First of all, if you have never been to the Nordhavn website, we suggest that you go there. It will give you more detailed, in-depth information than we ever could. And for the most part, it is all straight-arrow stuff, without the hyperbole and glowing adjectives about the being world's best this and that one finds on most boat builder's websites.
Rather than rehashing information you can get on the Nordhavn site, we’re going to explain how we would turn the N60 into a good coastal cruiser for our very specific “mission” – a “mission” that will serve a whale of lot more people than plan on going ocean cruising.
She Has Good Bones
Beyond her shippy appearance and her 130,000-lbs. (59,090 kgs.) displacement that gives her great stability, there are other reasons why we have picked the N60 to be our coastal cruiser of choice. A 60’ boat can be easily handled by two people, and she is not so big that it won’t be hard to find slip space for her most anywhere we go. Nor will we feel embarrassed because we have splurged on an ostentatious megayacht that signals decadence rather than fulfilling a well-earned lifetime dream of exploration and cruising adventure.
Her beam is 18’ which is wide for this size boat and that means max accommodations below are possible. She has a keel which protects the props from grounding and keeps lobster pot lines from becoming entangled (most of the time). She has a 600-gal. (2,280 L) freshwater tank which means we can go for a long weekend with a gang and not need a refill. Her 2,250-gal. (8,550 L) fuel capacity is more than we need, so we will normally run her light – but, hey, if there is a spike down in fuel prices, we might load-up for the following summer. In fact, the way we’ll use this boat we can go one or two seasons on one load of fuel – and still have a 10% fuel reserve!
Our N60 -- Cool Coastal Cruiser
Having said that we love the way she looks on the outside, now we must come to grips with the fact that our "mission" for the boat is quite different than what Nordhavn intended for her. So the first thing we did was make a list of the accommodation attributes we wanted for our boat --1. Must sleep 6 people in three private cabins with twin beds in the guest cabins. Having four cabins is even better to make her easier to charter.2. Must have two heads and a day head if possible.3. Must have a large, dedicated saloon with a comfortable sofa and at least two barrel chairs, a wet bar, and seating for 8 people.4. Must have an on deck settee with table for on-deck dining for 6 rain or shine.5. Must have an inside dinning area for 8 that can be formal or informal.6. Must have a dedicated desk and work station to stay connected in with the office. 7. A small cabin with a single bunk for a young mate to sleep. He will do our washdown chores, fender handling and errands – and be in seventh heaven! 8. Must have the room to entertain 35 people at for a cocktail party.Just eight major things and happily the N60 can accommodate us with most of them but not all. Here are the three things the boat doesn’t have that we would like—1. A dedicated saloon.2. A dining area that can be either informal or formal.3. Four cabins (for charter) plus a cabin for a mate.
Start With the Staterooms
The drawing we found on the Nordhavn website showed a two-cabin boat, no saloon, no formal dinning area. What to do?
Nordhavn’s CAD Drawings
Since Nordhavn only builds to order, virtually every one of its boats is different as each buyer has his/her own ideas about how the boat should be laid out. As a result, the company has mostly hard-to-read CAD drawings on its website, which is about our only complaint with it. Nevertheless, look closely and you will see what we mean.No offense meant to the buyer of the above layout, but that won’t serve our needs. If we want to sit in an oval Jacuzzi tub, we’ll do that at home or at a spa, we think it’s too much of a waste of space on a boat, and this boat isn’t about luxury, anyway. While the drawing above has a double bed up against the port side of the boat, we would never do that in a guest stateroom. The reason is that when nature calls to the person on the inside the other person is roused from slumber. (Yes, we know there are other reasons for a double, and we’ll get to that.)
Purpose-Built Layout for Our “Mission”
Because virtually all Nordhavns have extremely high bows they are particularly well suited to the way we would configure our guest cabins. We would place a slightly more narrow double on the bottom next to the hull and place a single bunk over (or a Pullman). The lower berth would extend out providing a place to sit and also a step to get into the berth above. In this way two people can sleep undisturbed or cuddle up if they are in the mood. Because of the N60’s 18’ beam which is carried far forward, we would simply turn the “office” into a second stateroom on the starboard side with the same layout. Both cabins would have a private entrance aft with a little foyer, and both would have private access to the single head in the bow. FYI—we think putting a head in the bow is a great use of space when it can be done, and this is a prime example of it.
Our Master Stateroom – Fit for a King and Kids, Too?
