Like its namesake, the Nordic Tug 49 is built for rugged work. For example, the boat has three rub rails, with the center one integrally molded into the hull. This rail will easily handle those occasional bumps. Owners should not fear letting her lean on the pilings to spring off the dock.
Lots of Teak.
The interior woodwork is teak, with impeccable attention to detail and high quality fit-and-finish on the cabinets, trim and finishes.
Washer and Dryer.
The Nordic Tug 49 we tested had both a washer and dryer unit which were cleverly installed below deck in the forward compartment. And a convenient laundry chute in the starboard side lower cabinet.
The owner of the boat tested configured the boat to sleep 10 people. In the forward cabin the owner specified four full size bunk beds instead of the standard queen berth. The other sleeping accommodations are in the master, the hide-a-bed in the salon and the convertible dinette in the pilothouse.
The access to the flying bridge from the cockpit and from the pilothouse is serviced by staircases with treads and risers more similar to what we might find in a house than on a boat. The result is that they are easier, and safer, to climb for older boaters and for kids.
Both bow and stern thrusters make for easy maneuvering around the dock. These thrusters should eliminate any concern about the ease of docking with a single-engine boat.
Most boats this size have twin engines, but traditional trawlers, just like commercial workboats, usually have a single engine for significant fuel economy. By putting a high-horsepower single engine aboard the Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 49, she can go over 14 knots at WOT.
Deep, Full length Keel.
Again, traditional trawlers had deep, full-length keels and so does the Nordic Tug 49. As a result, her prop is fully protected if grounded, and her barn-door rudder is supported at the bottom with a cast iron shoe.
The Nordic Tug 49's rudder is steel, hollow and foil shape. It is protected by the keel and an iron shoe. Because of its size it provides steerage even at relatively low speeds, something that small, twin spade rudders sometimes have difficulty providing.
Tug Design Theme.
Nordic Tugs was the first company to build a production trawler to take its external design cues from working tug boats. As anyone who lives around a commercial harbor knows, tug boats are the hardest working boats on the water, and the Nordic Tug 49 has emulated many of their positive attributes for cruising boaters. On the West Coast it is not unusual to see converted coastal tugs made into live-aboard cruisers.
Wide-Body Salon Design.
By minimizing her side decks to 11.5" (5.17 m) cat walks for hanging fenders when docking or going through locks, the Nordic Tug 49 has picked up at least a foot of valuable space inside.
Propulsion / Engine Room
The Nordic Tug 49 is powered by a single Volvo Penta D-11 engine.
Single Engine Worries?
Most boaters we know have some apprehension when it comes to outfitting a boat with a single engine so that subject needs to be addressed. Since the mission of this vessel is to actually go cruising -- and not just appear
Most large commercial vessels
such as ocean-going tankers, freighters, sea-going tugs, ferries, cruise ships, and many other types of vessels have only one main propulsion engine. Traditional recreational trawlers and long range cruisers -- by definition -- have only a single engine since twin engines could not possibly give them the range or the fuel economy desired to go serious distances on a single load of fuel. In fact, the instances of diesel engine failure in displacement-speed vessels due to a mechanical parts failure in recreational LRCs is exceedingly rare. It is for that reason that we endorse the single-engine concept, so long as there are adequate fuel polishing systems aboard.
Clean Fuel is the Key.
What can go wrong with a diesel, however, is contaminated fuel, something that can shut down a diesel engine. Sediment, bacterial or other organic growth, and water can all clog or starve injectors, thus shutting down one or more cylinders of the engine by clogging or blowing injectors. Older boats, particularly ones in the tropics, are prone to have sediment or organic growth in their fuel tanks. The solution to this potential problem is to make sure that the fuel delivered to it is clean.
The boat we tested was equipped with an ESI fuel polishing system that was made up of a large Racor filter/water separator, a "De-Bug" magnetic array that removes yeast, algae, fungi and other organisms, and a specially-housed, pleated filter that can stop particles down to 2 microns. (A micron is 1/1,000,000 of a meter or .00004 inches. A normal human hair is 75 microns in diameter. Human blood cells are 5 microns in diameter. Bacteria are from 2 to 3 microns in diameter.)
