S/V S.N. Nomad

…was our boat from February of 2009 to September of 2018 and now belongs to Dr. Ed Stewart. She’s going to remain on our site indefinitely. She’s earned her spot.

…is a 1961 Phillip Rhodes designed, built in Denmark by Danboats “Chesapeake32” masthead-sloop rigged sailboat. She’s been owned, sailed, lived aboard,  and beautifully rebuilt and outfitted for the past 9 years by two well salted cruising sailors from the Puget Sound.

American Author-Dena Hankins

Captain Dena Hankins


…And James Lane


Our ship broad reaching through Roanoke Sound, winter 2017/18

  • L.O.A. 32 ft.
  • Beam: 8 ft.
  • Draft: 4 ft. 9 in.
  • Yanmar 3GM30F Diesel Engine
  • Water: 40 gal
  • Fuel: 25 gal
  • USCG Documented Vessel
  • 7ft Dyer Midget rowing dinghy “Tinker”

Winter 2014, Boston Harbor.

Double Reefed off Ocean View, VA.

…February 2018, Ocean View, VA.


Wing-On-Wing through Pamlico Sound December, 2018


Spring 2013, Burr’s Marina New London, CT


Summer 2012, Dutch Harbor, RI.

We bought  S/V Nomad in February of 2009 and sailed her up the Chesapeake Bay from Norfolk, Virginia, to Baltimore by December of that year. We spent 3 years outfitting and updating systems aboard then brought her through the Delaware Bay and up the Jersey Shore in 2012. We didn’t even make landfall until we got to Brooklyn, NY. on that trip, it was awesome, the boat was off the grid! From New York City we cruised all the way up to Angel Island, Maine located in the eastern reaches of the Casco Bay. We anchored in every gunkhole that we could in Long Island Sound, Buzzards Bay, through the Cape Cod Canal and all the way up to the Casco Bay and back. Finally we settled in for the winter that year on a dock in Noank, Connecticut, where we completely rebuilt the galley and saloon of the boat. We sailed her from New London, Connecticut, to Jersey City in the summer of 2013 and in the summer of 2014 (see a trend here) we sailed back up to Boston where we wintered that year. In 2015 as cruising editors for the Waterway Guide We sailed her Back up the New England Coast, Down East to Winter Harbor, Maine and as far south as Cape Fear, N.C.
We’ve been in familiar waters the past few years sailing S/V S.N. Nomad up and down the Atlantic ICW still as cruising editors for the Waterway Guide. This year, winter 2017/18 we sailed from Annapolis, MD to Hilton Head, SC and back logging 1110 miles on the ICW and the Chesapeake Bay, twice.

She’s an off shore proven safe and comfortable off-the-grid sovereign nation.


Fall 2013, NY, NY.


  • Charterplotter: Simrad NSS9 Evo2 MFD with 3G radar and an In hull Airmar P79 600w Transducer for the NSS9 Evo2 Sonar new in 2016
  • VHF Radio: Simrad RS35 AIS/VHF new in 2015
  • S/H Handheld VHF
  • Handheld Garmin 70 GPS

The 12 volt electrical system runs all the electronics during over night passages without strain.  The Simrad NSS 9 Evo2 draws very little power, about .8 amps with the radar and sonar transmitting and the AIS receiving.  I know, right?!?


The radio is awesome it feeds the AIS information directly to the chartplotter via a NMEA 2000 backbone.  With an antenna on top of the mast, it gets the job done.


We run our entertainment off a computer that gets its power directly from the house battery. No interference or inverter distortion, it works perfectly.


We’ve completely rebuilt the entire electrical system, which works off the grid at anchor or at the dock with pretty much the same level of efficiency… It’s awesome!

