The boat

Alchemy at anchor in the Bahamas

Alchemy is a 72 ft (22 m) forward pilothouse Nordhavn long range trawler, built in Taiwan and delivered to its first owner in 2005. Nordhavns are designed for crossing oceans safely, reliably and comfortably and are therefore built very differently to most powerboats.
Alchemy weighs over 250,000 lb (110,000 kg), carries over 4,500 gallons of diesel and has a maximum cruising range of around 4,500 nautical miles, enough to cross any ocean with plenty of reserve. Average cruising speed is 8 knots, with a maximum speed of about 10 knots.
In contrast, a typical powerboat of a similar size (say a Princess 72 Motor Yacht) weighs less than half as much, normally cruises at over 20 knots, has a range of less than 300 nautical miles and is not comfortably (or even safely) usable as soon as the sea state becomes less than ideal. It is not that one boat is “better” than the other, they are simply designed to do completely different things.

Tom and Alex on watch in the pilothouse – underway in the Bahamas

Alchemy is unusual even among Nordhavns because of the level of redundancy built into the boat. The original owner planned to cruise the higher latitudes and insisted on numerous modifications to the standard design. She has two Detroit Diesel 400hp engines that are rated for continuous 24/7 duty, two 800 gallon per day Village Marine watermakers, two Northern Lights generators, two independent anchoring systems (one hydraulic and one electric), two Furuno radar systems, two independent electronic charting systems, two satellite compasses, two completely separate Simrad Commercial auto pilot systems (incl. separate hydraulic steering pumps), two fuel transfer pumps, two air conditioning compressors, two air conditioning pumps, two of almost every other pump etc. Every critical system is duplicated so that if something breaks, it normally means that a backup is immediately available and can be working within minutes. This very comforting when 1000 miles from land!

Hauling out for survey – note the stabiliser fins on each side and dual anchors

Alchemy is also a very comfortable home – heating and air conditioning, unlimited hot showers, a full size galley with Sub-Zero appliances, four spacious staterooms with en-suite shower rooms and plenty of room for water toys, including two tenders, two SUPs, a kayak, scuba compressor and much much more. Crucially, she is also fitted with a highly effective hydraulic stabilising system made by ABT-TRAC that prevents rolling even in a large beam sea. Comfort on board underway is excellent, a big advantage compared to a sailboat, particularly for those prone to feeling seasick.

Dinner on the flybridge, with steaks and corn cooked on one of the two BBQs