The Polishing Process.
After fuel is taken aboard, all of the fuel in one tank is run through the polisher and returned to the same tank. Then the same process is repeated with the other tank. Nordic Tug's fuel manifold system permits this procedure. Once the fuel has been polished it is ready for use.
Underway the fuel is then sucked through two large Racor fuel filters which typically filter down to 10 microns and separate out any water, before sending this fuel onto the "primary" Cummins fuel filter on the engine which also filters out water and particles down to 2 microns. It is this three-stage filter process that makes the need for engine redundancy far less critical. In fact, our experience is that when there is a serious organism, sediment or water problem both engines in a twin set-up will be shut down, so engine redundancy does not guard against bad fuel.
Other Engine Room Equipment
Our test boat was equipped with an 11.5 kW Onan generator. Onan is a sister company of Cummins, so repair techs can handle both units. Onan also has a reputation for being quiet. In fact the whole engine room is covered in 1" sound insulation with a Silver Mylar surface. Batteries were covered, low, secured and easy to get to. Thru-hulls are all over-sized, bronze and strainers are easily accessible, as is virtually everything in this open engine room. The drive shaft is 3" ss, Aquamet 19 grade with drip-less shaft seal. In fact, one of the most noteworthy things we noticed in the Nordic Tug 49's bilge was the absence of water.
The lazarette can be accessed through a water-tight hatch through the aft bulkhead in the engine room or from a hatch in the aft deck. We like this arrangement as it makes it easy for a captain to check on virtually all of the boat's thru-hulls during one inspection below. As can be seen in our video, the lazarette is large and open, everything is easy to access and there is plenty of room for storage for all manner of things. A washer and dryer can be placed here, although in the test boat it was in the bow compartment.
The new Nordic Tug 49’s hull features a split chine design which provides a comfortable ride while operating at speed and is stable and quiet while at anchor. The chine is elevated at the bow to help prevent that annoying slapping noise heard when the boat is on the anchor or at the dock as ripples on the water hit the boat. We also like the molded-in faux planks on her hullside. These break up the solid fiberglass surface allowing shadow to make her high freeboard more visually pleasing. The freeboard is 5'6" (1.68 m) amidships and 5'4" (1.63 m) at the stern.
Her Long Suit is Displacement.
The hull is semi-displacement which means she can plane if enough power is applied. But her forte is traveling at displacement speeds and that is what we recommend for most of her work, leaving her WOT speed potential of 14 to 15 knots in reserve for emergency situations. Boaters who want to go faster than 12 knots, should seriously consider if they really want to do long distance cruising or not. If speed in the 20-knot range or higher is wanted this is not the right boat. Those kinds of speeds require large twin engines and small spade rudders. Such boats lose the protection of a deep keel, and, of course, have limited range and fuel economy.
The aspect of her hull that we like the most is her full keel which not only gives her good tracking ability, slows her rolling, lowers her CG, but it also protects her prop and rudder from grounding. It offers remarkable peace of mind, and in fact eliminates one of the greatest hazards of long distance cruising -- damaged props in out-of-the-way places. There is a cast iron shoe that is affixed to the bottom of the keel aft which bridges the gap from the "deadwood" of the keel to the bottom of the rudder, thus giving it support and protection.
The focal point of any trawler is its salon. We would have to search for some time to find a salon more cozy and comfortable than on the Nordic Tug 49 we tested. Because it was an owner's boat, she was fully furnished and decorated. This boat had two comfortable barrel-type chairs plus a moderate-sized sofa that makes into a bed for two. The large windows on three sides make the cabin bright and airy. Headroom is 6'6" (1.98 m).
Deciding on Dining.
The owners of the test boat were a couple who were veteran boaters who had owned trawlers in the past and knew what they wanted. They had decided that the large dinette in the pilot house would be their primary dining table, and the standard layout which has a table in the salon. This decision maximized both the comfort and the cozy feel of the salon, in our opinion.All owners of raised pilothouse motoryachts or trawlers smaller than about 70' have to make this decision. By having the dining table/cocktail table in the salon, a built-in L-shaped couch is usually employed which takes up space -- and really obviates a traditional "sitting-only" salon. It also makes sleeping two people here in a pinch more difficult.