  • 2 8D AGM batteries (one Port one Starboard) and a Group 24 starting battery
  • Solar Panels: 350 watts, all Monocrystalline panels
  • Wind Generator: Airbreeze 400 watt
  • 60 amp alternator on the Yanmar 3Gm
  • Blue Sea 10 pos D/C panel
  • LED lighting, Stem to Stern
  • Rule 3700 GPH 12volt bilge pump
Our new Solar Stik

In alternative power, Nomad has 150 watts of solar panels amidships (Two 75 watt Siemens, monochrystalline panels mounted for reticulation over the trunkhouse, and two 50 watt fixed panels attached to the hard dodger) fed through a single Blue Sky Solar Boost MPPT charge controller. She has a Solar Stik aft with two 50 watt BP monochrystalline panels with its own Blue Sky MPPT controller and an Airbreeze wind generator. All of the above charging 2 banks of 8D batteries that alternate running the house, the system works perfectly and both house batteries were new the Summer 2017.


Fall 2013 Jersey City, NJ.

We ripped out the too-many-times taped fucked together wiring, some original from 1961 and much more twisted in along the way.  Rewiring was done with Ancor marine tinned-copper wire, mostly 14 gauge duplex.  Blue Seas 12volt 10-Pos DC panel (new in 2016) replaced a perfectly good Blue Seas 8-Pos Panel we bought in 2011.

Before: The Old-New System… (We’re constantly updating this thing!)

Out With The Old



Under the hood:

The Electrical Terminal Panel


Dist Panels

And the system is properly grounded and distributed.


We have 18 LED clusters for house lights… It’s nice and bright down there!


  • Refrigerator: Norcold 4.6 CF, 12v or 120v, new in 2013
  • Seaward Marine propane 3 burner stove and oven
  • Pressure and foot pedal fresh water

A new, well, pretty new (June 2013) Norcold 4.6 cf, 12 volt fridge that can carry a whole 12-pack of cans and the ingredients for your favorite dip, etc. It also makes ice in the freezer compartment!

…Because, Ice made from the sun is better than any other kind!


S/V Nomad comes equipped with a three burner propane stove with oven that makes the best pizza in the world.

Galley Open

And when you’re in need of lots of counter space:


The galley has many storage spaces.


A SHURFlo 12 volt Smart Sensor fresh water pump (the good one, it’s so quiet!) with a whale Gusher  foot pump for saving power. Those two pumps pump fresh potable water from the integral 40 gal tanks.

Rebuilding and Repairing

We also gutted and completely redesigned and rebuilt the interior of this boat from the head (forward of midships) all the way to the aft bulkhead and we both think she’s a very smart cruiser because of our improvements.

We rebuilt the mast in 2011 and pulled it and rewired it again in 2012 for the radar.

We re-cored the cockpit in 2011 with AZEK and West Systems Fiberglass and Epoxies.

We re-cored and rebuilt the deck under the mast in 2012 and rebuilt the supporting bulkhead under the mast, down below using West Systems Fiberglass and Epoxies.

We installed new stantions and life lines in 2012 using 3/16 S/S and 12 strand Amsteel line.

We’ve hauled the boat six times in the seven years we’ve owned her and in 2017 sand blasted the bottom, epoxy-barrier coated and painted the bottom with 4 coats of Petit’s water based eco-stuff, so far so good.


Summer 2012, Norwalk, CT.


The sailing rig is simple to understand and reefs easy. We have a smooth-running Genoa roller furler by Schaffer 1100 and a hoist-at-the-mast main. The Genoa was new with the roller furling rig in 2006 and the 7.5 0z Dacron tripple reef mainsail was new in fall of 2017.  The sail covers are black and in good shape.  The mast is aluminum and deck stepped.

North Sails

Summer 2010, Chesapeake Bay

Nomad has two well-sized, two-speed, self-tailing, bronze Barient winches and two old-fashioned ones in the cockpit.  The three on the mast are also of the old-fashioned Merryman-style.  Easy to clean and impossible to destroy, the old ones are.

Anchor System

  • Starboard anchor: 35lb CQR w/227 feet of 3/8 3Bchain and 300 ft of ¾in rode
  • Port anchor: 25lb Bruce Claw w/25ft of chain and 100ft of rode
  • Stern anchor: 13lb Fortress w/ 25ft of chain and 100ft of rode
  • Simpson Lawrence High-Speed Windlass

We built and installed a dual anchoring system in 2012 with a newly installed S/L Highspeed manual windless. This boat is not only easy to anchor with either system, I’m telling you, it’s fun!  Both bow anchors have rollers and either can be used with the windlass.


