Trawler cruising requires a boat with the versatility to handle varying conditions, including shallow water and low bridges. We recently tested the new Nordic Tug 34 and came away convinced that a cruising couple could go a lot of places in this boat, and stay onboard for a long time. She’s easily managed, and can be operated single handed. Her systems are easily maintained and there is handy access to virtually all components is part of the design. As for how long she can go, our test results tell the tale.
Oyster color gel coat hull with colored inset and waterline
Storage includes locking deck hatch to lazarette with sealing gasket and spring assist lifts
Bronze seawater strainers
Settee converts to double berth with storage underneath
Engine monitoring with Yanmar analog style gauges
Forward cabin has full width island berth with drawers underneath
Color choices for upholstery and carpet
Manually hydraulic steering wheel
Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 34 (2013-) Specifications
34' 11'' 10.6 m
15,700 lbs. 7,121 kg
11' 4'' 3.5 m
17,705 lbs. 8,031 kg
3' 8'' 1.19 m
205 gal. 776 L
100 gal. 379 L
6' 7'' 2.00 m
10' 0'' 3.05 m
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
The Nordic Tug 34 is part of the six-boat lineup of coastal cruisers designed for long voyages from home.
The layout of the Nordic Tug 34 tells a simple story of a cruising couple’s boat. A single stateroom and head forward of the raised pilothouse represents the only accommodations, but just like at home, guests are more than welcome to sleep on the convertible sofa, so long as they don’t get the idea that they can stay too long. The salon and galley areas are nestled in the vicinity just abaft the pilothouse and while minimalist in size, it makes for an intimate atmosphere with easily managed systems.
The layout of the Nordic Tug 34 speaks volumes about her intended use as a couple’s cruiser.
Additional gathering areas include the aft deck and upper “boat” deck. Certainly fold-up deck chairs will play an important part of the formula for lounging about at the end of the day.
But let’s take a look at her from an operator’s point of view.
The starboard side helm was well laid out with a stainless destroyer wheel mounted vertically. Two non-glare panels make up the functional aspects of the helm with a Raymarine hybrid touch display occupying front and center of the top panel. An autopilot was over to the starboard side of the display, the VHF radio to the portside.
The lower panel consists of all of the rocker switches, four gauges including a multifunction gauge with selectable information, bow-thruster control and engine control.
The helm is uncomplicated and orderly with everything mounted to a non-glare panel mounted in oiled mahogany.
The helm seat is a raised upholstered bench with a flip down foot rest and as it is mounted on a slider, there's easy handling from both the seated position and the standing position when using the seat as a leaning post.
While visibility isn't a complete 360-degree it’s certainly close. A center companionway to the salon just behind the raised pilothouse has a recessed area to allow for more headroom. Behind this area on deck is an ornamental exhaust stack that adds to the trawler-esque theme of the 34. This stack is the only thing that interrupts the visibility, but certainly not by much. Even looking through the salon provides an excellent view of the stern.
Three pantograph windshield wipers did a good job of clearing the three forward windshields. Washers are fitted to each wiper. All glass is thick Diamond Sea Glaze.
All windows are designed to prevent water intrusion and drains are fitted at the bottom of any sliding tracks.
The 34 features rather narrow side decks but they are easily transitioned thanks to handrails located everywhere. Bow rails only run back to the forward half of the pilot house which allows for quick and easy passage out the side doors to the dock, part of what makes her so attractive as a single-handed operational boat.
While the side decks are narrow, safety is maintained by grab handles everywhere.
I like to see channels cut into the side decks to direct any water overboard that may be shipped so as not to reach the cockpit. Currently, the water is directed into the aft cockpit and then overboard.
There’s certainly nothing under-build of the Nordic Tug 34. Quality components can be seen throughout.
The trunk cabin provides a comfortable place to watch the scenery go by. The forward hatch is high-quality and water tight.
The foredeck is recessed into raised toe rails. Ground tackle is manipulated through a chromed Lewmar windlass leading out to a stainless anchor roller mounted to the top of the bow. A chromed bit just behind the windlass is used to secure both the anchor rode and dock lines. Foot switches for the windlass are mounted to the starboard side caprail.
Note the raised fiberglass foundations for the mid-hull rubber rub rail with stainless steel insert. At the top of the photo is the sheer rub rail. The stainless steel vertical stripes on the bow are Nordic Tugs' iconic signature which also protects the bow from a swinging anchor.
The rails are noteworthy. Not only does their height exceed ABYC standards but so does the thickness.
Accessing all the mechanical components of the Nordic Tug 34 couldn't be easier. A hatch in the aft deck allows easy access to the running gear and fuel tank. The tank is fitted with a sight gauge that serves as a backup to the mechanical gauge at the helm.
A hatch in the cockpit deck gives direct access to the running gear and fuel tank. The thick hatch is back gelled, supported by a gas strut and channels are designed to direct any water to overboard drains, NOT into the bilge.
Redundant systems are key on any distance trawler and here we can see a sight gauge providing a visual check of the fuel as a backup to the fuel gauge at the helm.
In the unlikely event of a hydraulic steering failure, the rudder is prevented from swinging around and slamming into the propeller by these two stops to either side of the steering arm.
Everything is properly labeled and manifolds are easily identified. Notice how everything is properly double clamped and the sharp edges of the clamps are protected.
As for accessing the main engine, again Nordic Tugs makes it an easy affair. Three hatches in the pilothouse deck lift to expose nearly the entire compartment, certainly the width of it. The three hatches are labeled for both position and direction, and soundproofing keeps noise levels manageable. All sides of the engine are accessible so not only are daily checks painless, so is maintenance. A hatch in the salon allows access to the reverse gear, shaft, and additional filters.
