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Marten 80 NIMROD – Ship’s log from the azure Mediterranean

July 29, 2016

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NIMROD is a fabulous looking, fast and capable cruising yacht from Down Under. Originally hatched in 2001, 2012 saw a nautical makeover of epic proportions – virtually every system was replaced, and those that weren’t were zero houred. She has a fab carbon spar, super protected cockpit and a vast main saloon and warm, honey teak interior. She has been professionally maintained and we think that she is the business.

NIMROD is now offered for sale by Berthon –

http://www.berthon.co.uk/yacht-sales-brokerage/used-yachts-for-sale/vessel/226609/

Now back to the log – and the story so far…

From her home port in Monaco, NIMROD and her owners could not resist the opportunity to sail to St Tropez and to participate as Committee Yacht, as she has done so well before for the Bailli de Suffren; the only Mediterranean offshore race for classic yachts which runs from Malta via Sardinia and Sicily.

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NIMROD’s log – Leg 1 – St Tropez to Porto Rotondo

NIMROD arrived in St Tropez late on Thursday afternoon in readiness for the trip. Despite being a Committee Yacht and therefore out of the race as such, we still had to clear the mandatory safety inspection carried out by the Race Organiser. Needless to say, NIMROD did not let us down as safety wise, she is equipped ocean ready. From her easily accessible emergency steering to her class A medical kit, while not forgetting to mention twin life rafts, EPIRBs and 16 lifejackets, the inspection team ticked all the boxes in less time it took to drink a chilled jug of water full of fresh ice from the galley.

Our position in the St Tropez could not have been better. The mecca of French Riviera sailing, NIMROD was proudly moored in the old port, dressed overall and in walking distance of the best ice cream parlour in town. We did not look out of place amongst the glitzy super yachts, the classic sailing yachts and the A listers stopping at our stern to look at her.

As we assembled on the Friday night for the traditional dinner on the harbour wall, we stood, glass of rose in hand, looking at the sun set over the old harbour and were once again delighted by the sight of NIMROD with her mast towering above all others.

Having spent a delightful 48 hours moored in St Tropez, it was soon time head out to sea as the Committee Yacht. We watched the start, recovered the Race Director from his fast rib and set out on the first leg of some 200 nautical miles in the knowledge of a fast sail with a mistral pushing us along.

And what a ride we had, in the first 24 hours, we munched our way through 233 miles with one reef in the main and 2 in the furling jib. We could have gone faster, but we opted for comfort rather than speed as having put out the table cloth on the twin cockpit tables, we did not want to risk lunch nor dinner for that matter. And let’s not forget than NIMROD carried us along in these delightful sailing conditions while being fully loaded. From our numerous cruising toys, to our 5 tonnes of fuel and water and lets not mention the weight of the wine cellar!

By Sunday morning, we were cruising between the islands north of Sardinia, before having a brief look at Porto Cervo before tying up in Porto Rotondo and await the arrival of the fleet.

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NIMROD’s Log – Leg 2 – Porto Rotondo to Palermo

NIMROD docked last Monday in Porto Rotondo having completed the first leg of the race. We came into harbour in 30 knots of wind but our powerful hydraulic Lewmar bow thruster made reversing into the berth an easy affair for skipper and crew.

Having moored, our task was now one of finishing each one of the 9 yachts making their way to the harbour, which meant very little uninterrupted sleep for 36 hours. On the other hand, we captured a nice picture of NIMROD and our neighbour – a Swan 90.

Being alongside the Swan 90 and despite our relative smaller size, one could quickly appreciate the advantages of the Judel/Vrolijk design of NIMROD and the craftsmanship of the Marten yard. Despite the Swan having a larger cockpit due to her size, it felt exposed to the elements and lacked conviviality – it felt like two benches either side, high up on deck and with an unflattering set of tables. The life rafts were ungainly strapped underneath benches without any thought for design. Their canvas bimini being the only protection from the elements (unlike NIMROD’s permanent but sleek structure!). Our cockpit was something our neighbouring crew rapidly commented upon in early evening discussions.

Although the Swan is a majestic yacht, some of the finer details of NIMROD’s design soon became apparent when she was moored alongside such a well know brand. From our well protected helm stations with chart plotters, to the position of our primary and mainsheet winches to the location of our life rafts; all in all, we fully appreciated the safety, comfort and hospitality of NIMROD’s cockpit and deck layout.

