Book Cover Shot


November 8, 2007


Northern Marine Tri-Deck Sorcha completes two-way Pacific Ocean crossing.

Northern Marine has announced that Sorcha, an all-composite 152-foot trideck motor yacht that the company launched as Lia Fail in 2005, has returned to its home port of St. Petersburg, Fla., concluding a 14-month odyssey that took its owners and their family across the Pacific Ocean and back.

While the voyage itself would be considered by many to be the adventure of a lifetime, and included port calls at the Galapagos Islands, the Marquesas, French Polynesia, Sydney, Palau, Tinian and other storied destinations plus a two-way transit of the Panama Canal, the undisputed highlight of the circuit was the birth in Auckland, New Zealand, of the owners' third child, a boy. Following a brief stay at a local hospital, the parents returned to Sorcha to resume the journey with their newborn and his sisters, 8 and 5 years of age.

Sorcha's skipper, Capt. John Thomas, reported that his yacht and crew performed exceptionally well throughout the expedition, which included ocean passages of more than 3400 nautical miles in length, in conditions that ranged from flat calm to 25'-30' beam seas. "This is a very easy boat to be proud of," he said. "We put boat and crew to an extreme test, and I couldn't ask for better performance from either." Thomas added that for all but the final segments of the cruise Sorcha towed a 33' Contender fishing boat, even then achieving more than enough range for the longest crossings.

The yacht's ambitious itinerary mirrored the owners' vigorous lifestyle, adventurous spirit and mastery of SCUBA diving and sport fishing. Many of the port calls included destinations favored by divers for their abundant marine life (Rangiroa and Australia's Great Barrier Reef) and historical significance (Yap Island, Tinian and Truk Lagoon), and by anglers for their rich populations of trophy species (Panama and Fiji, among many others). Still others offered a look into Pacific island cultures far removed from the Western world, and included visits to South Seas port cities of Papeete, Tahiti, and Nandi, Fiji, and to remote villages and sparsely populated atolls. Among Sorcha's more urban destinations were Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane and San Diego. During one passage, Sorcha paused in mid-ocean to allow family, children and crew to swim with passing whales.

Captain Thomas credited Northern Marine and Sorcha's designer, Ward Setzer, for the yacht's performance and suitability for long-range cruising. "First, the boat is massively seaworthy, and capable of long ocean crossings," he said. "It's also well designed, with great capacity for storing provisions, spares and extra gear. There was a place for everything, so passageways and living spaces were kept completely clear for everyone to enjoy." Thomas added that the yachts's resininfused composite construction kept maintenance to a minimum, enabling the crew to concentrate on vessel operations and service, and frequently to take part in activities and excursions.

The 14-month odyssey began in St. Petersburg, Fla., in July 2006 and concluded in September of 2007. The westbound leg featured stops at Belize, Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Marquesas and French Polynesia, continuing to Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and Palau. On the return leg, Sorcha called at Saipan, Guam, the Marshall Islands and Hawaii before returning to North American waters at San Diego and the home stretch to St. Petersburg, again via the Panama Canal. Captain Thomas estimated a total distance for the journey of nearly 40,000 nautical miles. "It's difficult to plot the total distance precisely because our route included countless side trips, crisscrossing among islands and shuttling from anchorage to anchorage," he said, "but that was the nature of the trip; a lot of spontaneity, unplanned port calls and at times a return to favorite places."

The longest nonstop passage, from the Galapagos Islands westward to the Marquesas, spanned some 3500 nautical miles, and was among seven crossings of more than ten days' duration. Shortly following its return to St. Petersburg, Sorcha departed for Fort Lauderdale, where it appeared in the late-October boat show there prior to a somewhat more sedate schedule of cruising domestic waterways through the end of this year.

About M/Y Sorcha

Launched in mid 2005 as Lia Fail, the 152' tri-deck displacement motor yacht Sorcha features resin-infused composite construction. With exterior styling and interior arrangement by Ward Setzer, Sorcha accommodates an owner's party of ten in four guest staterooms and a main-deck full-beam master suite. Crew quarters include four double-bunk staterooms forward on the lower deck, an engineer's cabin aft of the engine room, and a double captain's suite adjacent to the bridge-deck wheelhouse. Twin Caterpillar 3512B engines provide propulsion. Maximum beam is 29' 5", and the yacht draws 7' 6".

About Northern Marine

Northern Marine Industries, Inc., is a leading builder of high-quality motoryachts and long-range cruisers ranging in length from 57' to 151'. A pioneer in the application of resin infusion composite technology, Northern Marine produces vessels of superior strength and low weight compared to those built using conventional methods. Since opening its doors in 1995 the company has built and delivered more than 25 yachts to 152' in length, one of which has completed a circumnavigation voyage and another, a two-way trans-Pacific crossing.

In addition to lamination and manufacturing operations, Northern Marine maintains an in-house woodshop, metal shop and design department. The yard currently employs about 50 people.

For additional information contact:

Randy Cowley
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
310 34th Street
Anacortes WA 98221
360 299 8400