Lenix-Boat Oy is located on the western coast of Finland on the Gulf of Bothnia. For centuries this has been a center of shipbuilding in Scandinavia. In the 1920s a man by the name of Sivert Lindkvist started building boats for his friends and neighbors there. He passed his boat-building skills on to his son, Rude, who carried on the tradition and in turn passed then on to his son, Olli Lindkvist, who is now the managing director of Lenix-Boat Oy. Along the way the Lindkvists started building boats in fiberglass.
Third-Generation Boat Builder
There are not many third-generation boat builders in the world so this builder is a bit unusual. The good thing about buying a boat built by a third-generation builder is that he has heard the stories from his father and grandfather about all of the mistakes they made. Ways of doing things that work well are passed down along with admonitions about techniques and short cuts that do not pay off in the end. Obviously, the inverse is true of new boat builders – no matter what they say, they are on a steep learning curve.Lenix-Boat Oy has done well under the stewardship of Olli Lindkvist and has seen its sales multiply several times in the last decade despite the world economic conditions. The company has built 3,000 boats for all purposes including recreational use, such as workboats, fishing boats, ferries, island commuters, and patrol boats. Indeed, its line of boats which all look more or less the same, can be easily adapted to numerous purposes. That has held the company in good stead in a soft pleasure boat market.
Nord Star 31
The Nord Star 31 Patrol is 32’8” (10.1 m) LOA, with a 10’3” (3.15 m) beam and displaces 12,125-lbs. (5,500-kg). She has a sharp entry forward and a deadrise at the transom of 18-degrees, which is a good compromise between comfort and fuel-efficient performance. She is powered by twin Volvo Penta D4 diesels, or a single 370-hp D6.Like all Nord Star boats, the 31 has wide side decks, a large aft deck, and a swim platform which makes her ideal for work boat applications, such as meat fishing, crew boat ferrying, patrolling, as a platform for scuba underwater maintenance and repair work – and for recreational cruising!For the recreational boater, these outside decks are also very useful: The side decks are idea for line handling when docking, getting quickly from stern to bow when cruising short-handed, and for working finny critters around the boat when meat fishing. The large aft deck is suitable for entertaining and leisure, particularly with the addition of canvas overhead to protect from sun and rain. The swim platform is not only a good launch ramp for scuba diving, but it is also large enough to double as a platform to affix the gear to hold a working tender.
Designed For Offshore Work
Please note that there are 18” (.5 m) bulwarks all around the perimeter of the boat from the bow to the stern, and above them are sturdy safety rails that are about waist high. These are two attributes that one rarely finds on most recreational boats built in this size range and the advantages in a sloppy sea are obvious. Decking material is up to the buyer and several options are available.The flying bridge is optional on the 31. By placing it aft on the coach roof it does not look bad in profile, but that limits the number of people it can accommodate to two or three. To us that is fine, as this is strictly a fair-weather perch for the skipper and navigator and any other guests can be seated on the aft deck or on the trunk cabin forward while underway.
Inside the Nord Star 31 the helm is to starboard and the nav seat is to port. There is plenty of room to spread out paper charts in front of the navigator. The helm instruments are simple and basic with the engine monitors on the panel just below the skipper’s line of sight. We like this placement as the helmsperson need only drop his/her eyes down for a split second to check an analog gauge or two. The 12” nav screen for radar and chartplotter is a little low for our liking. It is probably fine when sitting in the captain’s chair, but when standing its position is not ideal, in our view. We’d like to see this screen raised a bit and moved forward into the fiberglass dash molding. This placement would allow for easy viewing whether the skipper is standing or sitting.
Abaft the helm is the table and “L”-shaped settee. The nav seat swings around to be able to join the conversation, making the table seat four people comfortably. The rudimentary galley is to starboard and the head with integral shower is to port. The space inside this cabin is narrow because of the wide side decks. The advantage of this design is that everyone is toward the center of the boat which reduces the arc of motion in a rolling sea, and it is easy to brace oneself in those conditions against a bulkhead or some furniture. The head is on the main deck, not below as would usually be the case on a boat of this size. This is a good thing, because once again, when in rough offshore conditions it is safer not to have to negotiate any steps when going to the head.
Forward is the owners' stateroom which has a pedestal, or island, queen-size bed. Regular readers know that we are not big fans of this arrangement, and to us it seems particularly out of place in this style boat. We would prefer to see a single berth to port and another to starboard up against the hull sides. This would not only allow for more comfortable sleeping accommodations, but also more appropriate ones in many circumstances. One hull-side berth could always be a double and the other a single for those couples wanting more conviviality, if only temporarily.The second cabin is below the salon deck and is accessed through a hatch abaft the “L”-shaped settee. For most boaters, this is an unconventional layout, but it is certainly practical and makes use of valuable space that would otherwise be relegated to storage. While we wouldn’t call this a VIP cabin, it is certainly appropriate for close (and understanding) friends, kids, or crew. Remember, this is only a 31’ boat. Needless to say, because of its location, it will be the most comfortable place on the boat – certainly far more than the forward cabin when under way. This arrangement also maximizes privacy on a small vessel.The Nord Star 31 Patrol is designed for folks who cruise in a wide range of sea and weather conditions, not all of them friendly. CE-certified for offshore service, the Baltic-tested 31 Patrol is ideal for island commuting in the dead of winter in such places as the Pacific Northwest in North America, the Greek and Turkish islands, the Canadian Maritimes, the west coast of Greenland, Japan, Chile’s Inside Passage, Tierra del Fuego, New Zealand, to say nothing of the Baltic and Scandinavian waters.
