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"The New Nordhavn 47"
By Bill Parlatore

Passagemaker - June 2004

It is fascinating to witness the amazing trend of the growth of our trawler market. From aging sailors who want to give up the ha work associated with sails and rigging to wanderlust-filled baby boomers ready for their next adventure, the number of people looking to buy a rugged trawler is at an alltime high. It seems that, for many people, the modern passagemaker yacht is a decidedly good choice for exploring the world.

When Pacific Asian Enterprises launched the first Nordhavn 46 in 1989, the boat soon captured the hearts and imaginations of many would-be cruisers. Looking every bit the part of a little ship, the Nordhavn 46 made such dreams come true for many owners. And even though some owners never really got out of sight of land, the attraction of this boat was that these people knew they could cross oceans if they wanted. It is a confidence-boosting conviction I've heard countless times.

The Nordhavn fleet has since expanded into other models, each building on the lessons learned and the design philosophy that made the Nordhavn 46 a success. Strongly built and efficient under power, the yachts have racked up thousands of sea miles, and as a result no company claims more bluewater experience. The new Nordhavn 47 is the latest incarnation of the design evolution at PAE. It represents a new family of passagemaker for the California-based company, and, in many ways, the boat is as different as it is similar to the original 46. Jim Leishman, vice president of PAE, explained the concept behind this boat, the next generation Nordhavn, a line that now includes models from 40 to 72 feet.

"The 46 is a small boat for its size," Jim said. "It is a great boat, but it does have limited interior volume that doesn't carry weight all that well:" The conclusion that the new 47 is slotted to replace the 46 is incorrect, as it is a hugely different boat that compares much better with larger boats. It is much closer, in fact, to the Nordhavn 50. But the idea of a rugged little ship that can safely travel the world and is easily handled by a couple remains a cornerstone of the Nordhavn philosophy for all of its boats. And the N46 and N47 share that closely.

The canoe-sterned, maximum efficiency N46 and N62 remain in production, as their popularity continues, but the new generation of Nordhavns is evidence that more buyers are willing to trade small interiors in efficient hulls for more accommodations tankage and load carrying ability. These new boats - and the Nordhavn 47 is the bull's eye in my minds-eye only slightly less efficient yet have a higher speed potential, increased interior volume and can carry more weight (in fuel, equipment and stores). As Jim pointed out, experience shows today's cruising couples are not pinching pennies to save diesel fuel, and they are willing to accept a slight increase in fuel burn to get larger living spaces and longer range.

The new Nordhavns carry beam farther aft for fuller stern sections, which translates into a huge volume stern for greater lift and buoyancy under way. The full load displacement of the 47 is 85,000 pounds, whereas the Nordhavn 46's full load displacement is 60,000 pounds. Big difference.

Other characteristics of the new generation include a high bow, high freeboard and a profile that is much less traditional than that of the earlier boats. And the new boats carry a significant amount of their empty weight (about 10 percent) in the form of ballasted keel, fuel, water and machinery located low in the hull. The Nordhavn 46 carries 1,000 gallons of fuel, while the new 47's capacity exceeds 1,400 gallons. Let's go aboard and check out the new boat.

IN YOUR FACE

The first thing I noticed when I stepped up to the boat is its size. With or without the optional flybridge, the Nordhavn 47 is one very large boat. The high bow is 8 feet off the water, and the sheer keeps that distance all the way past the pilothouse, more than half of the length of the hull.

The boat has an asymmetrical layout, so there is a 20-inch-wide side deck on the starboard side only, as with other trawlers that balance side deck access with increased interior room in the saloon.

A sturdy rubrail at the waterline extends from the stern swim platform forward to just below the pilothouse. Cruising in the real world makes such protection a necessary feature, though, surprisingly, it's missing on many boats. Stainless steel handrails and stanchions extend down the length of all exterior walkways, making for secure transit as well as handy places to tie fenders. There is a transom door that opens outboard, and a starboard side door allows easy access from a floating dock or at high tide.