As you can see on the drawing above the full beam master space is huge and we say just let your imagination go wild. Think out of the box. Do you really need a queen berth taking up all of that space? Perhaps you have very young children that you want in the cabin with you? Does the lady of the yacht want a walk-in closet? Or, perhaps here is where the desk and Internet connection will go?One thing we do not like on boats are redundant staircases because they eat up so much valuable space. We would not have a private staircase to the master, rather we’d access it from the same mini foyer-used by the two guest cabins forward. That will save a lot of space, and we would put a washer/dryer there in the stair well – handy to the master and the other staterooms and heads.
Every Cruising Boat Needs a “Saloon”
We are just traditional enough to want a real saloon in any boat we buy over 55’, the N60 definitely qualifies. Inside Nordhavn has lavished rich-looking teak on virtually every bulkhead and cabinet. After all, even though this vessel looks like a North Sea workboat, we all know she is a yacht – and we are certainly paying for a yacht! We’re sure the layout seen here fit the mission of the owner, and typically ocean-going trawler-type vessels do not have dedicated saloons, particularly in this size range. Nevertheless, our need is different, so we need a different layout.
We have two basic ideas for both creating a saloon in the N60 and in getting that formal dining area for eight that we also have on our wish list—
Turn the existing settee area into the saloon by removing the dinner table and putting in a much smaller cocktail table and closing off the bar access to the galley with a pull-down screen. Then extend the boat deck overhead aft with cruising canvas and enclose the aft deck in isinglass. Heat and air condition to suit. Add a table to seat six or eight.
Keep the main deck dinning area, galley and aft deck pretty much as is, and put the saloon above in what is the pilothouse. The pilot house has large windows all around so guests in this space will have a great and exciting view. Simply replace the chart table and instruments and console across the front of the pilot house with seating, a wet bar and entertainment center. If the available space is not quite enough, make the captain’s bunk a single, place it athwartships and move the bulkhead back 18” (45 cm). Want even more space and maybe the addition of your office up here? Then just blow out the captain’s cabin altogether, but keep the wet head for use as a day head.
With “Plan B” the primary – and only -- helm is moved to the flying bridge. With the addition of a hardtop (which it should have in any case) and isinglass, this space can be buttoned up to make into a cozy all-weather helm. In fact, we are used to such an arrangement and prefer it because it can be made weather-tight or open air depending on the conditions.
The Mate’s Cabin – For Tom Sawyer
As regular readers of BoatTEST.com know we believe in owner/operate yachts, even fairly big ones. However, as owners get into their 60s and 70s, it is nice to have a young lad around with boundless energy to do things that have become…ahem…a little tedious for older folks. We’re talking about things like washing down the boat after a bash to windward, manhandling the fenders, and possibly setting the stern anchor in a dinghy, if needed. We have also found that the best person for this job is a teenage son, grandson, relative or neighbor. $5 a day and all of the PB&Js that he can eat will usually be payment enough. Now you have a “family” member as crew instead of a paid hand, which makes a lot of things more comfortable for many folks.
We’d convert the “utility room” in the current N60 drawing to the mate’s cabin with a bed, a portlight, and a hanging locker. Remember we have moved the washer/dryer to the master. Any other gear there can be moved to the huge lazzerette. Alternatively, you can put young Tom up in the “captain’s” cabin if you care to keep it.
More Living Space
Over the years we have learned that there are three relative inexpensive ways to make a boat in this size range even larger has far as living space goes. The first as by adding length to the stern of the boat, just as Nordhavn has done by adding 5’ to their N55 to make this N60 (and it is worth every dime extra in up charge). Second is to go up and add a hardtop, again as Nordhavn has done that on both the N60 and N55. Finally, the addition of isinglass or the new polycarbonate side curtains, doors and windshields can turn and aft deck into another three-season living area, and the flying bridge into a new pilothouse.By following one of the plans we have outlined this 60’ yacht can have all of the room of many 80-footers. That means it can be a great entertainment platform and a cruising boat for three or four couples. It is slow – probably 8 to 9 knots -- but it is stable. That is the trade-off. And the solution to that problem is to strategically site the boat and fly or drive to it. It some ways it becomes a summer or year-around cottage – but a movable one. For example, keep her on the East Coast of Florida, and you are across the Stream in six hours in the Bahamas. Better yet, site her in the Bahamas, or in Maine, Alaska, or wherever else you want to take your short cruises. Compared to the cost of plowing along at 30 knots in conventional planning cruiser with twin-engine fuel-guzzling diesels, air fare is cheap!
Your Ideas, Please
That’s what we’d do to turn this ocean-crossing vessel into our dream coastal cruiser. We think that in the above configurations theN60 could meet our mission of entertaining of a crowd of people and medium-length cruising for friends and family.But, we bet our clever readers have some even better ideas on how to layout this N60. Just send us your thoughts at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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