Boat Test Videos
Content courtesy ofThe single-screw Nordic Tug 37 has the interior treatments of a classic trawler with a surprising turn of speed that belies her shippy exterior...
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.
Nordic Tugs 37 Line Drawing
The 37 can sleep up to six.
Nordic Tugs Nordic Tugs
The 37 offers a ship style helm.
She offers a good turn of speed.
Captain's ReportBy BoatTEST.com staffWhen you think of a “tug,” what image comes to mind? Probably a greasy, wide-beam workhorse of a boat that has more truck tires than a tractor-trailer. While that aptly describes the commercial version, over on the recreational-boating side the scene is vastly different. Gone are the oily aft decks and tire-fenders, replaced instead with an uncluttered fiberglass cockpit and heavy-duty rubrails. The high bow and generous freeboard forward are retained in the recreational version, as is the shippy-looking “smokestack.” But outside of that, this kind of tug is so different that it deserves its own definition in the recreational-boating market. The boat is called the Nordic Tug 37, and it’s the latest offering from a company that’s been building long-range cruisers since 1980.Twenty years ago, Nordic Tug rolled out its first model, the 32, and fifteen years later it introduced the 42. In between those two models was a big gap—both in accommodations and price—so now the new 37 serves as a natural bridge in the line, and a good starting point for someone looking for a proper two-stateroom cruiser with a good turn of speed.Speed? Now there’s a surprise, and another contradiction between commercial and recreational “tugs.” In the case of the 37 looks are very deceiving, and with a single 330-hp Cummins diesel this boat shattered perceptions and hit a top-end speed of 20 mph during our test. How can a single-screw tug do that? The answer lies in her efficient hull design.The 37 has a length-to-beam ration of 3.0:1, which means she’s three times longer than she is wide for good weight distribution. This semi-displacement hull also has wide hard-chines forward that gradually blend into the nearly flat bottom, ending with a very low deadrise at the transom. The net result of this big, flat after-section is she planes easily with moderate horsepower. The hard chines—combined with a rugged keel that runs nearly the full length of the boat—also provide exceptional stability at low speeds, and the midships location of her single powerplant yields a low propshaft angle for greater horizontal thrust and a nearly level running attitude. And fully forward, her stem is almost vertical for excellent wave-splitting abilities. Taken together, these are all factors that contribute to her performance as a “great sea boat,” according to Nordic Tugs’ Midwest dealers Ken & Karen Schuler, who ran the 37 through 10-foot seas on Lake Michigan en route to the Detroit Boat Show and came through completely unscathed. That’s also a testament to her beefy construction inside and out.Though she’s a “tug,” the 37 has just about every amenity the cruising yachtsman is looking for. Her cockpit has a huge lazarrette for stowage and access to the running gear, and a built-in deck box is a great place to stow fenders, lines, or a propane cylinder. When it’s time for a dip, swimmers can reach the narrow platform through a transom door, and since it’s integral with the hull it adds buoyancy while extending the waterline length for better speed. After the swim, bathers can drip-dry on the non-skid-covered deck atop the main salon, accessed by a sturdy but tricky-to-use vertical ladder. The optional railings around the top are a mandatory in my opinion since you’ll need them as grab rails if you have to walk the very narrow side decks from cockpit to the pilothouse doors. You’ll also find the FRP “smokestack” up top, and while it’s mostly decorative it does house a standard radar reflector. This deck can also be used for stowing a tender or PWC, and it’s reinforced to carry a davit.Heading back down the ladder, you gain access to the main salon via a heavy-duty aluminum-framed door, and once inside you’re treated to a nautical-looking split-level layout lined with teak veneer. Just inside the door to port a simple L-shaped lounge serves as both a dining area for four and as an extra double berth that converts easily thanks to a panel that slides out from beneath the lounge.Over to starboard, Nordic Tug’s designers dedicated ample space to the big U-shaped galley, in keeping with the boat’s capabilities as a long-range cruiser. The galley features a Princess three-burner range and oven, double stainless steel sinks, and a full-size Norcold refrigerator with separate freezer. There’s great counter space and stowage here, but my only bone of contention is that the refrigerator faces aft, so it’s bound to dump its cargo when the door is opened underway.It’s two steps up to the pilothouse, and there’s only a half-wall separating the helm from the salon/galley area, so conversation can flow between the navigators and the loungers. This open layout—combined with big rectangular windows throughout the interior—provides real 360-degree visibility for the helmsman. The starboard helm station features an angled dash with single-lever Morse control, the usual instruments/switches, and traditional spoked wooden wheel. The helmsman sits on a comfortable benchseat for two which is convenient when the autopilot’s in control, but for docking and maneuvering I had to either stand or lean back against the lounge for a comfortable reach to the wheel. Against that, the three huge forward windows provided excellent visibility, and I also appreciated the standard window defogging system here.Interestingly, you can dock this 37-footer single-handedly--pilothouse doors on either side lead directly out to the side decks, so if you’re ready with the lines you just pull alongside the dock, step off, and tie her up. And if you’ve got help, so much the better, as the navigator can sit on a separate lounge to port and work with a full-size chart drawer hidden beneath a huge countertop/plotting surface.Once you’re secured for the night, the 37 has two cabins from which to choose. The owner’s stateroom forward comes standard with an island double-berth, but a huge V-berth with filler cushion is an option. Two full-size cedar hanging lockers with shelves handle clothes stowage, and an overhead Bomar hatch provides natural ventilation when you’d rather not use the Ocean Marine air conditioning systemAft and to port a second stateroom features upper and lower berths, and across to starboard the head compartment—with Vacuflush toilet and real porcelain sink—stays dry at all times thanks to a separate shower stall with good headroom and opening port light.When its time to cast off for your next port of call, you’ll appreciate the 37’s comfortable cruising speed of 14.4 mph and range of 527 miles. But if you’re in a hurry, you can open her up and only lose 40 miles in range. On the other hand, at nine knots the 37 can take you from New York to Florida on a single stop at the fuel dock, so the throttle setting really depends on your time frame and itinerary.Out on the test track, the 37 carved tight turns in just four boat lengths, thanks to her oversized rudder which is the size of a small barn door. Stability increased with speed, and she is nimble enough to dodge any minefield of crab pots the Chesapeake can serve up. And if you’re concerned that she has only one engine for maneuvering, don’t be. Ken Schuler demonstrated how he uses short bursts of forward with rudder hard-over to walk the boat sideways, and if the wind catches you, there’s always the standard 6-hp electric bow thruster to bring you safely alongside.So given this combination of a fuel-efficient hull, rugged construction, and a 20-mph top-end speed, maybe it’s time for us to rethink what the image of a “tug” is really all about today.
Test Result Highlights
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
Pricing Range: $333,000.00Prices, 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.
Test Results - Change Measurement Unit
All fuel consumption numbers are the total 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. Time to plane is measured from start of acceleration to formation of rooster tail behind boat.