Interestingly, the several days I spent aboard a Nordhavn 47 in the Bahamas and at the Nordhavn office in Stuart, Florida, proved this side door inadequate for the job of getting on or off the boat when tides are running in either direction. Dennis Lawrence, a sales rep who works in the Stuart office, told me they are working to increase boarding options on this boat, as East Coast cruisers seldom find floating docks and need more flexible boarding access. It is a problem on many boats, but the high bulwarks and extended boat deck over the side deck on this yacht make boarding especially gymnastic if the boat is much lower than the dock.

One suggestion might be to cut out and hinge a recessed section in the upper bulwark across from the pilothouse door. The panel is recessed in the bulwark to allow the 21-inch pilothouse door to swing fully open into the 20-inch-wide side deck. At a low tide, this panel, if hinged along its bottom edge, could swing out (drawbridge style) to become a passerelle onto the dock, making light work of getting off the boat when the aft side door is too low from the dock. There might be other solutions, but something needs to be figured out, as cruising with a dog or arthritis will demand a solution. Again, this is a common issue on many cruising boats-access is impaired in dynamic tidal regions.

Once aboard, however, the secure feeling of high bulwarks, positive nonskid and protected walkways is obvious all around the boat. One can freely move about without worry, as there is always something to hold onto.

Walking forward on the starboard side, the side deck leads to a series of steps up to the Portuguese bridge, which rings the pilothouse. One steps out onto the foredeck from behind the bridge. There are large lockers in the bridge as well as two large lockers on the foredeck, so storing fenders, lines and shorepower cables should never be an issue. The bow is about 12 feet from the front of the Portuguese bridge.

The bow has a clever raised dam surrounding the anchoring gear. I had a similar setup on my Baba 30 sailboat. I could raise the anchor and rode, all muddy and yucky, but when I hosed it off the mud didn't run down the foredeck; it was channeled by the dam to two drains in the deck. This is a very useful feature for cruising.

A 20-inch round Freeman submarine hatch opens into a chain locker that can swallow two rodes of 400-foot chain. It is even possible to climb down into the chain locker, and the watertight bulkhead between the locker and the interior inspires confidence when crossing an ocean littered with shipping containers. Dual anchor rollers and a Maxwell 3500 vertical windlass can accommodate up to a 110-pound Bruce or 105-pound CQR. PAE knows that serious anchoring gear is the best insurance around.

Between the tall 1-1/4-inch stainless steel stanchions and the raised bulwarks on the foredeck, the foredeck perimeter offers 32-inch-high protection. That is necessary on any offshore boat, although there is not much need to be out on the foredeck under way on a modern passagemaker.

Stepping back behind the Portuguese bridge, I measured 6-foot-6-inch headroom under the extended eyebrow over the bridge area. The 36inch-high bridge creates a 20-inch passageway around the bridge deck.

Up Top... OR NOT

As there is no side deck portside, the port bridge deck leads to five molded steps up to the boat deck, and flybridge if so equipped. The boat deck measures 12 feet long by 14 feet wide and can accommodate a variety of tender options.

I spoke about the optional flybridge with the owner of one N47 being commissioned in Stuart. Many boats are ordered with the flybridge, although this fair-skinned fellow is too aware of skin cancer to want to tempt fate, so his boat does not have this feature. Having once suffered the disease, I wholeheartedly agree with his logic. Those who don't worry of such things can enjoy the splendid view from this location, which is very nice for the tropics. Generous seating makes the flybridge a social center under way or at anchor, especially with a hardtop or bimini.

The standard boat comes with a short stack, and a mast and boom to handle the dinghy. The dry exhaust stack runs up the stack and mast, held off by stainless steel brackets designed to minimize transmission of vibration from the exhaust to the boat's interior. It works very well.

An optional larger stack replaces the mast and boom and offers a great place to mount radar antennas, radio gear and exterior lights. The fiberglass stack looks great, but does mean one must install a separate davit crane to handle the dinghy in lieu of the mast and boom gear.