Summer 2013, New London, CT.

It’s true – we’re on a mooring ball in this picture.  But it’s the best view of the whole system, so there it is.

I (Dena) spliced an eye on one end and a carabiner on the other end of two large three-strand lines and we use these for a bridle, either using a soft shackle through chain or a stainless o-ring with line.


Summer 2012, Norwalk, CT.

Tiller steering leads to the big ol’ rudder.  The main sheet rig is a couple of very nice Garhauer blocks and Yacht Braid line, for the happiness of your hands.  There’s an aluminum whisker pole, extra blocks on the toe rail, cleats near the self-tailing winches, and running rigging that was completely replaced in 2016.

Nomad has a custom hard dodger with three portholes and two portlights.


Summer 2011, Chesapeake Bay.

James at the helm

Winter 2011, Annapolis, MD. (Before we installed the two 75watt Siemens solar panels on the fordeck)

She has two self steering systems, a Monitor Wind Vane, we named her “Flo” and she’s the best helmsman aboard,  installed in 2013 and a Navico TillerPilot. Both systems work perfectly and independently of the chartplotter/radar.


Spring 2013 Niantic Bay, CT.

Behind the cockpit is the mainsheet with a fantail lazarette underneath.  It has vertical access from the cockpit and downtube access from the deck (re-cored and rebuilt in 2013) the lazarette holds the stern anchor, fenders, spare lines and a ton of other shit.  There are three chocks for dock lines aft with four large bronze cleats on the fantail with a solid stainless steel bollard on the bow forward of the windlass.

She comes with a great little sailing dinghy, a Dyer midget that straps to the foredeck, cockpit cushions, sail covers in good condition and all the relevant safety equipment.


Port of the companionway is the battery box and D/C electrical system.  The A/C panel is above it behind a shelf we use for storing tools in boxes.  Above that are the solar and wind charge controllers and the back of the externally mounted chartplotter.


To starboard of the companionway is an unfinished space.  It used to be a chest refrigerator, but it was inefficient in the extreme and we tore it out in the last major rebuild.  We plan to build smart storage into that space – shelves and bins. Above is a binocular rack and several cuphooks for hanging odds and ends.  Under the companionway stairs is the engine compartment.


Next to port is the settee, with storage built into the base, behind the seat back, and on a long bookshelf above.Two gear hammocks carry most of our breakable or quick grab consumables.


A 12v fan and a paper towel dispenser live on the next bulkhead beside the Cozy Cabin piezo-electric-start propane heater. Both the heater and stove have externally mounted propane tanks on the fantail-aft.


To starboard in the saloon, we have the galley.  Behind the whole area runs a large shelf with storage underneath.  A clock and barometer live on the bulkhead above the gimballed stove. Along the cabintop we’ve installed a stainless steel hanging rack for utensils.


The double, deep-ass sink is fed by either pressure or manual fresh water pumps.  There’s a deep drawer beneath it and a fold up table attached to the aft side of the sink.   The seat beside the sink is backed by storage.  Along the bottom of the cabinet, three fold-down hatch covers give access to storage along the hull and the ever-important galley sink seacock.  The main saloon has 10 LED lights and 1 red/white florescent.


Forward of the saloon, to port, is the head.  It houses the mast wiring busses and acts as a wet locker hanging clothing on two hooks.  The head itself is the non-stop Jabsco manual head.


We both agree that this is the best machine ever made.  It feeds to a 6gal tank with both overboard and deck level egress ports.  Behind the head is the cabinet that holds the holding tank and has room left over for a couple months of toilet paper storage. The head also has a single opening port light and a Nicro solar fan.

To starboard is the refrigerator, roll-out pots and pans storage, and dirty laundry storage, with a medicine shelf above and a second Nicro solar fan.

Down the middle is the compression system for the mast.  It is incredibly tough, solid oak verticals with a 3″ by 6″ by 14″ slab of solid oak for the compression bar.  It’s bad ass and awfully nautical looking.


