Bystander & Velsheda, what a pair!


While Camden is being visited by lots of large yachts again this summer, as of yesterday afternoon this is the antenna mast that dominates all. And, no, it wasn’t dropped by aliens onto the deck of a schooner. Those Norway pine spars with served rigging are part of the rather stunning package. And while it would be great if readers attempt to analyze what all those antennas are about — and whether it’s as sensible as it looks to mount some of them upside down? — I’m going to concentrate on the vessel and her equally yar charge…

I knew it was likely that I’d get to see the 138-foot Bystander close up when we returned to Camden because she motored by us off Boothbay on Friday, and Camden was set as the destination on her AIS. And though at first I missed the “J K7” painted on her stack — which can puff out faux boiler smoke, by the way — I also figured that such an old-time-yachty looking vessel might well be tender to the sleek J boat that was making sail just behind her…


We were able to get closer to the 129-foot Velsheda, which was originally launched in 1933 and totally rebuilt in the late 90’s. She can purportedly set 9,000 square feet of sail on the wind — and nearly 11,000 of spinnaker — and we got some sense of her power as she sped off to the east…


We could also see her 184-foot carbon fiber mast towering above Curtis Island as we came up the Bay yesterday and I got the deck shot below from Gizmo’s flying bridge (like all these pictures, click for lots more detail). It’s hard to tell in even my highest resolution photos, but would anyone be surprised if those were B&G instruments?


Now you can see these yachts as another sign of growing income inequality around the world, but doesn’t a wealthy man who puts such beauty on the water deserve a pass? Apparently that man is Ronald de Waal, and I gather that he took these vessels around the world and that they now cross the Atlantic twice a year.
   I wish I could say that I had an invitation to see more detail of Bystander and/or Velsheda, but I did find a good Yachting Monthly article that you can download from the Bystander pages of exterior designer Vripack. And check out that entirely different but equally interesting bow in the final shot below. Yes, Wind Horse is also visiting Camden and I am quite excited about visiting Steve and Linda Dashew on board later today. More to come of course.


Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

11 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    One interesting detail I forge to mention is that Bystander is designed to have the same roll period as Velsheda so that it’s safer for them to raft together in an exposed anchorage.

  2. Jim Dodez says:

    Hi Ben,
    What a fine looking yacht! Obviously, this owner demands the very best. The two large white satellite domes are a KVH TracVision M9 and a KVH TracPhone V7 mini-VSAT system in a matching TracVision M9 dome (our VSAT system is much smaller on it’s own). These two products provide satellite television, internet access, and voice calling throughout most of the world. Sorry for the advert-post, but you asked :). As a disclaimer, I am a member of the KVH marketing department.
    Jim Dodez

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    No problem, Jim, and you have a right to be proud. KVH is in good electronics company.
    From the top down I think I see an Airmar ultrasonic wind sensor, a Furuno 1203 GPS compass, and a cluster of Lobolight LED running lights. But then I get a bit lost at that spreader. What are those two small conical domes, and is that a Mini M sat coms backup?

  4. Jim Dodez says:

    You might be right on the mini-M. Kind of looks like a Thrane and Thrane unit.

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    PS Steve Dashew, who puts me to shame as a photographer, also got some shots of Bystander and Velsheda this weekend:
    I ended up spending much of the day aboard Wind Horse, and it was still hard to leave. What a boat, and what a cruising history the Dashews have.

  6. Matt S. says:

    I agree with you Airmar / Furuno ultrasonic wind sensor … Furuno SATCOMPASS … LOPOLIGHTS … it looks like upside down / inverted image axis cameras that would integrate into the Furuno system.
    There is definiately the Furuno FA150 Class A integrated AIS / GPS Antenna (item number GVA-100) … and there looks to be two Mini-C and 4 VHF antennas (2 up and 2 down) for a probably redundant GMDSS compliant system with one antenna for Tx/Rx and one for DSC. I also think it might be MiniM or Iradium antenna.
    Next are the two KVH antennas. What I am wondering about are the two small antennas going down below the KVH dishes … maybe Cellular repeater or Wifi?
    Finally the tall antenna sticking out of the roof top might be VHF or HF/SSB.
    It would be also interesting to know if they isolated any of the fixed rigging to be an HF/SSB Antenna.

  7. Peter says:

    Wow…. check out the stainless steel boom crutch on Velsheda in the close up…wow.

  8. Miles says:

    Hi Ben,
    Spot on with the B&G Instrument call on Velsheda. We did a system refit 18 months ago and fitted H3000 GFD displays, H3000 Analogue displays and a WTP2 Processor.
    She does a lot of racing on both sides of the Atlantic so we fitted the highest spec system, similar to that found on the VOR boats!

  9. bstrong says:

    Hi Ben, We arrived in the thick fog Monday to be greeted by our new [if brief] neighbors. Quite impressive – though we could have done without the required all day and night electronic fog bells coming from Bystander at anchor. Maybe we need a few giant moorings for these yachts.
    We will be here for most of August so hope we will see you in the harbor.
    Best, Brian and Nancy, o/b MV Dana Louise

  10. Michael says:

    We saw Velsheda in Bermuda this spring — in St. Georges Harbor for Bermuda day and the dinghy races. she is really beautiful — no bystander, though.

  11. bstrong says:

    So you think you have maintenance headaches?
    The scuttlebutt here in Camden is that Bystander
    is being held in port due to a genset failure.
    Not to worry about all those frozen goodies though.
    A giant mobile genset was trucked in to sit on the Wayfarer Marine dock to provide power while repairs
    are made. I guess the local power utility just cannot handle the load. And….. do not ask, we cannot afford it.

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