Looking carefully over the port side of the boat deck, I noticed the single paravane pole for use at anchor. It stows securely just under the boat deck, ready to be deployed over the side when the anchor is down and it's time for cocktails in paradise. Shaken, not rolled.

Walking back down to the Portuguese bridge and then down the covered starboard side deck, I imagined being on this boat far offshore. PAE's efforts to eliminate foot obstacles and dangerous sharp edges in moldings or metal work are admirable. Nothing spoils a day at sea quicker than smashing one's toes into a cleat while attending to some task, or being thrown into a sharp corner of house structure by a rogue wave. Been there, done that, and it's no fun.

The covered aft cockpit is a cozy, protected back porch that is 5 feet long and more than 13 feet wide, with 7 feet of headroom. It provides enough space for a couple of chairs and a table, or to sort through scuba gear between dives, or any number of other activities. The hinged transom door swings out for easy access to the swim platform, but the cockpit is deep, so there is not a sense of being at risk at sea. An optional cockpit station allows close quarter maneuvering from this location, as visibility from the flybridge or pilothouse is limited when backing into a slip. Most of the N47s I've seen have this aft station, so it must be a good thing.

A large lazarette hatch opens to reveal one of the benefits of the fuller stern section. The lazarette is literally a cavern, with enough volume to swallow dive gear, compressor, spares, tools, folding bicycles, golf clubs, extra provisions, even a stowaway or two. There is a ladder down into the lazarette, and one can get right inside the space to service steering gear or other equipment. (The ladder is a stainless steel affair, and I would prefer flat steps rather than round tube ones, which are hard on bare feet. I would also like to see the builder open up the angle of the ladder so that the steps are less vertical; as they are now, one must hold onto the open hatch while going in or out of the lazarette. There is plenty of room for a more relaxed set of steps, and the ladder could even be removable.)

I also noticed the master battery disconnect switches are located in the lazarette-out of the engine room. That is outstanding and almost never seen on a production boat. If there is ever a fire, especially an electrical fire, crew can get to these switches to shut off the electrical system without endangering themselves in a deadly engine room compartment. Too many people have died for precisely this reason.

INSIDE THE NORDHAVN 47

The saloon door is a heavy-duty Diamond SeaGlaze unit, measuring 35 inches wide and over 6 feet high. All windows and doors in the Nordhavn are from British Columbia-based Diamond SeaGlaze, and the door dogs lock securely. All windows are 1/2-inch glass.

The standard interior has a settee on the port side of the saloon, with a settee and table on the starboard side. Several boats I've seen do not have the portside settee, which opens the space for two comfortable chairs, such as those tasty Ekornes Stressless reclining chairs. Many off-watch hours have been spent napping in one of these comfortable chairs.

The large windows make for a bright interior, even though the traditional teak interior treatment is the same as that on many yachts from Taiwan and China. The fit and finish of the joinerwork is first class. These boatbuilders have really refined wood interiors in yachts, and it just doesn't get any better. Headroom throughout the boat is 6 feet 6 inches, and the tall profile of the exterior is why... the living spaces on this boat are not cramped and narrow. It is an interior that anyone can live with.

As opposed to Nordhavns of even a couple of years ago, gone are those annoying fiddles on all tables and counters. Fiddles are not necessary on a trawler yacht, especially one that is stabilized. I've complained about getting forearm bruises from trying to use a laptop on the saloon table, or being unable to rest my arms on the table during a meal.

Thankfully, all counters and tables have gently sloped edges for relaxed and dignified use. The trim on some surfaces works as a handhold.

On most of these boats, a flat screen TV is installed on a cabinet just forward of the settee on the starboard side. A granite countertop separates the saloon and galley. The galley on this boat is especially nice, and Dennis Lawrence explained the company is making special efforts to provide owners with appliances and conveniences they are accustomed to at home. Full size, domestic appliances are used throughout the Nordhavn 47 whenever possible: Thermodor propane stove and self-cleaning electric oven, Sub-Zero refrigerator (with icemaker) and freezers, GE Spacesaver 220VAC washer/dryer, microwave convection oven, Broan trash compactor, optional Miele dishwasher. The galley is more of a domestic kitchen than what you'd see on other trawlers. And, of course, there is storage everywhere.