Forward of the head is the stateroom.  It has a large double berth with a 4in cushion with a 4in memory-foam mattress topper.  It rocks more than you know! There are two LED lights lighting the entire cabin. To starboard is a large cabinet with a foot locker underneath. There is also mega-storage under the bunk. Above the bunk is a Lewmar hatch, one porthole and two portlights.  It’s a bright area.


Forward of the bunk on the bulkhead we have another 12 volt fan. And forward of that is the chain-locker.


Her auxiliary power is a Yanmar 3GM30F, a three cylinder diesel engine with a 50 amp alternator that was new in 2001, she runs perfectly. She takes 25 gallons of diesel fuel in a single S/S tank under the cockpit. At 3000 RPM’s she’ll drink about 3/4 of a gallon of fuel an hour.

See 1000’s of pictures that should keep you entertained for a good long time, at:

Wing On Wing

Summer 2012, North Atlantic Ocean.


Winter 2009, Willoughby Bay, Norfolk, VA.

The Sailing Vessel Nomad, Key West, FL, is a 1961 Phillip Rhodes designed, built in Denmark, “Chesapeake” sloop rigged sailboat.

She is our ship, our home, our vector and sovereign nation.

In 2009 we moved back to the United States after a year’s adventure getting to, traveling through and living in the beautiful sub-continent of India.

We came back to buy another boat, our third, to continue our global circumnavigation under sail.

Summer 2009 Crab Regatta-Willoughby Bay, Norfolk, VA.

…We came back for this boat.

In December of 2008, while  still in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, we found S/V Itinerant for sale on ebay in Norfolk, VA. We watched the auction for the last four days and after she didn’t sell we contacted the owner via email and started asking questions. After only a few emails we discovered that the current owner didn’t know that much about the boat therefore to get any kind of real-feel for what we were looking at online we’d have to travel over 12,000 miles. We let him know where we were and told him we were on our way.

We took a train to Goa, India, then a plane to Mumbai, hopped another plane in Mumbai, flew to New York and took another train from New York to Newport News, VA, a bus from there to Norfolk and then a cab to within a half mile of the boat that we came back to the U.S. A. for.

We met the (now) former owner the next morning at the Rebel Marina, where the boat was moored, and spent most of our first (non-traveling) day back in the U.S. aboard the boat that, before the end of that day, we knew we would soon be living aboard.

…24 hours later we were test sailing S/V Nomad in the Willoughby Bay, three days after that we were living aboard our new boat S/V Itinerant.

We knew from our very first steps aboard that she would present many challenges, but every single issue discovered prior to our buying the boat seemed so solvable.  Indeed, they turned out to be, but there were so many unforeseen and unfamiliar issues looming in our future that our new learning curve quickly put us to task… keeping in mind that this post was written three years and thousands of dollars in improvements after we bought her and moved aboard.

To give you an idea of how drastic some projects have been, the photo above was taken 2 months after we bought the boat.  It now looks like this…

We’ve rebuilt every major system on the boat.  Electrical, 12 and 110 volt, solar and wind.  Incandescent to LED lighting throughout.  Plumbing, water tanks, cushions, cockpit sole, cabinetry, coamings, propane, rigging, chainplates, mast, compression posts, bulkheads, paint, propane heating, seacocks, oven mercury valve, hatch seals, hard dodger, and holy shit – we’ve done so much work on this boat!

…But the sailing, wow!

Winter 2009, Potomac River.

In December of 2009, right after installing our Force 10 propane heater and our new 12 volt electrical system, we sailed S/V S.N. Itinerant from Hampton, VA to Baltimore, MD via Cape Charles VA, Reedville VA, Solomons Island MD, and Galesville, MD. We sailed this boat through freezing conditions, gusty unpredictable winds and the first snowfall (almost 3 feet) of the fiercest winter on record. It produced some of our favorite sailing stories to date and the boat performed perfectly!

Winter 2010, Baltimore, MD.

After that incredible winter we moved north from Canton, Baltimore, MD to the Cutter Marina on Middle River for the sweltering summer of 2010… Ugh!