Beast and Beauty
Folks who live outside the balmy temperate zones will appreciate the Nord Star 31 Patrol's ability to keep going in heavy weather and have supreme confidence in the vessel. Rough conditions are never comfortable in anyone’s 31-footer, but it is always good to know that the boat can take more punishment than the crew. Her CE Ocean Category B (offshore) certification means the 31 should be able to withstand winds up to Beaufort force 8 (40 knots) and seas up to 4 meters (13', approx.). That's worse weather than we want to encounter on a pleasure-boating trip, but if the weather turns nasty unexpectedly it's nice to know the boat will be able to take it with a prudent, experienced captain and reduced speed. Having been caught along the New England coast upon occasion with a schedule to keep and 8’ to 10’ seas running, it is nice to own a boat in which one can have confidence. A well-found boat like the Nord Star 31 can give a boat owner peace of mind when winds are blowing fresh, the seas are building. Not only are the Nord Stars popular in the Baltic and in places like the Finnish Archipelago Sea, but also in the Med where conditions can be nasty in the winter. Even the waters around the Bahamas and the Leeward Islands can be challenging from December through March, so a boat that can be buttoned up and can plow through most anything has a lot of utility. To operate her in the summer, simply fit the boat with a generator and air conditioning for southern climes. Just because the boat is made in Finland doesn’t mean she can't be used in 90-degree heat in the Caribbean.All Lenix-Boat Oy vessels are built of hand-laid fiberglass, with box-beam stringers heavily glassed into place while the hull is still in the mold. According to a company spokesman, the company has second molds for each model, and can afford to leave the hulls in the molds for the extra time needed to install support structure. Most builders have one hull mold per model, and pop the new hulls out as soon as possible to make way for another, notwithstanding the recent economic slowdown. How important is leaving the boat in the mold until the hull is fully cured? It depends on a lot of factors, so let’s just say it is the preferred way of building.Nord Star skins the hull with a heavier-than-normal layer of gelcoat, rolled-on rather than sprayed. Not many builders do it this way. This technique allows years of compounding and buffing to bring back lost color (and get rid of oxidation) before the underlying laminate starts to show. This is especially important for Patrols, since dark blue is the most popular hull color, and one that's especially susceptible to fading. A downside of thick gelcoat can be crazing and stress-cracking, but we're assured by the U.S. importer of Nord Stars that this hasn't been a problem. Lenix-Boat Oy uses Ashland Chemical’s Maxguard gelcoat which has been around for 13 years and has a fine track record.We haven't tested a Nord Star 31 Patrol yet but according to the builder, she can run from 28 knots to 45 knots depending on the power installed and the load.
Pros and Cons
We like the 31 Patrol's rugged build, its CE certification, its wide side decks, and its overall rough-and-ready persona. For service in the Baltic, the North Sea, New England, Canada or anyplace where the weather's not always friendly, it would be one of the boats we'd look at – one that could operate all year in most places, or at least until the ice sets in. We think that's why the boat is popular in places like the Baltic and the Med, where conditions can be nasty in winter, so there the boat can be used almost year round.The con is that for Americans and folks in the Med, this design is not what you see populating most marinas. Somehow our conventional imagination just can’t see curvaceous babes in string bikinis lounging around this boat off the beaches of St. Tropez. This design is meant for cooler climates and a blow, not for exposing naked flesh to the rays of the sun. Also, boaters used to full-beam interiors and walk-through windshields will find the 31’s salon small, cramped and odd. For those boaters this design and interior décor will take some getting used to. Remember, with this boat the mission comes first, as she is a purpose-built vessel with fewer than normal compromises. Boaters wanting glitz, lots of creature comforts, big sunpads, and amenities need to look elsewhere.
For boaters in places such as British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Canada where owners have been adding cruising canvas to their express cruisers to handle those chilly days in the middle of August that sometimes happen, to say nothing of extending their boating season into the fall, the Nord Star concept might offer a more practical alternative. Indeed, the trend the last six years or so by the builders of open express cruisers has been to add hard tops. That is an acknowledgement that boat owners want more protection from the elements in season, and want to extend their boating into the shoulder months as well. The Nord Star line simply goes a few steps farther than a mere hard top.As far as our reader goes from Newfoundland, we’d say that the Nord Star 31 would be a good place for him to start his boat-buying quest. By the way, for those adventuresome boaters, Labrador is only 28 miles from Newfoundland, Baffin Island is only about 100 miles from Labrador, and Greenland is only about 225 miles from Baffin Island – you get the picture. A large high pressure system usually sits on this whole area in the months of July and early August, so with a boat like the Nord Star 31, let your adventures begin.MSRP for the Nord Star 31 is $260,000 with either twin D4s or a single D6, and no upper station. A fully loaded boat costs about $295,000, including electronics.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!