Cozy, Functional Salon.
By opting to use the settee in the pilothouse as the dining table, the owners of our test boat left the salon free to be what it should be -- a comfortable sitting area family and friends can gather. The sofa in our test boat was also a hide-a-bed, and from the right manufacturer they can be remarkably comfortable and easy to make up.
The galley shares the space behind the pilothouse and is located forward, as is traditional in this style of trawler yacht. The U-shaped galley has a wrap-around Corian counter top with a lip that is not quite "fiddle height." It is equipped with a standard dishwasher, optional gas oven, four-burner stove, stainless steel sink with a combination faucet/spray handle and a convection microwave oven. Storage abounds both above, under the counter tops, and adjacent to the galley on the starboard side of the interior.
Most important for any true cruising boat, the galley has a stand-up refrigerator/freezer. The owners of this boat decided to apportion the cooler/freezer sections 50/50, but many variations are optional. The important thing is that it is stand-up and not under the counter, which is the flavor of the month in some boats. Further, the refrigerator/freezer units is securely anchored so they will not move in even the most rambunctious seaway.
Full Beam Master Stateroom.
Down a set of stairs and turn to the left is the full-beam master stateroom which has an island berth that measures 6’6” (1.98 m) x 4’ 10” (1.47 m), with plenty of room to walk around. Because the bed measures just 2” short of being a standard size queen bed, queen-size sheets and bedding fits and eliminates the need for custom-made bedding. There is a lot of storage throughout the cabin including storage drawers under the bed. A vanity, flatscreen TV and sound system provide all the features needed in a master suite. Again all cabinet and door facings are Sapele. The master head is what one would expect to find on a boat of this type – it is good-sized and has a separate stall shower.
The forward stateroom is one of the most practical we have ever seen in this size boat. Since the owner has four grandchildren and plans to bring them all cruising, along with their two sets of parents, the owner asked Nordic Tugs to abandon the standard queen and build in a 4-berth bunk room.The result is a remarkably functional cabin, with more deck space, storage and comfortable single bunks than we have seen on any recreational cruiser under 80’. These four beds are all about standard twin size, allowing off-the-shelf linens to be used. (On each berth is a brass plate with each grandchild’s name. )
Washer and Dryer.
In the middle of the deck of the forward stateroom is a large hatch with ladder to the ship’s laundry room. There, we find separate washer and dryer units, storage and access to the bow.
Being veteran cruisers, the owners of this vessel know that it is far preferable to have separate washer and dryer units aboard if there is room. Not only is their capacity greater for each chore, but they also do a much better job of drying. They decided to put the units in the bow rather than in the lazarette.
Moving forward and up a couple of steps we arrive at the pilothouse which is as well-equipped, as spacious and as luxurious as any in class. Clearly this is the heart of the command and operations center for the vessel. This area has been carefully laid out for the serious captain with comfort and functionality in mind. It is a traditional layout, one that has been tested over the years on many types and sizes of boats and has proven itself. There are no gimmicks or innovations here.
Visibility is Key.
The three large rectangular forward windshields and two side windows maximize visibility forward. To both port and starboard there are sliding Diamond Sea Glaze watertight doors with large windows. Further aft there are two more large windows which all together provide the captain with about 270-degrees of visibility – an amount which is noteworthy for a vessel in this class.
There is an impressive array of electronics installed that are easily viewed and controlled from the Stidd helm seat. Overhead, the builder has installed a cabinet for additional electronics. We would limit gear going there to things that are only occasionally referenced, such as an anemometer, barometer, clock and the like. There is a raised navigation screen dash that is not too high and is large enough for two 15” screens plus other, smaller screens and readouts.
Stairways to Heaven.
There is a stairway to starboard forward that leads to the staterooms and day head below, with well-placed grab rails. Behind the helm is a set of stairs to the flying bridge. Well-crafted wood rails, posts and newel accentuate the staircase.
