"From our experience, Bernie Francis was precisely what the doctor ordered. His rates are exceptionally reasonable, and he 'under promises and over delivers'. And even though he's currently working elsewhere, he's still sending us helpful information, and just today he posted a query on the Owner's Group about N40 waterlines knowing this was a concern we had about our boat. We're looking forward to spending another few days later this month during which Bernie will be honing our close-quarters maneuvering skills".
"If any of you should find yourselves moving up to a larger boat, or as in our case, a large single-screw power boat for the first time, you shouldn't overlook the need to have someone provide you with extended hands-on training. For a Nordhavn mentor/instructor, you should talk to Bernie Francis. He works with clients around the world, including large-size Nordies. His phone number is: (561) 758-5847. If you would like to talk personally, please feel free to contact me."
Tropic Explorer, N40-31
"My wife and I moved from Dreamers to Owners of N55-12 4 months ago. It was our first boat, my first experience since 26' bow riders. After some searching, we hired Bernie Francis (Francis Marine) to help us get started."
"At the time I knew I had done the right thing. Bernie was a natural teacher. He also managed to work effectively with both my wife Joanne and me. As with many couples, our learning styles and backgrounds are very different. To the point that something we never expected to happen has happened...she loves docking the boat! I will add that I dragged her into this boating adventure not entirely of her own free will. I give Bernie's teaching the credit for allowing this transformation. I should point out that my insurance company also liked him (approved the same day I submitted)."
"One thing I would suggest to others. We spent several weeks off the boat individually while Bernie was with us. That created the opportunity for Bernie to work exclusively with me for extended periods, and for him to work with Joanne for extended periods. I believe this is where she gained a lot of confidence and good feelings about being at sea."
Pete & Joanne Powers
"I've taken delivery of my new boat since April of this year and have enjoyed Jupiter N6068 immensely. Part of that enjoyment, strike that, almost all of it has come from the amazing prep work and continued support provided after the fact."
"I used Bernie Francis to help me set up the boat. Bernie is an organized, persistent and at times even task master when getting things dialed up. What has truly shocked me though is how amazing Bernie has been after our contract ended. Bernie always says - "you have hired me for life, whether you like it or not."
"As many of you know, talk is cheap. I can't even count the times I have reached out to Bernie since and he has never let me down and has always helped with a great attitude. Whether a technical issue with the boat, or even new owner itis, that anxiety we all feel when getting up to speed with the complexity and operation of the boat."
"I know there are others who do similar things, and yes it is expensive, but I'm here to tell you it is worth every penny. So a big thank you to Bernie, and all those others including Jim and Rob Cole at Nordhavn. Owning a Nordhavn is a big challenge, and I'm so pleased to have such an awesome team behind me and the boat."
"Groups like this and the amazing admins who keep it going make owning our boats a truly unique experience. Thank you all!!!"
Eric and Meg Roach
(Eric and Meg were the orginal owners of Jupiter)
"I would add experience with Bernie in his helping us set up our Nordhavn 68-29 and training my wife and I to operate the boat as a team. We believe Bernie's knowledge and training skills are among some of the highest among Nordhavn captains . Do to his training we have had a safe and enjoyable summer cruising season in the Northeast with just the two of us as crew."
Joe and Renee Hazellief
Aquilla Renee, N68-29
"Bernie, I should thank you! The time spent with you was gold. It really was. Docking and boat handling, boat behavior while underway, when to use and when not to use stabilizers, ship’s electronics, plumbing, fuel management, you name it… tons of practical advise and teaching from you. I really appreciate all of it."
Yari II, N40-63
From the blog: www.Eliana76.com
"The time has come to bid farewell to our teaching captain, Bernie Francis. He has now returned home ending over two months total aboard Eliana. Bernie pushed hard each and every day to help us be better, more professional boat managers than what we ever could have on our own. By doing this, we have gained confidence in our abilities and practical ways to manage the stress and workload aboard. When he wasn't teaching, Bernie was always doing something to improve Eliana. He loves labeling things so you can find things more quickly, or avoid a costly mistake at the control panel. Having spent many years on the service side in the Navy, he was good at teaching procedures for maintenance and repair. He is a mixture of different things ... part Macgyver, part engineer, part chemist with a little bit of philosopher blended in."