The washer and dryer units are located across from the galley in a locker, ready for use.

AUTOMATE, ELIMINATE OR EVAPORATE

All of this brings up a major element in the mission behind this new generation of Nordhavns. And it is important to understand this before we move forward. The goal of everyone at PAE is to make the Nordhavn reliable, user friendly and "Lexus clean."

"Our customers used to be older sailors, who were used to doing everything themselves," Dennis told me. "Today, our customer profile has shifted, and we're now meeting more baby boomers who are not sailors, and who want a turnkey boat. I call it the `Lexus mentality' of today's Nordhavn buyer. If it is too complicated, it is overwhelming. On the Nordhavn 46, for example, the fuel management system was way too complicated. We have changed this entirely on these new boats."

PAE's goal, despite the fact that it builds boats capable of going around the world, is to make its boats easier to use, more reliable, less dependent on the owner. It is OK to be comfortable, to automate when it makes sense and to make it less important for an owner to become an engineer to keep the boat operational.

This philosophy is evident all over the boat. The recent change to 24VDC is an example, as are the isolation and balancing transformers (which accept either European or U.S. shorepower automatically). The reason to use 24 volts is the batteries can be located together with more efficiency and less energy.

Electrical consultant Mickey Smith has worked closely with PAE to design an electrical system that delivers the same power at half the current, enabling longer wire runs with less heat. The result is a more complicated boat, at least behind the scenes, but one that works simply and reliably and takes the owner out of the loop.

This is evident in other areas of the boat, but the point here is that great pains are taken to remove the owners from the equation, much like in modern automobiles. Look under the hood of a Cadillac or Mercedes, and you'll find there is little to see or do or check. The car takes care of itself and lets you know when it needs attention. That is precisely what PAE hopes to achieve-a turnkey expedition trawler that can cross oceans without fuss.

The customer who can afford a modern passagemaker of this caliber has many choices on how to spend his or her time and money. To compete in today's world, therefore, boatbuilders have to make their products better and more reliable, or people will turn to other activities. It is a fact of life that we must acknowledge. We must raise the bar in all areas of the boating experience, or these people will go away. The days of camping on an otherwise luxurious yacht are gone, and couples now expect comfort, convenience, safety and reliability.

The trawler lifestyle is unique in that it appeals to folks who may not have owned a boat before and who did not come up the ranks of college keelboat racing and years of sailing. It is incorrect to think that most trawler owners come out of sailing, and our PMM demographic studies have proven that repeatedly. The folks at PAE see this and work hard to develop products that are closer to what is expected from the people who look today at Nordhavns. These potential buyers don't know about Eric Hiscock or Robin Lee Graham or Joshua Slocum-or even Robert Beebe.

Times have changed, and so must we. The extensive owner's manual that comes with each new Nordhavn is a tour de force of useful and practical information on how to understand, operate and maintain the systems on a Nordhavn. Few builders go to such lengths to demystify the ownership experience. PAE gets it.

COMMAND AND CONTROL CENTER

Up a few steps from the galley is the pilothouse, the central location for running the boat and the social center under way. The area on this new boat is really opened up for moving around without squeezing between the Stidd helm chair and settee table. Sightlines from the helm are good in all directions but aft, although two large ports provide some visibility behind the boat. The standard helm arrangement provides three electronics consoles, with room for additional electronics above the large windows. I didn't measure it, but the pilothouse on the Nordhavn 47 even seems bigger than the pilothouse on the Nordhavn 62. Four of us could move around the helm area, and the seating on the settee behind the helm offers good visibility. A watch berth is located behind the settee. And, again, no painful fiddles on the small table.

The two pilothouse doors measure 21 inches wide by 69 inches high, and they're raised several inches above the sole so that water will not leak into the pilothouse should spray and seawater collect behind the Portuguese bridge in a beam sea. Diamond SeaGlaze makes nice doors. When properly installed, they close with a resounding clunk.