Three hatches in the pilothouse deck allow access to the single engine… that should be sufficient!
The three deck hatches are clearly marked for both placement and direction.
Here is a good view of the generator, covered battery boxes, and the soundproofing that surrounds the entire engine compartment on all sides.
Even the transmission and shaft are easily accessible.
Power panels are under the pilothouse seats, 12-V to one side, 120-V to the other. Note that Nordic Tugs uses high-quality circuit breakers.
The Nordic Tug 34 has a length overall of 34'11" (10.6 m), a beam of 11'4" (3.5 m) and a draft of 3'8" (1.19 m). With an empty weight of 16,500 lbs., 100 gallons of fuel and three people onboard we had a test weight of 18,505 lbs.
With a single 260-hp Yanmar 6BY2 turning a 24 x 16.5 x 4 prop we reached a top speed at 4150 rpm of 17.0 mph. At that speed fuel burn was 13 gph giving us a range of 241 miles.
Cruise speed is another matter entirely. If we determine her hull speed in displacement mode then she reaches a maximum of 7.6 mph where the wavelength of her bow wave is equal to her waterline length. That speed was reached at 1750 rpm where we measured the fuel burn of only 1.05 gph giving her a range of 1,318 miles. One can only imagine Dr. Seuss saying "oh the places you'll go".
Her fuel burn is linear producing a maximum range of 2768 miles at 3.8 mph reducing exponentially to the 241 mile range at full throttle. Being a trawler, this is basically a "set the throttle based on how far you want to go" type of boat. The choice is up to the individual operator.
Please click on the TEST RESULTS tab at the top of this page for a full breakdown of performance.
Underway the Nordic Tug 34 has a feeling of symbiosis with the water, both the hull and the water coming together in a partnership that both seem to benefit from. Such is the pleasurable experience of operating such a stately craft. The 260-hp engine is smooth and quiet, but most of the credit for the handling has to go to Nordic Tugs' design team. She has a fine entry which not only gives her the ideal distance economy, but adds to the quiet ride. She has a full length keel which keeps her tracking straight and true, and with a protective heavy duty stainless skeg under the prop soft groundings will not be cause for undue alarm.
Few things look as good as a trawler doing what she does best. Coming from a career of fishing offshore, the mindset of going slow and forever is a natural one. While the fast paced baby boomer may need to get there faster, sooner or later we all slow down and enjoy life at a more leisurely pace. Enter the trawler.
Going through wakes produced a slight roll moment, but her hard chines diffuse repeat rolling. In a hard grounding, watertight bulkheads further minimize catastrophic events. But with her encapsulated stringers and infusion molded hull I’d have a hard time believing that even running onto rocks would impede this strong hull. Suffice it to say we won’t be testing that opinion.
In turns she tends to remain relatively flat but aggressive turns have her leaning to the outside of the turn.
The opening side door has a lot to do with why the Nordic Tug 34 is so easily managed single-handed.
Docks and Pilings Are Friends
With a single engine boat, even one with a bow thruster, maneuvering around the dock can be something that requires a bit of skill. Certainly when there is any current or wind interfering with a direct shot into a slip the boat is going to come up against either a piling or a dock. Most often, this is a necessity that is used in order to get the boat into position. Any single-engine captain worth his salt knows how to use a piling to his advantage.
Here you can see how the two rub rails are designed to work simultaneously, against a vertical object like a piling and work together to absorb the strike.
Twin Rub Rails Nordic Tug is more than aware of this and even builds its boats to accommodate this simple fact of life. There are not one, but two rub rails that are integrally molded into the hull and fitted with stainless steel. The design of these rub rails is such that they are perfectly aligned with each other, and will come against a vertical object such as a piling, at the same time. In other words, let the 34 take a hit against the piling, she's designed to take it. In fact, this mindset is part of the 10 year hull warranty.
For a lot of people, the “Made in America” statement is enough to entice brand loyalty, but we need to dig a little deeper than that, and the deeper we looked, the more we liked what we found. She is solidly built from the keel up and I saw no short cuts or minimum-sized gear. This boat is well-built with quality components. Nordic Tug is definitely among the top builders of trawlers in or out of this country and it's certainly among the most recognizable with the timeless design.
The fact that the company has a 27 year history of building quality boats is no small accomplishment. Each hull comes with a 10 year warranty, and the builders sea trials every hull before delivery so the customer gets a boat with any new-launch kinks effectively dealt with.
Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 34 (2013-) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 34 (2013-) is 17.0 MPH (27.4 KPH), burning 13.00 gallons per hour (GPH) or 49.2 liters per hour (LPH).
Best cruise for the Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 34 (2013-) is 7.5 MPH (12.1 KPH), and the boat gets 7.14 miles per gallon (MPG) or 3.04 kilometers per liter (KPL), giving the boat a cruising range of 1318 miles (2121.12 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 260-hp Yanmar 6BY2.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 34 (2013-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Dripless Shaft Seals
Washdown: Raw Water
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Oil Change System
= Standard = Optional
Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 34 (2013-) Warranty
Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 34 (2013-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to insure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
All fuel consumption numbers is the total are for all engines in the boat. Speeds are measured with Stalker ProSports radar gun or GPS. Fuel consumption (gallons per hour) measured with Floscan digital fuel-flow meter or by on-board factory-installed diagnostic instruments. Range is based on 90% of published fuel capacity. Sound levels determined using Radio Shack digital decibel meter on A scale. 68 dBA is the level of normal conversation.