Featured Nordhavn: N6220 Pendana

This month's Featured Nordhavn is N6220 - Pendana.  As you can see, I have changed things up a little.  I hope you enjoy the new format.  My sincerest gratitude goes out to James Ellingford for his participation in answering a few questions!

Why Nordhavn and why an N62? 


We were living in Switzerland at the time and I was about a year out from pulling the plug on my career and retiring. As Claire and I had owned something that floated most of our lives we were keen to start exploring what was available. We wanted a boat that could go anywhere (within reason), a safe boat, a tested boat, a boat that could be as practical in the harbour as in the middle of the ocean, a solid boat that didn’t rattle and roll when in deep water and boat that had the range for extended holidays away. Nordhavn, and the N62 model soon was on our short list.


What other N62’s did you look at before making the decision to purchase Pendana?  


None. Once we were convinced that the N62 was the boat for us, we started looking carefully at what was on the market to buy. Initially there was not much to choose from so we waited and waited for the right spec’d boat to come up.


Is there anything specific about Pendana that made your decision to buy Pendana over another N62 easier?  


Just about everything. Mickey Smith was the original owner of Pendana, then Discovery, and as most would know, he is a bit of a genius. Pendana at the time of production was Nordhavns most expensive boat ever built. Mickey, being the guru that he is had many changes to make to the electrical system, main power plant (ie Cummins not John Deere) and also had Pendana fitted completely with closed core panels. For those who don’t know, PAE were so impressed with Mickey, he ended up working for PAE for over decade overseeing some 250+ hulls. Owners post Mickey, loved Pendana, cared for her and importantly used her, so when she came up for sale, we had an offer accepted, sight unseen, within a few weeks of her being on the market. We knew instinctively that this was the boat we needed to buy.

If you could change one thing about Pendana or add something that you saw on another N62, what would you change and why?


Honestly, nothing. She is perfect. At a pinch would be nice to have dual helm chairs in the Pilothouse but other than that she is just perfect both in form and function. Hang on a minute, that’s not true! I would love a stand up engine room but alas with the N62’s low centre of gravity (“COG”) that is never going to happen.

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ADWORLD                      INFINITY
GHOST RIDER                PENDANA

On the other side of this same question, what is your favorite thing about the N62?


Low COG makes all the difference in uncomfortable conditions.


If you ever decide to upgrade from the N62, what is your first choice and why?


Interesting question, I guess maybe and aft pilothouse N68 or if you asked my wife the N86 is the way to go only problem with that is, our pockets are not deep enough.


Do you have a favorite destination you've been with Pendana? What made it special for you?


So far probably Hawaii! We loved Hilo and we are really enjoying Honolulu. I guess it is special for us as it is proof that we actually made it here in the first place which is a miracle! It’s a long way from Sydney, Australia that’s for sure.


What is your biggest worry when you are at sea?


While at sea, none, prior to leaving I am always worried the main engine is going to stop and due to my serious lack of knowledge I will be unable to get her going again. So far our Cummins N14 has not missed a beat and fingers crossed it stays that way!


What about when you are at anchor?


Again, nothing really. Claire and I always have plenty of scope out (never shorter than 5:1) and we never anchor in too close so always have plenty of time and room to swing. I understand this will change when we hit the PNW so standby things may change fast!


What do you think has been your biggest mistake during your ownership of Pendana?

Going to the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney Harbour! There were so many boats crammed into the harbour it is a miracle to this days how someone didn’t drag their anchor into us. It was a great night and something that has to be done once, but certainly not twice as once a year boaters make for dangerous companions.

What about your biggest triumph?


Pulling into the Waikiki Yacht Club here in Honolulu. To think that we actually managed all the things that needed to be managed and that our family alone got here from Sydney Australia to the USA is still something that I consider a bit of a miracle. 

Now that you have owned Pendana for four years+ what would you say is the best advice you could give to a potential first-time Nordhavn owner?


Understand that the learning curve is steep and remember that if I can do it, then anyone can. Don’t rush coming to terms with your boat but rather take your time slowly. Docking is not an Indy500 sport event there is no rush – the slower the better in my book and finally don’t ever tell your wife what do!

Who is James Ellingford? Please tell a little about yourself.

I used to be a corporate guy in the gaming business. I think am pretty relaxed, although my wife, the beautiful Claire, wouldn’t agree, managed to retire at 42 after working 24/7 for 25 years and burning it from both ends, very focused and probably like most execs a typical A1+ personality. I enjoy all facets of boating especially the challenges that present themselves and the ability so far to overcome them. Love my family and am forever grateful that Claire and the girls are willing participants in what I sometimes think is total madness – that said, wouldn’t change it for the world!


Who in the boating world has made the biggest impact on you?


If there were one person, as there have been many, it would have to be Ken Williams. Ken’s book “Cruising an Ocean Under Power” is a classic and his style seemed to be very similar to mine. I remember distinctly chatting to Ken prior our departure from Australia to Vanuatu telling Ken, if this doesn’t work out mate, it’s on you. I think Ken is relieved as we are that we have come so far and he is now officially out of the frame!


Why would you say that Ken Williams has made an impact on you personally?


A couple of things, 1./ he was always available to take my calls prior to finding Pendana and was never in a rush and 2./ here was a guy, who seemed to be pretty much like myself who was doing it, so I guess he did in some weird way give me the courage to follow the dream and to simply press on. Having people like Ken about, and it must be said, countless others, is a huge benefit to global cruisers.


I have your book, “From Family to Crew” on my list to buy this year. Please take a moment to talk about your book. What can readers expect to find in the book that’s not in the description on Amazon? Any plans on another book?


From Family to Crew is in all reality a no bars hold, brutal assault on ones sensors of what it really means to own one of these little ships.   I held nothing back and said it as it was. The book talks about our first year owning Pendana and the learning curve we went through until finally feeling totally comfortable with her and her systems. All photos are in full colour which meant it was damn expensive to print but I reckon worth every cent!! I would say that of course!

com was recently named as the Blog of the Month by Nordhavn.com. Congratulations! It is easy to see why it was chosen. Your blog is an excellent representation of what Nordhavn is all about.


The blog is as much for my family and friends as it is for general consumption. I figure its appeal, or lack thereof, is based on that I try to be brutally honest in all my reporting. The fact that I can’t change a 300amp fuse for example is not a point of shame but rather a point of fact. These facts, laid out hopefully help others learn, as well as myself which I guess is the important thing. Pendanablog has grown readers and followers over the years which is great but the main aim of the blog is really to be an electronic journal of our time aboard what is the magnificent vessel, Pendana.


For my last question, let's have a little fun: You are CEO of PAE/Nordhavn for a day with full authority and any decisions you make are guaranteed to be completed - what would you do?


I would give James Ellingford the loan of a nice new N86 for the next ten years, all expenses paid!

 Would you like your prized Nordhavn to be the next featured vessel on the NordhavnRegistry?  Please click here to apply.
This page will be updated monthly starting November 1.


Roger 11/3/2015

Love pendanablog.com has to be one of the best sites around.  Good to see the tables being turned and you doing the interview on him.  Well done.


---Reply posted by Geoff on 11/3/2015
Thank you! I enjoyed interviewing James!