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The Visual Sea - 16 Feb 2000

Visual Sea (February 2000, Anacortes, Washington)

Significant Dates

  • 16 Feb 2001: Visual Sea in Fort Lauderdale
  • 20 Jan 2001: Loading aboard Super Servant 3
  • 17 Jan 2001: Anacortes to Vancouver trip
  • 12 Dec 2000: Bob Meng training day 4: docking, backing, radar, simulated fire
  • 11 Dec 2000: Bob Meng training day 3: docking, simulated sinking, loss of steering, engine won't start
  • 27 Oct 2000: Bob Meng training day 2: docking (position, pivot, stop)
  • 26 Oct 2000: Bob Meng training day 1: systems (engines, electrical, seacocks)
  • 13 Sep 2000: Seattle to Anacortes trip; Ballard Locks
  • 7 Sep 2000: Returned to water, Seaview Boatyard, Seattle
  • 5 Jul 2000: Seattle Marine, Lake Union, Seattle to Seaview Boatyard, Seattle
  • 9 Jun 2000: Elliott Bay Marina via Ballard Locks to Seattle Marine, Lake Union, Seattle
  • 14 Apr 2000: Anacortes to Elliott Bay Marina, Seattle; rough seas.
  • 7 Apr 2000: First Family Overnighter
  • March 2000: 3 Small Trips
  • 7 Mar 2000: First Dinghy Drop
  • 12 Feb 2000: First Family Trip
  • 7 Feb 2000: First Solo Trip
  • 5 Feb 2000: First Circumnavigations
  • 19 Jan 2000: Friday Harbor Trip with Dave Harlow
  • 31 Dec 1999: I Would Rather Not Talk About It
  • 29 Dec 1999: Shakedown Cruise: Tacoma -> Anacortes
  • 22 Nov 1999: Second Sea Trial
  • 19 Nov 1999: First Sea Trial
  • 18 Nov 1999: Christening and Launch, Modutech, Tacoma, WA
  • 1 Oct 1999: Ship arrives on truck at Tacoma.
  • 8 Sep 1999: Turkish freighter with hull #64 runs into dock at Portland.
  • Feb 1999: Hull begins being laid down, Taiwan.
  • 20 Apr 1998: Talk with Jim Leishman, bought hull #64.
  • 22 Nov 1997: Beth and I decided to buy a boat.
  • 30 Mar 1997: Began researching Nordhavns.
  • Personal History

    I have wanted to sail around the world since I was young. I took Coast Guard navigation classes in high school and studied celstial navigation for decades, but it wasn't until the 1990s that I began sailing with my good friend Mike Holm. The dream quickly materialized: sell everything and sail around the world! (Sailing resume)

    One problem: my wife didn't want to live on a sailboat! She enjoyed day sailing, but the sailboats we had seen were too small and living life heeled over 30 degrees just wasn't going to cut it for her. I discovered Nordhavns in the early 1990s and came back to explore them, and after visiting Pacific Asian Enterprises (aka Lamest Yacht Sales, aka the Nordhavn people) in Dana Point California in February of 1998, I ordered our Nordhavn 46 trawler in April of 1998. It was to be hull #64. These boats have been made since the late 1980s and have more blue water circumnavigations than any other power boat made.

    These boats are called trawlers because they are slow, i.e., they go less than 10 mph! However, their full displacement hulls allow them to get actual miles per gallon instead of gallons per mile, and they can actually go anywhere in the world as a result. Performance specifics are below.

    Visual Sea is begun...

    It wasn't until February of 1999 that the ship began to be built in Taiwan. We were to take delivery of our boat back in the summer of 1999 and bring it up the Pacific coast. This was not to be. The large container ship delivering our boat from Taiwan happened to hit a dock near Portland in mid September 1999. Fortunately our ship was okay, but this event caused our trip up the Pacific coast to be scrapped, and it moved our commissioning of the boat to Tacoma from Dana Point, California. It came from the Portland dock to Tacoma on a truck.

    Here is the final interior layout of our particular Nordhavn, N4664:

    Nordhavn 46 #64 Floor Plan

    The Name

    It is hard to name a boat! We liked Archimedes, Tigress, Liahona, and others, but we kept coming back to a name that my brother-in-law thought up: Visual Sea. This name ties into her genesis, because I was brought to Microsoft to work on a product called Visual C++, which is informally called Visual C.

    Note to programmers: I greatly prefer C to C++. I'd rather use Perl than C++ if I wanted to use a write-only language.