Dennis Lawrence mentioned that the steering arrangement installed on the flybridge is offered in the pilothouse as well. Most commercial workboats and fishboats have a slanted wheel with turning knob for maneuvering a single-engine boat in close quarters. Given the angle of the wheel, it is easy to quickly turn the rudder from lock to lock in seconds. A traditional vertically mounted wheel is difficult to turn quickly.

So the company offers a slanted pilothouse wheel, although no one as yet has taken that option. I think it may prove to be a better steering choice than the typical stainless steel destroyer wheel. Most owners hand steer a boat only in close quarters, letting the autopilot do the job the rest of the time. It will be interesting to see if this takes hold as a future development.

On the starboard side of the pilothouse is the curved stairway down to the sleeping accommodations in the boat. Going down the steps, I noticed a dedicated Sub-Zero freezer and several more lockers. I can't imagine filling all of these lockers!

STATEROOMS TO LIVE IN

The Nordhavn 47 is available with a two stateroom layout, with a master stateroom amidships and guest stateroom forward. An optional layout splits the forward stateroom into two smaller cabins. Either way, the staterooms are certainly adequate for living aboard and feature an en suite head and separate shower.

The guest cabin in the two-stateroom layout includes a roomy desk and computer-friendly office on the starboard side, complete with swing-out seat, and there is a double berth opposite on the port side. There is abundant storage in the form of drawers, lockers and shelves, certainly able to handle the personal items of even long term guests and crew. The head is in the bow, just behind the chain locker's watertight bulkhead. It seems an ideal location, at least when not moving, with an overhead hatch for a shower experience with tropical breezes above. Very nice. The guest head also features lots of storage for toiletries, towels and linens, and all those rolls of toilet paper for a world cruise.

The master stateroom is located in the center of the boat for the least motion under way, and the most amount of living space in the widest area of the boat. Headroom is at least 6 feet 4 inches. A large hanging locker is located on the port side next to the master berth, and there is useable storage all around this stateroom. It is easy to imagine living in this cabin without having to balance on end to get dressed or apologize for the lack of privacy. No apologies necessary on this boat.

The master head is finished for easy cleaning, simplicity and elegance. While I did not use the master head, it may qualify as an all-time favorite, with a nice walk-in shower and counters that can fit the real world.

A HOLY PLACE OF DISTINCTION

I saved the best for last. If you have ever gone into a Nordhavn 46 engine room, you don't need me to mention its lack of elbowroom. As Jim Leishman mentioned years ago, Chief Designer Jeff Leishman's original design featured a large engine room, but it got knocked down to make room for more living spaces. As a result, the boat's engine room suffers.

When we witnessed the Nordhavn 40 tank testing in British Columbia, you may recall the small blisters PAE added to the hull to provide headroom in the engine room gave the boat an edge in performance, much to everyone's surprise. The N40 was somehow more efficient with the blisters, which PAE calls "maintenance strakes."

To make the 47-footer even better, the design team decided to increase the size and length of these blisters.

An 18-inch-wide dogged engine room door with a 12-inch-by-8-inch window leads into the engine room from the master stateroom. And due to the larger strakes, when you walk down the steps into the engine room, you experience 6 feet of headroom. Wow! As one walks aft 4 feet, this wonderful headroom remains, and it only gradually diminishes moving aft, as far as the second access door leading into the lazarette. But even there I measured 47 inches of headroom, which is still fine, as one can easily sit to perform any task in that area.

Main propulsion is from a Lugger LP668T turbocharged diesel engine rated at 174hp. To ensure reliability, the engine is keel cooled with a Fernstrum Gridcooler keel cooler, so cooling circuit problems will be minimal, and the exhaust is a dry stack up to the boat deck.

The diesel runs through a ZF transmission with a 3.96-to-1 reduction gear to spin a four-blade 34-by30 bronze propeller on a 2.25-inch shaft. This is heavy-duty running gear that should last a very long time, indeed. A Spurs line cutter is standard.

