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Guest Interview: John and Tracey aboard Pairadice Selene 47

by 5 Jul 2018 15:41 UTC
John and Tracey © Pendana Blog,

So, John, tell us a little something about your cruising to date and where you have been so far?

For the last three years, we have called Hayden Island in Portland Oregon our homeport. We cruised most of the Inside passage of British Columbia in 2016 from April through September. We travelled as far north as Kitimat, B.C. before turning around and spent more time cruising areas that we missed on the trip north. 2016's total was 3,362 NM.

In 2017 we travelled to South East Alaska primarily through the Canadian Inside passage again, from April through early October. We made many land falls along the way reaching as far as Skagway, AK then slowly travelled south fishing and exploring. 2017's total was 3952 NM.

Why did you choose Selene?

We started our search for a boat in 2008. After a year or two we pretty much decided we wanted a Trawler designed boat. About that time we met Jeff Merrill who was working for Nordhavn and of course we wanted a Nordy. The search was on.

In 2013 we decided to find the boat in earnest. By this time, Jeff started his own brokerage, he was our go to guy. We knew we wanted a 40-50 ft boat for our first "home on the water" only the market was very soft for Nordhavn's (in our size requirements) at that time. Jeff invited us to the Newport Beach boat show in 2014 where a few Nordy's may be available to view. As it turned out the Nordhavn inventory was pretty dismal. We were introduced to the Selene brand and after spending a few hours on a 55 ft. Selene, we became very interested in the Selene boat as a possible option. As our search continued hoping a 47 or 50 Nordy would come on the market, we spent a lot of time on Trawler Forum, learning everything we could about the various makes of ocean trawlers.

In the fall of 2014 many Selene's were available at the time, so we looked at them more seriously. In many ways, Selene's and Nordhavn are very similar, both are capable of crossing oceans, primarily single main engine, displacement hull and the craftsmanship, design, fit and finish are some of the best. Early 2015 we spent 6 serious weeks, viewing 14 yachts in the PNW, narrowed it down to three and found our Pairadice to be this Selene 47 in Portland.

What has been your cruising highlight so far?

Highlights so far has been the Pacific Northwest. Traveling the BC coast and into the SE Alaska, one can understand why so many can cruise this area year after year and never see it all. The glaciers, waterfalls, abundance of wildlife and diverse culture's were a joy. But by far, the fellow boaters we have met along the way would be the biggest highlight. I don't think we have met any cruisers where a friendship wasn't started and many have became close friends.

Do you travel with an animal/s on board?

This will be the first year that "Patches" our granddog (a Boston Terrier) will be on board as crew.

If you cruise with pets, do you have any fun stories about them (how you potty-trained them for the boat, or what they do while cruising?)

Our dog is adjusting well, considering she misses the southern Nevada warmth and sunshine.

What training or skillset would you consider a "must have" prior to buying a boat?

We think this depends on your boating background. We found presenting a "yachting resume" with our experience history helping with securing insurance coverage. We attended Trawlerfest and boat show seminars. For those just getting into the boating, we would suggest hiring an experienced Captain to gain confidence. Take as many formal training class's as you can find. We continually soak up as much information on weather as possible.

What upgrade do you most wish you could make to your boat?

Owning a boat is one continuous upgrade. Stabilizers would be our next major upgrade.

In your past life what did you and Tracey do?

John retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years in 1992, then became a Landscape Contractor and sold that business in 2015.

Tracey retired from her career in dentistry after 38 years in 2015 and spent 15 years maintaining two jobs, the second as an instructor at College of Southern Nevada.

John, if there is one thing Tracey does that irritates you while underway what would that be?

She has a problem storing enough sweet's aboard for my sweet tooth.

And Tracey, if there was one thing John does that irritates you what would that be?

One thing? The SS's (smoking cigars and snoring)

Onto irritating things, have you ever run out of something while at sea that has caused problems?

Once, after a rough night at anchor, we unable to make coffee. The coffee pot wasn't secured, and crashed to the floor. Took us three days to get to port and find a replacement. Since then, we always have a spare coffee pot on board. (We've been through four different pots in three years. John refuses to use instant).

What is the shortest trip you have made?

A short day cruise up the Columbia river.

What is the longest passage you have made?

