It is preserved… the “Top Notch” of metal in its main part and wood in the rest of its part, a ship that left Holland a year ago and with a crew of a couple traveled thousands of miles to Chania where it will be until this morning.
Its owner and captain Nils Royer takes us on a tour of this unique boat, which without being luxurious captivates the eye due to its simplicity, its finishes and the use of materials such as Teak wood, one of the highest quality materials for boats.
“Top Notch” was built by its first English owner, then sold to France and then to Germany. It has been in the hands of Mr. Royer for the last 10 years.
“I was born on a ship and I wanted to… live on a ship. When my parents got married they lived on a boat in Amsterdam, which is not uncommon in my country, many people do. As soon as I saw it I fell in love”, explains the captain and owner of the boat while we enjoy our morning coffee on the “deck” of the boat. The special thing about “Top Notch” is that it can be easily operated by two people, Mr. Nils and his partner Karina.
We follow him on a short tour. First he shows us the open air wooden bar on the deck, then we are on the immaculately maintained bridge with the navigational materials just as they were when it was built! We go to the kitchen, a very comfortable space to cook and eat, while we see all the bedrooms (4 in number that can accommodate up to 10 people) with 3 bathrooms. The engine room area is… a surgery with two huge Rolls Royce engines powering the ship. For the needs of the passengers, a desalination system that can provide 25 liters of clean water a day, as well as an ice machine “necessary to make a good gin and tonic”, our guide emphasizes.
“What was my family’s reaction when I told them I wanted to buy the boat? I do that very well and they were very excited because they knew my love. And many of my friends were the ones who said they would like to do it themselves but couldn’t. You know that having a boat like this requires a lot of work, repairs, equipment replacements. Having a boat like this is a second home but it requires a lot more work due to the wear and tear of the sea!” state
A YEAR AT SEA
Three years ago he decided to take a long trip and find himself from Holland to Greece. He had been to our country once 5 years ago and was excited by the waters. “I wanted to get to know the Greek islands and travel to them. I made preparations for two years and exactly one year ago I started the trip. Holland, Belgium, France, I crossed the Bay of Biscay, then to Spain and Portugal, again to the Mediterranean part of Spain, Italy, Malta (where we went to buy motor oil – 7,000 liters – which is very cheap there) Italy again and… finally Greece,” he narrates.
Arriving in Kalamata, he had an accident that changed his travel plans. “I was using the electric skateboard and I fell and hit my pelvis. I had surgery at the Kalamata Hospital and had to return to the Netherlands to recover. So I left “Top Notch” at the Kalamata Marina and a few days ago I returned with my partner, we took the boat and we met in Crete.”
One of the most special parts of the trip is the passage of Bizkaia in three days. “It was funny because family and friends were together who, as you know, were all with cell phones in their hands and in that department there was no signal for the phones for three days. They had nothing to do with their hands…”, he says laughing, while to our question about whether he was ever in any danger during his trip, he is adamant. “When the weather is not good and there is a storm, stay in the port!” .
CONTACT WITH THE WORLD
We ask you to know your opinion about the interesting people you met all these months. “Look in Italy, we were impressed by the number of people who came and told us ‘what a beautiful boat’ and ‘well done’. In France I remember that we were in a port and two drunk guys came and went to bed. I heard the noise they made and I got out, when they saw me they were surprised because they thought there was no one in the boat. “What are your plans?” I asked them and they quickly disappeared. I will also never forget a port officer in Pylos who was very loud. “Don’t put the boat there”, “don’t put it anywhere else”! He was very upset for no reason, we were going to do what he told us to do anyway. Maybe he didn’t sleep well the night before or had a fight with his wife. But that’s what happens when you travel. In general, we only have positive impressions, “he says. As for how time passes when you are at sea, the couple has a lot to say.
“When you are on the boat and you are traveling you have to watch the time, follow the course, cook, when there are friends you have their conversations, you stop at some points and you have the opportunity to discover the magic of the seabed. We especially like the seas in Greece because they are very clear”, they say, while Nils shows us photos of dolphins that accompanied them several times on their journey.
Leaving Chania, my interlocutors have only good experiences. “We ate excellent fish here in the port of Chania. Delicious with olive oil and lemon… The people are welcoming and helpful. We will continue our journey towards the Aegean islands, with no particular program. We are not in a hurry, we are enjoying our trip and we will definitely return to Crete”, they conclude.
The “first category”
• Engines… Two Rolls Royces, 240 hp
20 liters of oil