Several genset options are available, all from Northern Lights, from 8kW up to 16kW PAE's the generator on the port side, behind the main propulsion system. Overall, it is a very clean and simple engine room.

But that points to another example of the "Lexus mentality." I found the engine room on this boat to be rather sterile. To keep sound levels to a minimum, thick sound deadening material lines the engine room, with perforated aluminum sheeting covering all vertical and horizontal surfaces. Besides providing sound control, Dennis explained this treatment is an attempt to simplify the engine room for non-engineer owners.

I come from the school of wanting to see, touch and smell every hose, valve and wire in an engine room, and it bothers me to see it all covered up. The commercial guys I know love to see hoses and fuel lines and fix leaks before they happen. Guess I'm a dinosaur compared to the folks buying these boats.

It is an acquired taste, but Dennis assured me that every important component in the engine space is easily accessed, and he opened several covers to reveal the underlying detail. I understand PAE's reasoning, and it apparently works to simplify the machinery for owners.

In any case, the extremely quiet manner of this boat is a direct result of the extensive sound deadening and paneled engine room treatment.

While we discussed this in the engine room in Stuart, I noted the dual Racor fuel filters recessed in a small window in front of the port fuel tank. I think it would be hard to drain the bowls without spilling diesel fuel into the bilge with such an arrangement, assuming one could even get a wrench under the bowl to loosen the drain plug. Dennis agreed with my observation and said it is being redesigned. PAE never stops tweaking its product, as it aims to make each new boat a little better, simpler, more user friendly. And, speaking of filters, the boat's fuel system is really interesting. Jim Leishman and his team borrowed from the aviation industry when they designed the system on this boat. Two fiberglass fuel tanks straddle the Lugger, for a total capacity of 1,450 gallons. Each tank has a protected sight gauge.

The two tanks gravity feed to a third, 70-gallon centerline supply tank. While some may think of this aluminum supply tank as a day tank, that is not its purpose. The supply tank serves as a central point of the fuel system, with a drain at the bottom that is lower than the other two tanks. The idea is that any water or dirt that enters the main fuel tanks will settle to the bottom of the tank and then run downhill into the aluminum supply tank, where it settles at the bottom. Before beginning a voyage, or after taking on fuel, it is a simple matter to open the valve at the bottom of the supply tank to drain out the contents into a container for inspection. Any water or particulates will drain out ahead of clean fuel.

Theoretically, if some luckless soul were to accidentally pour 20 gallons of water into a fuel tank (yes, it happens), it would then be a simple matter of waiting overnight to let the water settle into the bottom of the central tank and then drain all water out of the fuel system.

The folks at PAE are excited about this fuel system, as it should eliminate the gremlins they've encountered over the years. And a gravity fed system is the height of simplicity.

Even so, an electric transfer pump is installed to move fuel from one location to another in any direction, so total flexibility is maintained throughout the fuel system, which includes a dedicated 10-gallon fuel tank for the optional wing engine.

From the supply tank, fuel passes through one of the dual Racor 900s, then into the diesel. Unburned fuel returns to the centerline tank.

Religiously inspecting the fuel using this gravity drain setup and using 2-micron filters in the Racor and Lugger filters will ensure clean, water-free diesel fuel and trouble-free operation. For more thorough examination every couple of years, large inspection ports are located at the top of each fiberglass main tank.

A 28-gph fuel-scrubbing pump runs the fuel through a separate Racor 900 filter when needed. Among the other clever features on this boat are 1.5-inch by 1/4-inch copper bonding strips that run down each side of the hull. All metals are bonded onto these two strips, using No. 6 green bonding wire. This makes for an orderly and neat bonding system, and it looks much nicer than long spaghetti runs of bonding wire. It is a nice touch.

The Nordhavn 47 carries 400 gallons of fresh water in a fiberglass tank located under the master stateroom sole. As befitting a long-range passagemaker, however, most owners will also install a watermaker system to keep the water flowing. This is a good combination of weight and convenience and takes a systems approach to the water system.