Our Alaska trip last year, 171 days.

What have been the tallest seas and strongest winds you have encountered?

Cape Caution, July 2016 we got caught in 20 footers with 30 knot winds. That was a very long day.

If you didn't own your current boat, what boat would you like to own?

Next boat would be a 55-60 foot Selene or Nordhavn.

When you purchased your Selene, what were the key features you were looking for?

Safety, Sea worthiness, fuel economy, storage and livibility.

Would you describe yourselves as more hunters or more gathers?

John is a hunter, Tracey is a gatherer.

Why did you name your vessel Pairadice?

Our residence is Las Vegas, Nevada so we wanted something unique. You don't see very many boats out there with homeport of Las Vegas on the stern. It strikes up many conversations!

What other names did you consider?


What is the one lesson every boater should learn?

Understand and respect weather. We cannot stress this one enough. Just because the boat can handle just about anything, doesn't mean you should put yourselves through it. Also, try to never commit to schedules.

What is your favourite anchorage and why?

It is very hard to pick just one! We spent a lot of time in Red Bluff Bay, AK. The waterfall views, fishing (halibut, prawns and crabs) and wildlife (bears, whales, etc) were a constant. Khutze Bay, BC is also high on the favourite list.

Biggest surprises with your cost of ownership?

Maintenance and part replacement in far away places.

What is your favorite activity while aboard?

Socializing with like-minded people. Tracey enjoys photography.

What is your favorite Marina and why?

This is another very hard question. Impossible to pick just one! In consideration of our "favorites" the criteria includes amenities such as low rates, fuel, close proximity to shopping, dining, rental cars, boat repairs etc. That being said, we always looked forward to returning to Oak Harbor, WA (Whidbey Island) Port McNeill, B.C. and False Creek at Grandville Island, Vancouver, B.C.

What is your favourite quote and why?

"Never lost, just hard to find" quote by Capt. John Kretschmer, Tracey's cousin, aboard Quetzal (see

What's the funniest thing that has ever happened to you while at sea?

We were at Warm Spring Bay, AK (public dock). It was first thing in the morning when someone moored to our aft suggested we turn on the VHF, the Coast Guard Sector Juneau was trying to reach us. Apparently, Tracey's girlfriend in Colorado, lost track of us on her AIS tracking device, so she reached out to the USCG to make sure we were fine. Fine was an understatement at the time! We'd been hiking, soaking in the natural hot springs, enjoying pot luck fresh fish dinners and all the rest. Great story for that night's happy hour on the helicopter dock!

What's the biggest mistake you have ever made on the water?

Not putting fenders out on both Port and Starboard sides when docking.

What is your most hated boat job?

John – When I have to put on the Sanitation Engineer hat!

Tracey – Offering to help when it was time to rebuild the aft head, changing the macerator pump.

Tell us a little something about Pairadice?

Paridice is hull #14 of the popular 47 ft. series. She was launched in 2004. Her raised pilothouse with flybridge ensure great visibility while underway. Dual cabins with dual heads and easy access engine room were high on our list of must haves.

What is the one thing you are most afraid of?

John – Serious injury while off grid.

Tracey – Using the MOB procedure i.e. life sling

What's your favourite photo ever taken while at sea and why?

Sunset off the Washington coast as this was our first night passage.

What would you never leave behind (besides each other) when heading out to sea?

Tracey's First Responder Emergency Kit and the Bail Out Bags (we still lack an AED, that needs to be fixed!)

Tracey tell us something about yourselves that nobody knows?

John will always be an octane junkie (oh, everybody knows that) and I would like to develop my inner artist!

If you were to give one piece of advice to someone thinking of cruising the world, what would it be?

John, "Do it now! Don't wait!" Tracey, "Go for adventure!"

If you were advising someone as to the best area of the world to go cruising, where would it be, and why?

The Pacific Northwest is hard to beat. Crabbing, shrimping and some of the best fishing in the world. Even you James could catch fish in Alaska!

And finally, where to next?

This year we head up the Columbia and into the Snake River for a few months. Then we start prepping Pairadice for the journey south (Baja Mexico) next year. Ultimately the big U and maybe the great loop.

Thank you very much for your time, will be watching this year's progress closely.

Good luck with your travels!

Please visit here to read more about their travels

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