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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!