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"The voyage of Nordhavn"
Around the World in a 40 Foot Trawler...
By Tim Banse

JULY 2002 SOUTHERN BOATING


That's the thing about Americans and their boats: They thrive on challenge and high adventure. Case in point is M/V Nordhavn, the 40-foot trawler that recently circumnavigated the globe in just six months. Ports of call included Yap, Singapore, Oman, Athens, Mallorca, the Canary Islands, Barbados, Panama, Mexico and other exotic locales. The 26,000-mile six-month-long passage, completed in June 2002, effectively showcased the capabilities of trawlers in general and the Nordhavn 40 in particular.

The design is a modified, full-displacement hull replete with a tunnel for the propeller; a configuration that allows spinning a larger-diameter propeller is more efficient and it's quieter. The boat cruised at six knots with a top speed of eight knots. True to the nature of trawler travel, fuel economy was exemplary. At six knots the main engine sipped fuel at the misery rate of just 1.6 gallons per hour (gph). At wide open throttle (1840 rpm) fuel flowed at 4.0 gph.

In the unlikely event the main engine would have ever given up the ghost, the 27 horsepower Yanmar diesel "wing engine" would have provided limp-to-port capability. With it the boat travels at speeds of up to six knots in calm seas and three knots in difficult conditions.

Seakeeping abilities proved eminently worthy of world cruising. According to Nordhavn crew member, Jeff Merrill, the high bow lends an extraordinarily dry ride. She tracks down swells like she's riding on rails and the long keel holds the boat steady on course.

The full complement of electronics and navigation gear included C-MAP NT electronic charts plus Raymarine GPS, chartplotters, radar, echo sounders, autopilots and navigation software. Both companies merit special mention as official sponsors of the ambitious voyage. Merrill quipped that without the gear, they would have lost.

Finally, Nordhavn planners rather wisely divided the circumnavigation into five separate legs, each one with different crew members. I joined the boat in Panama in order to crew during its canal transit. I came away from the experience with a fire burning in my belly: I want to quite my job and go cruising in a trawler.

 

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