Rick & Debbie Heiniger
"The time spent with you in the training situation was most certainly the most valuable time I have spent in any training situation on the water. Your patience, knowledge, skill, and communication abilities all contributed to making our training work so well. Your problem-solving capabilities along with your experience and abilities were in their own way inspiring. I want to make certain that you understand that as far as I'm concerned, it was your training and the time we spent with you that quite literally made this project possible. It is as though I am at the foot of a mountain with an arduous climb ahead, but I know we can make it one step at a time with your help. I know that Susie appreciated very much the time you devoted to her and showing us both how to work as a team."
Dr. Alan Rogin,
Never Say Never, N47-08.
"Jupiter (N6068) is now happily berthed in Ponce Inlet, Florida and we have been making regular day trips out of the Inlet here to gain experience before embarking on extended cruises. To get educated about the trawler world we formally contracted with Jeff Merrill (JMYS.com) over three years ago and that relationship led us to Jupiter. Upon purchase several other national trawler experts recommended Captain Bernie Francis (Nordhavntraining.com) for personal instruction and that advice proved to be invaluable. Tammy and I spent close to 4 weeks with Bernie in 5-7 day visits and the benefits were too many to list here. In retrospect it is inconceivable to me that we would be enjoying Jupiter like we are without the confidence gained from this formal one-on-one instruction."
Kent & Tammy Harman
(Kent and Tammy are the second owners of Jupiter and decided to keep the name.)
"Thank you one more time for the excellent training you provided to me and to Oxana. The technical/systems training and the driving training were highly interesting. You gave me a wealth of all sorts of tips concerning the N47. You definitely know this boat inside out. You were through in your explanations and patient throughout the two weeks (fortnight !!) spent on the boat."
"I would highly recommend you to anyone who would want to learn how to operate a Nordhavn."
André and Oxana Rose E, N47-58
(The training aboard Rose E was conducted on the Spanish island of La Palma part of the Canary Island chain. Andre and his wife Oxana are residents of Belgium.)
(Written on the Nordhavn Dreamers web site)
"I took possession of my custom built Nordhavn 55 in 2006. At that time there was NO formal program or training to learn about the operation & maintenance of a Nordhavn. My salesman gave me a few hours of operation & walking thru the systems. After that it was mostly learn on my own."
"A little over a year later I crossed the Atlantic with Medbound 07–an organized group of Nordhavns that had engaged Bernie Francis as fleet chief engineer—a knowledgeable guy there to help any of the participants. During our 1 1/2 months together Bernie answered lots of questions not just about maintaining & operating my Nordhavn but also about cruising in the destination—the Mediterranean."
"I recently had the opportunity to spend a day with Bernie calling on his vast experience with Nordhavns to answer many questions I had regarding the somewhat aging systems on our Nordhavn."
"Bernie has developed programs of individualized instruction for owners transitioning to a Nordhavn or transitioning from a smaller to larger Nordhavn. He not only teaches operational skills but also helps owners select equipment, spares & how to deal with routine maintenance issues."
"I only wish I had the benefit of Bernie’s expertise & I strongly encourage new owners to get a fast track on operation & maintenance as they transition into Nordhavn ownership."
"Bernie maintains a website at: Nordhavntraining.com"
Salty Dawg, N55-04 Lying Riviera Dunes Marina, Palmetto Florida
"Thank you Bernie!! We accomplished so much!! You are a fantastic trainer, resource, and all around fun guy to hang out with. Your positive and energetic attitude made even things like changing the oil fun. I know, I’m not supposed to say that it was fun... But it was, from start to finish."
"We are anchored in Honeymoon cove, for the second day, and absolutely love it. We’re anchored securely and the snubber is working great. There are dolphins swimming around the boat as I write."
"It’s very satisfying to have the boat more organized, in so many ways, and to have the increased confidence, thanks to you."
Brad Morning Dew, N60-75
"We just finished up 2 full weeks with Captain Bernie Francis aboard our (new to us) N47, “Ghost Rider”. As I told Bernie as we parted ways, based upon previous references from many knowledgeable Nordhavn people, I already had high expectations going into our training….and he exceeded them. Whether the subject matter was the boat’s systems, maintenance, weather, route planning, navigation, rules of the road, or operating the boat in close quarters – or any other nautically related topic you can think of – Bernie not only possesses deep knowledge but also decades of practical experience."
