Here at Nordhavn Europe, we have the wonderful Deo Juvante, the Nordhavn 56 Motor Sailor out on the hard and on the brokerage market. She is an outstanding vessel and this was proven by her current owner Thierry Verstraete when he took a history-making journey on her across the Atlantic last year, all on his own!
Verstraete was the first ever person to cross an ocean alone on a Nordhavn. It was always his childhood dream to sail the Atlantic alone and he spent a lot of effort looking for the right boat to fulfil his dream. In January 2016 Verstraete brought Deo Juvante and began planning his trip.
Sailing has always been his lifestyle along with his second love, GTD sports car racing, in which he is a championship winning driver. In 2015 he decided to take a break from driving and focus on his dream of crossing the Atlantic. He built up his confidence in the boat and his team did well to quell any fears of being alone at sea for so many days. He worked closely with a friend who has achieved several solo trips and they put together a schedule and outfitted the boat to be ready for the trip. He also hired a weather router and worked with a cook to put together a meal plan for his journey.
His intention was to sail most of the way and to only use the motor when needed. At sea trial he was very happy with her performance as a sailboat; “I was surprised when she reached 8 knots, she really performs as a sailboat!” he said. He estimated that it would take him 25 days to get from Rhodes Island to Ostend, Belgium.
He set off early on the 30th June under clear blue skies on his epic journey alone! After 20 days at sea, a sudden glitch with the auto-pilot forced Verstraete to pull in to Azores for an unexpected layover. The auto-pilot is essential for sole travel and so he could not carry on his journey without addressing the problem. A technician from Portsmouth, who installed the auto-pilot, flew in to repair it and added a second auto-pilot to avoid the problem happening again. Verstraete spent two weeks exploring the island and catching up on some much-needed sleep. He family also flew in from Belgium to visit him while he stopped over.
He resumed his challenge of crossing the Atlantic alone on the 30th July with 1400nm remaining. Verstraete arrived in Ostend on the 9th August 2016 having completed his goal of crossing the Atlantic Ocean alone!
Verstraete kept the world updated on his travels by Facebook and wrote some reflective notes about his thought on the boat and its capabilities.
‘About the boat: Nordhavn MS56, this boat is great. The whole concept matches me. This “hybrid’ idea is ideal for long passages. I enjoy the nice, busy side of sailing and the qualities of a motorboat. This extended so much the range and safety of this concept. Great boat!’