After almost 10 years of research, we decided early in 2015 to speed up our search for a Nordhavn . We narrowed it down to two models, the N55 & the older N57. Both models had features in their favor but our preference was a N55. In October of 2014 I had flown out to Dana Point for the day to take a look at N5516, a boat called Starfish. It was interesting for a number of reasons; it was initially commissioned as a platform for extended scuba diving expeditions. As a result it had a very high end dive compressor with nitrox, the full commercial hydraulics package and lots of redundancy. Along with a wing engine to back up the large main, it had twin generators, twin water-makers, twin auto-pilots and lots of duplication in the electronics. An extended swim platform, heavy duty swim ladder, a hardtop over the fly-bridge and the front cabin turned into two separate sleeping areas all added to its appeal. But the asking price was high and we decided to wait, and watch, it had been on the market for almost a year. Shortly after our trip the listing expired, the boat was listed with Frazer Yachts and moved to their office in San Diego.
During the spring and early summer I had a number of conversations with our broker at Nordhavn, Andy Heagly. For 10 years Andy had been our guide through the Nordhavn brokerage scene, always willing to respond to questions and occasionally calling with an update on the market in general or a tip on a specific boat; now it was time to accelerate the contacts. We narrowed in on two boats, N5516 still in San Diego and a N55 in Florida. The boat in Florida has less of our ‘dream’ equipment list but it was listed for significantly less AND it was already on the East Coast. By early summer the listing price on the Florida boat was dropping in big amounts about every 2 weeks; after a drop in late June Andy and I talked and decided to submit an offer the next day after he had done another walk through of the boat. But by noon the boat had two offers that looked strong. We took another look at all of the N55’s on the market, turned our sights west, took a gamble and put in an offer on N5516. With a little back and forth we agreed on a price and scheduled the survey and sea trial for August.
In early August my two brothers and I flew out to San Diego for the Survey and sea trial. The plan was to get an early start on the survey on Thursday, then the seal trial, haul the boat out for more of the survey work and then finish the survey on Friday. The history of the boat was very interesting, after significant use by two different owners it had sat mostly unused for almost 2 years. So the survey and sea trial pointed out a number of things that needed refreshing, correction or replacement. Almost anything that had contact with sea water needed work, from the raw water pumps on 3 of the 4 engines (the main is dry exhaust & keel cooled, the 2 generators and the wing engine are not) to the frozen seacocks to the propeller shaft on the main engine – this last one was a big concern. The davit was completely inoperable, and all of the various filters and fluids were very due for replacement. With the final reports in hand we finished the sales negotiations and at the end of August purchased the boat during an offshore delivery, coordinated with great skill (and apparent ease) by our maritime attorney in San Diego.