The flying bridge provides excellent visibility for a panoramic view of the boat and has a full complement of controls and electronics for the captain. The full size stainless steel wheel on the test boat required lots of input to move the rock-solid and tight setting of the controls. Response to input was not fast, something we kept in mind when maneuvering, especially around the dock. Steering need not be so stiff and we would make the appropriate changes to improve this detail of handling.
The element that we like most about this flying bridge is the high bulwark design that surrounds the bridge space. Acrylic wind deflectors are placed on top of the coaming making the bridge even more secure. Built-in seating to port comfortably handles three people. Abaft the flying bridge is the ship’s mast with the radar antenna mounted above everyone’s heads, just the way we like to see it done.
Down two steps from the helm is the huge boat deck. One of the positive aspects of the NT 49’s design is the large coach roof that can easily handle a 15’ (4.57 m) tender. Every true cruising boat needs a tender, in fact, we think a tender is actually the second most important item of equipment after the ship’s main engine. In this case, the tender can easily be launched and retrieved by one person thanks to the hydraulic davit. When at anchor or in port the tender is usually launched which then frees up the boat deck for other purposes such as sun bathing, lounging, or making a venue for a cocktail party or even dinner with the addition of folding tables and chairs. The cradle for the tender can be removed, making virtually all of the coach roof square footage useful for entertaining.
A large engine room provides plenty of space to move around the engine and components. Headroom ranges from 4'8" (1.47 m) to 4'11" (1.49 m). An impressive amount of insulation, 1” thick, with a barrier and silver Mylar finish, covers the engine compartment to control the sound levels while underway.
The Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 49 has a LOA of 52’3’’ (15.93 m), a beam of 16’1” and a draft of 4’2” (1.27 m). With an empty weight of 45,000 lbs. (40,455 kg), 640 gallons (2,422 L) of fuel and five people on board, we had an estimated test weight of 56, 455 lbs (25,607 kg).
Powered by a single 610-hp Cummins QSM11 engine turning a 35 x 29 five bladed prop with a left hand rotation, we reached a top speed at 2280 rpm of 14.2 kts. At that speed we were burning 29.9 gph giving us a range of 342 nautical miles.Best cruise of this semi-displacement hull with an LWL of 48’4” really depends on how fast the owner wants to run the boat. Using her waterline length to determine her theoretical displacement hull speed, we come up with 9.3 kts (using the formula of sq. root of LWL x 1.34) where her bow wave length equals her waterline length. ) At 1500 rpm she did exactly that speed, burning 8.1 gph for a range of that speed, she should have a range of 636 nautical miles with a 10% reserve. That means at that pace she can travel from Newport, R.I to Bermuda with a 10% fuel reserve to spare -- the Gulf Stream notwithstanding.
On coastal cruises she will burn just 12.7 gph at 10 knots giving her a 571 nmile range. That means 80 nmiles can be covered in an 8-hour day, which is not bad. And who is in a hurry? We like getting underway at 7 a.m. when conditions are often flat and dropping anchor at 3pm, giving us time to do some fishing before dinner.
Long Range Cruising.
We normally don't think of the Nordic Tug 49 as being a long range cruiser (LRC) much less a trans-oceanic cruiser, but the fact of the matter is, because of her LWL, 800-gallon fuel capacity, relatively light weight in this class, and single engine -- she has a range at 1250 RPM and 7.2 knots of 2,402 nmiles. That means she may reach fuel stops crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific. Not only does she have the range, but she also gets 3.3 nmpg. That is the holy grail for boats in her size among LRC vessels. When we compare this performance to a couple of brands famous for their trans-oceanic travel, we find that at about the same speed, the Nordic Tug 49 is 45% more fuel efficient in the 7.2 kts - 7.3 kts range. That means to have 2400 nm range she doesn't have to carry well over a thousand gallons of fuel.
How Can this Be?
