By Jeff Merrill, CPYB

In January 2014, Jim and Joyce Brown closed the deal to finalize their purchase of the Nordhavn 47 known as Eden and now called Sequel. An appropriate “encore” of a name for the important next chapter in their lives. Jim is a staff commodore of the Los Angeles Yacht Club (which means Joyce has been with him every flag up the pole) so I can safely say they have been around the waterfront. Jim and Joyce have a lifetime of sail boating experience and this is their first trawler.

Sequel has been waiting patiently in Emeryville as the Browns have made a few road trips from Southern California to load up their gear and get ready for a cruise to the Pacific Northwest.

Share This Story!

They’ve also been able to take some time at the dock to slowly investigate their new world afloat. Taking ownership of a larger ocean capable trawler like a Nordhavn 47 can be a bit overwhelming. There are dozens of crucial systems to learn; windlasses, thrusters, crane, main and wing engines, generator, air conditioning and even household features like clothes washing and toilets which are different on boats in how they fill up on board tanks and need to be watched. All of the normal kitchen/galley appliances need a deeper understanding (how do I turn off the propane?) and need special attention to ride through rough seas and still do their job. Trash compactors are common on trawlers, but if you haven’t used them before where do you get replacement bags? The electrical system – shore power supply with breakers and an electrical panel with dozens of switches…these are a few examples of some of the many important “boat systems” you need to understand and become familiar when you move aboard a trawler and are getting ready for some cruising. Quite simply you need a basic understanding of how everything works and then you need to become a proficient operator.

In April, 2014, I flew up to Oakland (Emeryville) for two days of “trawler training”. We had agreed to this during our purchase negotiations. I look forward to these training sessions and find that they work better a few months after the sale is complete so that the new owners have a chance to move aboard and have some time to figure out a few things on their own and develop a list of questions. The sellers, Adam and Eve, (remember the previous boat name was Eden) have been a huge resource for Jim and Joyce to tap and have been very generous with their time to help with the transfer of knowledge that has to occur in a trawler sale like this. Adam and Eve have been incredibly helpful throughout this whole process and the positive buyer/seller relationship is something that really helps to make the whole transaction move smoothly.

Alameda had warm spring weather in April and the Browns had successfully moved aboard and have a great handle on the boat. Most of the Browns belongings have now found their new homes on board and Sequel is packed up and ready for takeoff.

It is always very satisfying to see a couple so excited and so easily acclimated to their new trawler. There is a steep learning curve to figure out the important details in preparation for the trawler lifestyle. Joyce has set up home and Jim has set up shop. They really are a complimentary team and have taken to the adjustment from sail to power quite naturally.

My goal was to review the various check lists I had prepared for them and to also impart dozens of helpful hints and tips I have picked up and developed during all of my time at sea.

While Joyce was busy organizing the interior, Jim and I started out in the engine room. We spent several hours talking about what you really want to accomplish during an engine room check and worked out “target” placement for recording temperatures using Jim’s infrared gun. It takes a few practice runs to develop your engine room routine and to establish a base line of what the “normal” settings are and what the key components to monitor are. Jim has tackled this project with enthusiasm.

After lunch the three of us gathered behind the pilothouse table to review check lists and talk in great detail about all of the subtle nuances inherent in a sophisticated trawler like a Nordhavn 47. Joyce is working on her knots and making some really cool macramé lanyards for Sequel.

That evening we went out for a two hour cruise on the San Francisco Bay to do some practice engine room checks and work on some boat handling. Jim and Joyce have their docking maneuvers well choreographed and communicate using Eartec headsets to make things smooth and quiet. I gave Jim a few boat handling pointers to practice and being the experienced yachtsman he is he was quick to adapt and soon it felt like he had been doing this for a long time. We relaxed during the evening, trading stories and after a big day it was nice to hit my bunk in the forward stateroom and sleep through the night.

The following morning Joyce cooked breakfast on board and we walked to the local Starbucks for some coffee. Back aboard we conducted more check list reviews and a “scavenger hunt” to locate the little secrets tucked away on board, like the locations of the anti-siphon vents and the GFCI outlet breakers. The three of us had a great time on board learning about the systems – toilets, bilge pumps, freshwater, thrusters, through hulls, etc. and sharing ideas on how to be efficient and stay ahead of maintenance issues. And then, all of a sudden, it was time for Jim to drive me back to the airport. The time moves quickly when you get so immersed, it’s a shame that time doesn’t ever stand still because we could have kept talking for days. Well, I guess that is what cell phone calls and emails are for.

It is going to be fun to stay in touch and hear how their travels go. The first big trip will be to drive under the Golden Gate Bridge and make a right turn towards Seattle. Along the way they will enjoy the elements with friends and family and share this fitting “Sequel” for two long time sailors. It should shape up to be a great first summer in a trawler.

Jeff Merrill, CPYB has developed an extensive system of check lists and training tips that he enjoys sharing with his clients. If you are in the market for an ocean going trawler and would like to have Jeff help you find, purchase and learn your boat, please send an email to  you can call or text him on his cell phone +1 949.355.4950. You can also follow Jeff on Twitter @merrillyachts. Jeff would love nothing more than to help you write/ride your very own Sequel!