Summer 2010, Middle River, MD.

…The only place we’ve ever run aground at our moorings.

After a stint on the docks in Annapolis and an incredible haul-out experience in the fall of 2010 we sailed S/V S.N. Itinerant back up the Patapsco River to Fells Point in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for chilly but almost unremarkable winter.

Winter 2011, Baltimore, MD.

The winter of 2010 taught us that we could go sailing pretty-much anytime we felt like it and this boat is the perfect vessel for the two of us to discover the rest of the world on… We also came within 12 months of paying off the loan we took out on the boat when we bought her so we figured it was time to get her offshore ready.

We did more recreational sailing in the year 2011 than we had in the two previous years…

…And while I punched the clock to pay off that bank, Dena went to work on finishing the book that she ultimately got published, completing the interior projects and filling our boat with the smells of the food we love!

Summer 2011, Chesapeake Bay.


  1. Hey – Sunday, April 15 -talked to you at the shop this morning. Wow! You guys are ambitious – that foredeck project is pretty amazing. I must get to see your remodeled home for the next ???months/years before you sail. Where are you berthed?

  2. Wow! I wish you a safe and wonderful journey! This is our first boat, a 1988 26′ Sea Ray Week Ender, and we’ve only been as far as Hart-Miller Island via water from Essex, MD. Yesterday we went as far as the “Hard Yacht Inn” in Dundalk in our boat the “Outa Control” from Essex. I am so excited about taking longer trips as we learn safe boating, navigation and the Cheasapeake Bay. I can’t wait to start reading about your trip and the people you will meet. Be safe and God Bless you!!!

  3. Thank you so much Sunnie, it was very nice talking with you about the joys, trials and tribulations of being a boat owner. Good luck with you new boat and have fun out there!

  4. Hello James,

    I am the owner of the “Nomad” from 1995 – 2006. I did most of her restoration and lived aboard her at anchor in Key West for 15 years. One year at anchor in Miami.
    I sailed her to Cuba 11 times and filmed two documentaries in Cuba during 1998-2000, crossing the Gulf Stream with my film crew. I then to a year sailing her in the NW Caribbean; Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras. She was my life for many years. I’m very happy to see that you have continued her upgrades and are sailing her as she was intended.

    1. Hey Jeff,
      I’m so happy you found us!
      When we were doing the demo for the mid-ships saloon we found your business card wedged deep in the wreckage of what was once a settee that was way too small for either of the new asses aboard…
      We still have that card.
      The guy that bought S/V Nomad from you did his best to destroy her all the way up to Norfolk, Va and I believe we saved her from a dismal death-at-the-dock.
      To his credit the former owner did tell us of your fantastic adventures aboard S/V Nomad quite accurately but I’m afraid that my praise for his seamanship/workmanship ends there.
      I see you’re in Seattle now-a-days, that is our old stomping grounds, We sailed away from Seattle in 1999 on our first boat together, S/V Sovereign Nation, and go back there periodically because it’s the closest thing that a couple of military brats like us can call home, I mean, besides our ship, the S/V S.N. Intrepid-Itinerant, Nomad.
      We hope to be taking her back to Europe this next year and it is a part of that plan to take her back to the Danboats factory in Denmark, where she was built. I don’t know if you knew this, but, they’re still in building boats there!
      Thanks for stopping by Jeff, we love your boat!

  5. Hey Terry,
    We sold S/V Sapien (Our Gulf 32) in Hawaii and moved to India…
    When we came back to the states we had to have another boat and this one suited us just fine, still does!
    Thanks for asking…
    Hey, where do we know you from?

  6. This boat! And, more importantly, two generous, knowledgeable, patient, and authentic sailors. A boat that has inspired inter- and now trans-continental travel. I am extremely grateful to have met James and Dena, and I appreciate all they have done to make S/V S.N. Nomad what it is. Today we *can* imagine Sisyphus happy (and with a rock to push from West Coast to East).

    1. It’s been a pleasure traveling on this boat, and it’s an honor to pass it along to Dr. Ed. I look forward to hearing about the continuing adventures!

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