Essentially, for two basic reasons: 1) The Nordic Tug with a dry weight of 50,000 lbs. is 30% to 40% lighter than the other pure displacement vessels and take less effort to push because of its weight and lower draft; and, 2) at 1,000 RPM she is developing less than 200-hp but about 67% of its maximum torque, whereas smaller diesel engines must run a higher rpm to push the same load at the same speed, much less push a load that is much heavier.
While underway and making way, maneuvering in a tight serpentine pattern, she produced a noticeable lean to port while a turn to starboard produces half as much lean. The wide flared bow allows her to easily handle relatively high waves and would provide the operator confidence when encountering foul weather offshore. It is important to note that in offshore conditions with 6’ to 8’ seas, virtually no recreational motoryacht can go faster than about 8 knots so the Nordic Tug 49’s single-engine displacement speed is not only more economical, but her low CG and relatively heavy weight make her far more comfortable than a conventional light-weight express-type boats, for example.
Strength in Following Seas.
While we did not test the Nordic Tug 49 in a following sea offshore, her design is made for just that kind of condition. It is on this point of sail in snotty conditions that trawler-type yachts with twin engines and two small spade rudders often become difficult to control for several reasons. One reason is that at slow speeds, small rudders take time to turn the boat. Without a deep, full-length keel to provide directional stability these vessels are more likely to yaw requiring attentive, skillful piloting to stay headed the right direction
The Nordic Tug 49’s design
, on the other hand, with its full-length keel and large, barn-door rudder has much more surface area with which to steer the vessel. Together, the long keel and the big rudder make it easier to keep this boat pointed in the right direction in these conditions.
While some may be concerned about docking a boat this size with only one engine, this boat puts those fears to rest quickly when approaching the dock. She settles down quickly and predictably when power is reduced. Then little nudges with both the main engine and the two thrusters effectively position her. If things get a little out of shape, the bow and stern thrusters provide that little boost that provides smooth and uncomplicated docking.
Options to Consider
Fuel Polishing System:
A really good upgrade, strongly recommended for cruising with a single engine. This will provide peace of mind.
They are advisable for those planning long offshore passages with a less than seasoned crew. We don't think they’re necessary for coastal cruising.
For the serious long range cruisers venturing into foreign waters where water quality may be a concern or availability is restricted we recommend one. Remember that the Nordic Tug 49 carries just 395 gallons of water and a dishwasher, cloths washer, and four grand children can make quick work of that water tank.
Aft Deck Station:
Engine and thruster controls on the aft deck make backing in easy, so why not get them?
The owner of this vessel is planning on placing about 15 lbs. of thin solar panel sheets on the top of his canvas Bimini. He says that 4 panels will generate 400 Amps which is enough to keep his 8 AGM batteries topped off and his refrigerators humming while the boat is idle on a mooring.
$1,186,670 base price.
The whole watchword for the Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 49 is “room”. Because of her tug/trawler-like shape the Nordic Tug 49 carries her 16’1” (4.90 m) beam well forward giving her large staterooms. Her deep keel and high topsides permit her accommodations decks to be wide, avoiding the necessity for “cheating” angles in decks we have sometimes seen in boats pushing living spaces forward. For the nervous nellies who who are concerned about a single engine and get-home power, perhaps a hydraulic arrangement driving the drive shaft from a PTO on the generator can be arranged. While years ago we might have considered such an option, because of the boat’s fuel-polishing equipment and the proven reliability of the Cummins QSM 11 engine, we would simply invest in three sets of stout ground tackle – two at the bow and one in the stern lazarette and leave it at that. Finally, while the Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 49 can travel in the mid teens, it should be remembered that that she is essentially a displacement cruising yacht, encorporating all of the economics and safety features that are enherent in that type of vessel. And, when it comes to really long distance cruising she is a sleeper. Her fuel efficiency at displacement speeds are noteworthy.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 49 (2014-) is 16.4 mph (26.4 kph), burning 29.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 113.17 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Nordic Tugs Nordic Tug 49 (2014-) is 13.0 mph (20.9 kph), and the boat gets 0.7 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.3 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 497 miles (799.84 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 610-hp Cummins QSM 11.
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
(It's quick and FREE!)