"And just as importantly, he possesses and practices an enthusiastic teaching style that is confidently relaxed, yet demanding of his students. I know from my military flying experience that a good instructor is equal parts teacher, coach and critic, and it’s rare to find one who can effectively balance those according to the situation and the learning style of the students – and Bernie is one of those rare ones."
"When Bernie says “when you hire me, you’ve hired me for life”, he means it. It quickly became obvious to both Michelle and myself that he genuinely cared – still does -- about making us successful. Finally, as a real bonus, it was also our great pleasure to make a new friend who is also a patient mentor and always a gentleman."
Rick & Michelle Riordan Ghost Rider / N47-48 Fort Myers, FL
(Written on the Nordhavn Dreamers web site;)
"Nordhavn is terrific trawlers and I am astonished how easy it is to handle.".
"Me and my girlfriend have gone into to tight marina and we often dock by our self, without any help from line handlers! Thanks to our good teacher, Bernie!"
Kaj Liljebladh Ammonite, N78-14,
"Something else we did was we brought Bernie Francis on board towards the end of the commissioning process and for a 10 day training and shake down cruise afterwards. I can't say enough good things about Bernie. His knowledge about Nordhavns and their systems is probably second to none. His help during the commissioning made sure all the systems were run, were pushed to the limits, and running right. He also had more time to spend with us crawling around the boat and teaching us about the systems including the electronics. He also helped us get the boat "ship shape" with all kinds of tips and tricks on how to set up our boat, how to do things, what spares to carry, what boat gear we needed, and sometimes what we didn't need. I'm not going to pass any of these along here, it wouldn't be fair to Bernie. If you want Bernie's years of experience you'll just have to hire him yourself. But believe me he's well worth it. He put us miles ahead of the learning curve. On the 10 day training cruise Bernie showed us how to work as a team to manage our boat. Not just driving, docking, anchoring, and navigation, but also again all about the systems. And of course more tips and tricks. Every day is a long day with Bernie. Up at 6:00 AM, full on until about 8:00 PM. We went over and over the systems and navigation until we are now both pretty comfortable we can manage the boat. I can't say enough good things about this fellow. He's knowledgeable, professional, cheerful, and has a million stories to tell. Mostly about boating which adds to the learning experience. It would have been a huge struggle without him."
Jeff & Sandy Raine
(Written on the Nordhavn Owner's web site in reference to a question from a new owner concerning what training to look into.)
"We are halfway through our one week with Captain Bernie Francis. We have learned more about handling our boat, safety, and outfitting our boat then boat shows and seminars. It is one thing to sit all day and listen to folks talk, but having your hands on your boat and learning how to run your boat makes all the difference. My wife is gaining confidence in both her skills and mine every day."
Brian Lewis & Marlene Benke
"As I read about the Nordhavn Atlantic Passage I would like to inform folks that Bernie Francis is aboard the Angela. He has been working to help this crossing become a reality. I had the pleasure of sailing from FL to southern CA this past winter with Bernie. This was an Cruise/Training for me. I have to say that Captain Francis is excellent aboard a vessel. His knowledge is deep, he is very thorough, professional and well versed in all aspect of Captaining a ship. Whether it is navigation, weather, diesel engines or the hydraulics Bernie has great experience to train one to operate a Nordhavn. It is not all the big stuff, he taught me things about the mundane day to day work of running a ship, checking engine room, suppling boat, provisioning foodstuffs for the voyage, tying knots, speaking Spanish, down to waste management. Bernie understands the details of running a ship, know that it is important and if you are looking for some advice, training or a re-fresher on your knowledge I recommend you contact Bernie. He can be reached at 561-758-5847 or at his website www.nordhavntraining.com. Two other things, Bernie's sidekick Robert Lee is an excellent crew if you need more than a Captain and the two of them made our voyage very enjoyable. For a good training and some one that know the importance of details and the importance of running a boat I recommend Captain Francis."
"My husband, Bob, and I purchased our Nordhavn 50 (N50-09) at the end of July. We’ve owned smaller boats for many years, so moving to a 50 was a step up for us in the knowledge and skills needed to successfully operate the boat and maintain its many systems. We contracted with Captain Bernie Francis to provide hands-on training as we traveled from Stuart, FL, to Key West. Bernie spent a total of eight days with us, during which he provided non-stop training, skills-building, and knowledge transfer."