Eventually, all good port stays come to an end, and we departed for Palermo some 290 nautical miles away. The forecast was for a stationary high pressure with no wind for the duration of the passage and therefore we decided to settle down to 6 knots under engine as not only this is ideal fishing speed but halves the fuel consumption to 6 litres per hour on the engine something our owner truly appreciates!!!

With air conditioning cooling the cabins, galley and saloon, fine meals were served from our extensive galley 3 times per day. If you can’t sail, then at least you can eat fine food, drink chilled wines and sleep in crisp sheets on sprung mattresses in cooled cabin with neither the engine nor generator noise interrupting the sound of the waves licking the hull.

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At sea, sun sets, shooting stars and sun rises are always spectacular. This picture was taken soon before our fishing success.

As mentioned above, our fishing effort was soon rewarded with a nice catch at 7 am and despite our fridge and freezer being well stocked, we still managed to fit the monster into our fridge and freezer. Luckily unlike modern refrigeration systems, we have a cold plate based system that allows one to put large quantities in the fridge or freezer at once without disturbing the temperature or creating an energy consumption spike.

Through the cold mass of the cooling plates, they ensure temperature stability whatever the circumstances. Our twin 240v compressor system (which runs from the inverter while at sea) not only gives 100% redundancy from system failure, and has the advantage of extremely low power consumption whatever goes through the fridge or freezer door!

After 2 nights at sea in our 5 star floating luxury, we arrived in Palermo – an ancient Sicilian town mixing western and eastern culture. An ideal stop over on our way to our final destination of the regatta – the ancient town of Valetta and Grand Harbour Marina. Our approach after sunset was easy as our two helm mounted chart plotters help navigation and landfall.

As we tied up in the old harbour, we resume our routine and track the arrival of the 9 classics. From this comfortable position, we await the classic in the knowledge that they certainly have had a hard passage with average speed of 4 knots.

As I sign off this log, the boom long sun-awning is being stowed in readiness for our departure to Malta.

NIMROD’s Log – Leg 3 – Palermo to Malta

Finally, it is time to move on for our final leg to the ancient city of Valetta – in the heart of Malta.

Due to the lack of wind, we motored with the fleet to Trapani, on the western tip of Sicily, to start the race prior to sunset. Once started, we led the fleet through the narrow and shallow gaps between the small islands and rocks of the Sicilian coasts. As we clear these and set course for Malta, we power up our powerful HD radar to help us detect and track small fishing vessels. Most of these being without AIS.

As one guest commented, although radar is a relatively old technology, it is amazing that is often detects a small vessel before we get in reach of its AIS signals. Needless to say, the combination of both enhance passage safety.

During the night, we feel the need for not only up to date weather but also to see how the competitors are progressing. For this, our fleet broadband satellite phone gives us more than adequate internet access. It is amazing how despite being out of sight of land, we are still able to surf the internet, answer emails and obtain weather!

As we jostle during the night with the large cargo ships going West to East and East to West in two distinct corridors, we relax in the knowledge that all our navigations lights are of the modern LED variety giving them bright indication of our presence. With both deck level lights and red over green sailing lights at masthead, we know that we will be seen!

After 24 hours of uneventful passage combining sailing, motoring and more sailing which brings us to Malta in less that 24 hours and as we approach the Island, we announce our approach to Valetta port control by VHF – it is amazing how far a VHF will reach when your antenna is some 33 metres above water.

Having completed these formalities, we furl for the last time on this trip our sail and make our way past the Valetta saluting station to find our berth in Camper and Nicholson’s Grand Harbour Marina. As soon as we are moored, we resume our internet tracking but this time using our 3G wifi router rather than the satellite based system.

Over the next 24 hours, the fleet gradually enter harbour and the last task of Nimrod as Race Committee is to calculate and print the results (yes we do have a copier / fax and scanner on board!) and remove from the saloon cupboards the hoard of prizes which we have brought from St Tropez.

From Malta, we will now leisurely cruise from Malta back to Monaco via the Sicily and the Messina straight, Sardinia and finally Corsica with its wild anchorages (who says that with 150 metres of heavy chain you can sleep soundly at anchor!) and Caribbean blue waters. And then a small trip from Monaco to Southampton.

After her tough sailing programme this summer, NIMROD will be joining us here at Berthon where she will be available to see, touch and write a cheque for…

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For further information about her ETA and an appointment to view contact sue.grant@berthon.co.uk.

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