IT'S NOT JUST FOR OFFSHORE ANY MORE

There was a great deal of thought that went into each of the systems on this new generation Nordhavn. The experience of many sea miles and a passion for building good boats makes for a more reliable and satisfying experience for Nordhavn owners, whether they are grizzly old salts or newcomers to the passagemaking scene.

And this reminds me of a point that Dennis and I discussed over dinner one night in Nassau, where we enjoyed a few days with Ron and Lillian Montague aboard their lovely Boundless Grace. The Montagues are getting used to the boat and its systems and plan to take part in the upcoming transAtlantic Nordhavn rally this summer. Every photo I have seen of a Nordhavn under way shows it slogging into head seas, rugged and ready. That can easily lead to a false conclusion as to the nature of this kind of boat. Maybe it's a marketing thing, but it needs clarification.

The reality is the Nordhavn 47 is not just a boat for offshore, despite its impressive credentials and PAE's years of making it just that. I believe its greater role is that of a competent sea boat that also works quite well for serious coastal cruising. Many people dream of cruising long distance, but that does not necessarily translate into endless months at sea, watching bubbles go by and little else. No, the concept of passagemaking is to travel in style and comfort to distant lands, to meet new people, experience different cultures and taste the fruits of adventure. It is not just remaining offshore.

As many have found out, it is possible to go from Alaska to Maine, always within sight of land with minimal need for extended offshore passages. It is also possible to explore many areas of paradise with a series of day trips-to hop down an island chain, not needing to cheat death with every passage.

A boat like the Nordhavn 47 is well suited to such a role, as well as to the offshore voyager. The long range means owners do not have to fret over fuel replenishment in remote out islands or carry stores to remain self-sufficient for weeks, if not months. Having a boat that is as capable as the Nordhavn 47 also means it has the load carrying ability of a real home afloat, and so offers its owners a superior liveaboard experience.

While some aspects of the boat, such as its 5-foot 6-inch draft, may limit its ultimate flexibility to travel in shallow waterways, there is certainly more it can do than not.

While diving in Truk Lagoon is easily possible for owners of such a boat, so are countless other popular cruising grounds that don't involve long offshore treks. The many features of the new Nordhavn 47 that make it work well offshore also make it a darn nice cruising boat for the rest of the time.

Under way the boat is extremely quiet, and the builder's efforts to reduce noise and vibration are clearly successful. Running the boat at 2000 rpm pushes it over 8 knots, and the boat just loafs along. I suspect long passages will end with refreshed crew members invigorated by the journey, rather than tired and ready for shore leave. And so it is with quality passagemakers. The journey becomes part of the attraction, not just something to endure.

The enthusiasm PAE has for its boats is evidenced by the fact that less than one week after I was aboard, Dennis told me that both the boarding access and location of the dual Racors have been addressed by the builder, and changes are forthcoming to resolve both issues. These guys are dedicated boatbuilders.

IN THE SADDLE

As I drove back to Annapolis after my time down in Stuart and the Bahamas, I tried to identify the spirit of this new Nordhavn. I knew it was there but was having a hard time putting my finger on just how this boat struck me. As my thoughts wandered around the wispy edges of an answer, I was brought back to the here and now by Faith Hill, a country singer whose voice touches deep in the fabric of America.

And then it hit me. The spirit I had in my mind of the new Nordhavn 47 is woven in the theme of country music. Not the laments of mama coming home from prison, or pickup truck blues, or gambling away a life, but the image of an American cowboy out on the range. I'd name the boat Shiny Spurs. A Steve McQueen kind of figure, soft spoken, competent, out there doing it. In my mind I see the Nordhavn 47 as Sam Elliot on a gray horse, riding the plains, at peace with himself and his world, totally secure of his ability to handle anything that comes up. No airs, nothing fancy for fancy's sake. Not a lot of brightwork.

To me, the new Nordhavn 47 is a modern interpretation of that image. And that likeness empowers its owners to go anywhere.

Which is precisely what Jim Leishman and PAE intended all along.

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