This venerable cruiser has so many qualities that make it an ideal companion for long trips that it may very well change the way you think about distance cruising. Not only is the Nordhavn 47 a comfortable coastal cruiser, but her intended mission is really ocean passages. The 47 is an development of the company’s very firsty boat, the Nordhavn 46, fist built in 1989. There are now dozens of boats that are designed for exactly this same mission (even the Italians are getting into the act), so while Nordhavn once shared this market with only a couple of other builders, now there are many – and many good choices.
Nordhavn 47 (2010-) Specifications
47' 8'' 14.53 m
85,000 lbs. 38.56 mt
16' 1'' 4.9 m
5' 11'' 1.8 m
1,470 gal. 5564.6 L
400 gal. 1514.2 L
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 Nordhavn 47 has all the qualities of a transoceanic cruiser but with none of the complexities that scare first timers away. And 47’ is a good place to start and she’s not too expensive.
Capt. Steve Says...
It definitely takes a rare breed of person to be able to take the time to explore. Not because it’s so scary, and full of unknowns, but most of us have to work for a living. Time is a valuable commodity that few can part with. But if you’re one of the lucky few who can string together several weeks at a time to be on the water, to say nothing of a few months, then distant shores are calling, and the vehicle to answer the call with may just be from Nordhavn. This is a builder that started out by building...gasp... sailboats!
Jim Leachman (l) is vice president, and Dan Streech (r) is president of Nordhavn. These two gentlemen look like a couple of happy-go-lucky, laid back Southern California guys, but when it comes to boat building and their brand, they are deadly serious.
The Right Stuff...
So what does it take to be a good passagemaker? Quite a lot actually. First and foremost, it takes boat yard owners who have cruised extensively and know what conditions can be like and what you need in a boat to be comfortable and safe. Second, it takes boat builders who have been building for years and who have put all of their bad mistakes behind them.
Third, it takes builders that truly care about the experience their owners have with their boats because they are planning on being around for many years to come and care about their reputations. Note that we have yet to talk about the boat itself. We haven’t because if the boat company’s owners don’t have the right stuff, neither will their boats.
Jim Leachman and Dan Streech were both long-distance sailboat cruisers and racers before they got into selling boats. In 1976 they started working with Taiwan boat builders and have 34 years of experience working with yards in the Far East on yacht builds. Their first powerboat hull, a 46’ Nordhavn was shipped in 1989 – 20 years ago.
Here is a good example of what a pilothouse should be. There are backups for everything and to the left you can see the table in front of the settee for gathering while underway. To the right is a railing leading down to the accommodations deck.
Now, to the Boat...
First, you need a strong hull. Nordhavns have a long history of battling it out with Mother Nature and winning. Not that you’d actually want to get into a named storm, but the reality is, storms pop up from time to time, and if you intend to be a long way from home then your weapon of choice makes a difference. Besides the solid construction, just look at her bows – they are high enough to punch her way through most anything, and wide enough to make stuffing a near impossibility. Leachman and Streech used the tenants of Robert Beebe as their guiding light. Beebe wrote Voyaging Under Power and he believed in single screw displacement boats that were heavy, had low windage, and which handled well in a following sea.
The founders of Nordhavn took all of that to heart in their first design. And as time went on their ideas of what constituted the ideal cruising boat evolved as well, culminating recently in a 76’ boat that has twin engines and semi-planing speeds and is a fisherman!
Throughout the last 20 years Leachman and Streech have not been afraid to try something new, and the look of their boats and their interior accommodations plans are distinctive. Just as Grand Banks created the “trawler type” with their 36’ single screw tri-cabin in 1965, so, too, did Nordhavn create the expedition boat as we visualize it today with their boats.
Interiors Are Important, Too
But you don’t live in the laminates, and you don’t sleep in the freeboard.
It’s the interior that separates the good from the bad. Let’s take a look at her from a cruisability, and livability standpoint and see how the Nordhavn 47 fairs.
With her high bow the Nordhavn 47 has a definite commercial fishing boat look that takes some yachtsmen a while to used to.
The pilothouse is designed to be as much a center of functionality as it is a center of attention while underway. The helm is mounted just off of center and is set up for both essential and redundant equipment of your choice. Unfortunately, there is no companion seat for a navigator and a second set of eyes. Visibility is near 360 degrees as the pilothouse is also raised. Watertight, pantograph dog-down doors to either side lead you to the Portuguese Bridge.
The last 15 years or so Portuguese bridges have been increasingly popular, mostly on boats built on the American West Coast or in the Far East. The design has a bulwark forward of the ship’s superstructure which serves to divert boarding head seas up, thus reducing their pressure on the windshields. They also provide additional safety for crewmen who have to venture on deck in rough conditions.
At the after end of the pilothouse is a comfortable settee on a raised platform for outstanding visibility, and just behind that is a bunk for resting the off watch. All of this laid on top of a teak and holly sole.
Note the settee and table with chart storage underneath. Aft of the settee (left in the photo) is a bunk for resting the off watch while still keeping close. Note there is no companion seat for the navigator and a second set of eyes unless they sit on the settee.
You have a choice of stabilization via paravanes or active fin stabilizers, or both. Owners that we have talked to recommend both and tell us that you’ll get used the paravanes and be glad you have them.