    Specifications and Technical Details


    Length overall:

    45' 9.25" + swimdeck

    Length, waterline:

    38' 4.0"

    Beam, maximum:

    15' 5.0"

    Beam, waterline:

    13' 8.5"


    5' 0.0"


    37' 2" from waterline to top of foremast


    48,320 pounds; approximately 60,000 pounds loaded

    Fuel Capacity:

    1,300 US Gallons

    Water Capacity:

    300 US Gallons

    Primary Power:

    Lugger L-6414D 6 cylinder inline 4 stroke diesel (L668D)


    143 HP @ 2500 RPM


    414 cu. in. (6.78 L)


    4.19 in x 5.0 in

    Compression Ratio:




    Backup Power:

    27 HP Yanmar diesel engine


    Ketch sailing arrangement


    8 kW Northern Lights diesel generator

    Fuel Consumption:

    Engine Speed
    Fuel Consumption
    Specific Consumption
    Available Power

    1200 RPM

    1.0 gal/hr

    0.394 pounds/hph

    15 SHP

    1400 RPM

    1.3 gal/hr

    0.390 pounds/hph

    24 SHP

    1600 RPM

    2.0 gal/hr

    0.382 pounds/hph

    35 SHP

    1800 RPM

    3.0 gal/hr

    0.380 pounds/hph

    50 SHP

    2000 RPM

    4.0 gal/hr

    0.385 pounds/hph

    69 SHP

    2200 RPM

    5.2 gal/hr

    0.395 pounds/hph

    93 SHP

    2400 RPM

    7.0 gal/hr

    0.408 pounds/hph

    121 SHP

    Speed / Range:

    Speed (knots)
    Range (NM)

























    Hull Construction:

    Hand laid GRP single series of laminates with transverse and longitudinal stringers. Hull fitted with heavy full-length fiberglass and stainless steel rub strake.

    Deck Construction:

    Hand laid GRP with a vertical end grain balsa core in all horizontal surfaces and "divincel" foam core in all vertical surfaces. Standard boat to have diamond pattern non skid on deck surfaces.


    A single Lugger 143 HP diesel with fresh water keel cooling and commercial type stainless steel dry exhaust system. Hydraulic transmission with a 3 to 1 reduction gear propeller shaft is 21/4" stainless steel and a four bladed bronze propeller is standard. Dual lever Morse controls for transmission and throttle are provided at both stations. Deluxe engine panel with complete instrumentation and alarms for low oil pressure and high water temperature. Two 12 volt engine room blowers are standard: one that always operates, as well as an extra high capacity blower.

    Auxiliary propulsion:

    An auxiliary propulsion engine, a 27 HP Yanmar diesel, drives a Martec folding sailboat propeller. The auxiliary engine will push the vessel at approx. 5 knots and provide 50 amps of 12 volt battery charging capability. Location is in the machinery space under main salon.

    Bow Thruster:

    A 10 inch 24 VDC Trac dual prop American Bow Thruster provides ease of docking. Two jog lever style thruster control stations are provided, as well as a separate set of two 8D 12V batteries to supply the 400 A of current required to use the thruster. These batteries have their own 12V battery charger.


    An 8 KW Northern Lights generator is provided. Standard electrical system has provision for ship's AC. Service with appropriate switches, meters and breakers.

    Fuel system:

    Total capacity 1,300 gallons. Two fiberglass fuel tanks with external sight gauges. Large inspection plates and internal baffles. Fuel lines to be fuel certified reinforced rubber and "airquip" type fittings to absorb engine vibration. Two large Racor fuel filter/water separators deliver clean fuel to the engines.

    Steering system:

    Hydraulic steering system is standard. An emergency tiller is provided and stowed in the lazarette.

    Bilge pumps:

    One regular electric bilge pump with auto and manual switches along with a single hand operated Edson diaphragm pump are standard. In addition there is a second high capactiy automatic electric bilge pump in case of emergencies. Electric pumps are wired into red warning lights at the helm station warning of bilge pump operation.

    Fresh water system:

    300 gallons in five stainless steel tanks with selection manifold located in galley. Par pressure pump with seaward 11 gallon dual source water heater. Manual foot pump located in galley. Shower sump pumps in both owner and guest heads, as are flash water heaters for both showers. One 170 gallon per day 12V watermaker provides unlimited fresh water.


    Two 120 amp and three 200 amp 12 volt batteries are standard with one dedicated to engine starting. A 130 Amp engine alternator charges batteries underway and an 150 A inverter/charger handles them at dockside or when running the generator. A separate 40 Amp battery charger keeps the generator, main, and wing engine starting batteries topped off when dockside. The engine starting battery is isolated from the house batteries by a diode system which allows charging by one source. Ample AC outlets are provided throughout the boat including the cockpit and engine room. Plenty of 12V DC lights are positioned throughout. A halogen lamp illuminates the foredeck while a pair of spreader lights light the upper aft deck. Red theater lighting illuminates the interior of the boat at night, especially the stairs. Reading lights are available in the pilothouse, the salon, and over all berths.

    Visual Sea 12V circuit diagram



    General exterior:

    All exterior hardware are high grade, electropolished stainless steel. All opening ports are of stainless steel. All window frames are fabricated of stainless steel.

    More details and photos...

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    Created:  29 Mar 1998
    Modified:  5 Mar 2001