"Because our “new to us” boat is actually 20 years old and apparently had been spending most of its time at a dock, our trip to the Keys exposed several equipment issues, including the alternator locking up, which left us dead in the water. We were thankful to have Bernie on board to help us troubleshoot each problem and get them resolved. Bernie even installed a new bilge pump at 6:00 AM when we were trying to get an early start, but discovered an issue with the low water bilge pump."
"Bernie’s time with us ended when we reached Key West (actually Stock Island). Our “final exam” from our training with Bernie was to complete the next leg of our trip, from Key West to Bradenton, FL, on our own. I’m happy to report that we successfully planned our routes, anchored, dodged crab traps, checked tides and currents, and completed the many other tasks needed on a passage. Oh, and of course, I can now tie a bowline."
"If you’re a new Nordhavn owner, or even one just needing some skills brush up, I highly recommend Bernie and the training he provides."
Isla Bonita, N50-09
"We just spent a week on board "Alcyone", with Captain Bernie Francis along. I hired him to help train my companion-for-life, Wendy, in the intricacies of electronic navigation, boat handling, and general boating skills. I want to tell the community that it was, according to Wendy, one of my most brilliant ideas. Bernie was a great teacher. Wendy suggested that I send out a note to the Owners who might have a somewhat boat-shy partner to let them know that there is a very knowledgeable, very patient, very diplomatic individual available to help transition from boat-shy to boat-sure. If anyone would like more information, please contact me."
Ron Rubin "Alcyone" N 46-079
"This is the third time I have hired Bernie Francis. This time I hired him for a passage from North Palm Beach, Florida, USA across the Atlantic to Gibraltar. He very conscientiously and dependably planned, prepared and executed the passage. If this passage was an uneventful and successful one it was due for a large part to Bernie Francis extensive experience in the maritime field and in particular in the yachting field. Bernie is a highly proficient skipper and knows the Nordhavn Yachts inside out. If he needs clarification concerning systems on the boat he always knows where to get the answers."
I would not hesitate to recommend Bernie Francis.
Any interested party may contact me anytime for further references.
André de Weldige-Cremer
Owner of Motor Yacht ANGELA,N55-34
(Andre was a member of the NAP 2017 fleet. Andre and Oxana live in Belgium and cruise Angela in Africa and Europe)
"Bernie has worked with us on two occasions. Initially last March (on Milt Baker's recommendation) in the late stages of commissioning our new 47 he came aboard and "surveyed" the boat. We had considered retaining a certified marine surveyor but the consensus of other owners was to employ someone with specific Nordhavn knowledge. Bernie fit the bill and we spent an entire day going through every nook and cranny on the boat. A detailed "punch list" of deficiencies/ areas of concern was created."
"More recently we asked Bernie to accompany us as we cruised off shore from Beaufort, SC to Stuart, FL. It was a 50 hour "training passage" -- we'd never done an overnight and, while we were pretty sure we could handle it, we elected to take a knowledgeable third person along with us. Went very well."
"Bernie's an excellent, enthusiastic teacher and we completed the trip confident in our ability to repeat by ourselves."
"Both engagements were money well spent. No hesitation whatsoever in recommending Bernie."
Com'n Girl, N47-57
"I would like to thank people on this Nordhavn site for recommending Bernie Francis. He worked with us for about three weeks in March including an eight day shakedown cruise to the Florida Keys. He was incredibly helpful to us with getting Sippican properly equipped and readied for the trip north and with training us to run Sippican and all her systems. I highly recommend Bernie to any one purchasing a Nordhavn, new or used."
(From the Italian Captain, Carlo Castellani, of the Nordhavn 68 Far Niente. Carlo was new to Nordhavn yachts and I worked with him in the preparation for their crossing of the Atlantic in the Spring of 2016. All work was performed in the Palm Beach Gardens, FL. area.)
"We arrived to Valencia the 21 of may just exactly one mounth after!!! No bad!!"
"The sailing was good, no so much problems, only the water on the fwd tank and in the supply tank too but it was not a big problem....The weather was good, the engine was good and the crew too was very good! Now I am at home for a week to relax me after four mounth working.....when I came back to the boat we will start the season on the Med."
"Thank you Bernie to everythink you was a good teacher for me!!"
"Keep in touch and I hope to see you again."
Carlo, Far Niente, N68-28