Power is via a Lugger 173-hp diesel with a 40-hp Yanmar driving a separate 3-bladed folding prop for backup get home power. Nordhavn is a staunch supporter of a separate power plant driving an independent shaft, and so are we. Others will connect a generator to hydraulically drive the main shaft, but that’s only helpful if the main engine fails… an unlikely scenario unless you get contaminated fuel, which will contaminate the generator along with it. Much better is giving support to losing the main shaft via striking or other damage and having a redundant backup for that system.
Dan Streech told us a year or so ago that Nordhavn has never lost an engine due to the failure of a part in the engine. Engine shut-down is almost always because of contaminated fuel or air in the line.
To the left is the view of the single side deck. As this is an asymmetrical layout, there is only access to the boat’s starboard side. This allows for more room in the saloon. Note how the bulwarks come up high for protection and the overhead extends out to protect from the elements.
To the right is the anchor station that is raised as well as separated from the main deck with a raised edge. This keeps gunk washing off your anchor chain from messing up your bow. In both corners are overboard drains. Note the Freeman, dogged-down hatch which will keep the chain locker dry in virtually all conditions.
Fuel System and Exhaust
The fuel system is brilliant in its simplicity. The main tanks gravity feed into a smaller day tank that feeds the main engine. Simple to use, simple to maintain. Nordhavn will do their best to sell you on dry stack exhaust, which eliminates both thru hulls for cooling and transom exhaust with its inherent fumes and noxious vapors entering the living spaces. But for those die-hards that insist on wet exhaust to avoid the intrusion of exhaust piping through the boat and up the stack and the extra expense, they will accommodate you, albeit reluctantly. The engine room is standup with stainless steel rails surrounding the Lugger engine.
Looking aft in the engine room shows the Lugger main engine in the center surrounded by stainless steel rails for checking while underway. To right is the generator and to the left is the separate wing engine with independent shaft and prop. Note the dry exhaust stack heading up to the flybridge deck. The watertight door leads to the master stateroom. One of two entrances to this compartment.
The accommodations are also first rate on the 47. Aft is the spacious saloon that is roomier thanks to the asymmetrical layout. The port bulkhead is all the way out to the side of the yacht while the starboard allows for sidedecks for traversing fore and aft while handling lines. This is a common setup and has proven its worth time and again.
Here is the main saloon looking aft. Fit and finish is first rate and all furniture is built in for stability and strength in a seaway.
Notice the asymmetrical layout. The living space extends all the way to the port side while to starboard, there are sidedecks for getting fore and aft. Notice the boat deck has room for a tender as well as water toys.
The galley is roomy enough to provide meals for two couples and occasional guests, but not oversized to cut into the living areas. There is storage enough for living virtually self sufficiently for weeks. Watertight doors seal off the interior completely. Up to the pilothouse, and down again to the accommodations deck finds one of two different layouts. Choose between two different two stateroom/two head layouts, depending on how popular you are or the size of your family…or, choose the three stateroom layout with two heads that is more sailboat style.
This is one of the two stateroom/two head layouts.
The three stateroom/two head layout.
The forward stateroom can hold either two bunks or a single and a desk for use as an onboard office. Or, this area can be divided in two with two bunks in each cabin. The master is amidships and runs full beam.
Looking forward in the main saloon is the galley. Plenty of storage, and notice the portlight to the left of the photo for adding fresh air to the cooking environment. To the right are the stairs leading to the pilothouse.
The full beam master features an island berth. Note the watertight door entrance to the engine room to the left of the shot.
This is the option of turning the forward stateroom into a double berth and office combo. The alternative allows for losing the desk and adding another berth. This is by far the most popular layout as the pullout sofa is always available for an extra person. We would specify over under bunks to the port side.
The Nordhavn 47 has a LOA of 47' 8" / 14.53 m, a beam of 16' 1" / 4.9 m, and a draft of 5' 11" / 1.8 m. She displaces 85,000 lbs. / 38.56 MT, carries 1,470 gals. / 5564.6 L of fuel, and 400 gals. / 1514.2 L of water. While we haven’t yet tested the Nordhavn 47 to verify her numbers, Nordhavn tells us that at a moderate cruise of 8-9kts, she’ll have a range of 3000 miles. That’s more than enough to make your way across any ocean using the usual stopping points for refuel and re-stocking of stores. Slow her further and your range increases dramatically.
Clearly, the Nordhavn 47 is much more than a capable passagemaker. She’s a second home to a lot of travelers, and a primary to those select few that have elected to cast off and spend their days exploring the world as only a few dare dream about. Only with Nordhavn, the dream is more often than not, becoming a reality.
The aft deck on the new 52-footer is over twice the size as the one on the 47.
New “Stretch” Version is 52’
Nordhavn has recently introduced a longer version of the 47’ which has a cockpit, longer waterline, and two feet extra overhang on the boat deck. All of this allows her to carry 200 gallons more fuel, go a bit faster, and carry a bigger dinghy, in addition to having the extra square footage on deck.
For a sea trial demo of the Nordhavn 47 or any of their yachts…
Standard and Optional Equipment
Nordhavn 47 (2010-) Standard and Optional Equipment
= Standard = Optional
Nordhavn 47 (2010-) Warranty
Nordhavn 47 (2010-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure 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!
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