Med Bound Nordhavns originally set off from Florida, but a 50-footer named Downtime was forced to divert to Charleston, N.C., due to stabilizer problems, says Stern. The eight remaining boats are divided into two groups: five planning to depart Bermuda for Newport, R.I., and the other three heading to Horta in the Azores and finishing 3,800 miles later in Gibraltar in July. The Bakers plan to spend the next three summers cruising the Mediterranean.

The Bermuda departure was delayed by about a week, according to Stern, due to unfavorable weather. The Bakers had planned to leave Bermuda June 13. “Barometric pressure is down as another low pressure system hovers near Bermuda, bringing windy, squally weather — far from ideal weather for beginning another ocean passage,” writes Milt Baker, 66, in a June 11 posting on the Nordhavn Web site ( ). “Crewmembers are getting antsy because long delays were not in the original plan. While the yachts headed for the Mediterranean have crewmembers with open schedules, those returning to the U.S. have schedules to meet and we’re all seeing once more that schedules and ocean-crossing passages in small yachts do not make good bedfellows.”

Although Med Bound 2007 isn’t sponsored by Pacific Asian Enterprises — the Dana Point, Calif., builder of Nordhavn yachts — the company supports the rally, and officials hope the owners learn a lot from the experience.

“Overall, we are very pleased with the Med Bound rally,” says Stern. “It’s a testament to these owners that they can make these long passages. They are using their boats the way we envisioned buyers would use them: to see far-reaching corners of the globe. We hope their journey will inspire others to someday make similar voyages of their own.”