What's the Range?
Boats for ocean voyages are designed, built and equipped differently than those intended for coastwise cruising; Nordhavn has made their bones by creating able open-sea boats, even in smaller sizes. For a powerboat, the most important factor is cruising range. Most 43-footers can't carry enough fuel for transoceanic passages, but by combining an efficient hull form with single-diesel power and low speed, Nordhavn stretches maximum range from each gallon of fuel. They claim the 43 burns 2.5 gph at its cruising speed of 7 knots, for a projected range of 3,360 n.m. on 1,200 gals. of diesel. Those are not BoatTEST.com numbers, so when you run out of fuel don't call us. Based on 2.5-gph consumption, our calculator shows that range only when every drop of fuel is used in the main engine, leaving none for reserve or to run the generator. If we were planning a voyage aboard this boat, we'd figure our range to be 2700 n.m., and confirm or change that number based on real-world experience. Nevertheless, the 43 has longer range than the company's Nordhavn 40, thanks to an extra 300 gals. of fuel, and many 40s have made ocean crossings and even circumnavigations. Very few boats this size can match Nordhavn's record.
The Nordhavn 43 looks like a typical displacement-speed cruiser, but her underbody is modified for improved seakeeping and greater speed vs. horsepower. The company calls this their Modified Full Displacement (MFD) hull; it comprises wider stern sections to minimize squatting and pitching when running near the top of the displacement speed/length ratio, thereby reducing drag. A small tunnel allows use of a larger-diameter propeller, further increasing efficiency. The wider stern sections also add interior volume. Lead ballast equal to about half the weight of fuel adds stability and makes the roll more comfortable; ballast is commonly used aboard long-range displacement powerboats.
After fuel, the next important factor when long-distance cruising is carrying food – that's easier with fewer people aboard. The Nordhavn 43 sleeps four in two staterooms, a master and a guest cabin with either a double or two singles. Four is plenty to have aboard for long trips, and we suspect most 43s will be crewed by a couple, using the extra cabin for added stowage or occasional guests.
The Nordhavn 43 is a motorhead's dream. The single Lugger L1066T diesel produces 170-hp at high output, 135-hp continuous, showing just how little power it takes to move a boat at displacement speed. Fitted to a 3.97:1 reduction gear, the diesel spins a 34" prop slowly, efficiently and quietly. Top speed is 8.5 knots. For backup to the Lugger (one of the world's most reliable engines), Nordhavn installs get-home power: A 27-hp wing engine with its own fuel tank, shaft and prop. In calm weather, Nordhavn says the wing engine will drive the boat at 6 knots, in hard going, between 3 and 4. We'd be sure to run the wing engine regularly – maybe when shutting down the Lugger to change its oil – just in case we needed it one day.
More perfectly good diesels are brought down by dirty fuel than any other cause. Nordhavn engineered its fuel system to prevent this: Two 600-gallon tanks gravity-feed into a 40-gallon reservoir tank which, in turn, feeds the Lugger. Contaminants settle in the reservoir where they can be drained off before clogging the main fuel filters. The reservoir tank also makes it easier to calculate fuel consumption, by timing the fuel level drop using a sight gauge on the tank.
Pricing and Recommendation
Base price of the Nordhavn 43 is $695,000, but most buyers add an average of $200,000 more in extras and electronics. A company rep said to figure spending something in the low-$900,000 range for a well-found boat. Since Nordhavns are built in the Far East, figure on a delivery time of about 10 months, including transport.
Would we buy a Nordhavn 43? Only if we planned to use her as intended, for long-range voyaging. For that, it's hard to beat a Nordhavn. For coastal cruising, though, we'd prefer a boat with a bit more top speed, so we wouldn't have to spend so long enroute between harbors. We think you should analyze just how you're going to use any boat you buy – and be realistic; if your plans will soon include crossing an ocean or doing long-distance coastal work going into the high Arctic or deep into the tropics, then the Nordhavn 43 could be just the boat for you. Otherwise, we'd suggest looking at less-rangy, more fleet-footed vessels.Tahiti, anyone?
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!