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"Nordhavn 57"
By Eric Sorensen


The 57 is towards the upper end of the builder's lineup, with six Nordhavn models offered from 35 to 62 feet. What makes a full-displacement vessel like the Nordhavn 57 feeI so different, for someone accustomed to a planing hull, is its motion at sea. A displacement hull has slack bilges rather than hard chines, so it has less form stability. That means it rolls around more easily, both in a turn and in a seaway. But don't let this fool you; this yacht will roll 160 degrees, nearly inverted, and come back again; the typical planing hull would be very lucky to survive half that much roll. The Nordhavn also has gyro-controlled active stabilizers.

I stepped aboard and immediately felt like I was on a ship, not a boat. The exterior bulwarks and railings are over 3-feet high, the decks are rock-solid underfoot, seeming more like steel than fiberglass. The hull freeboard is over 7 feet forward and 5 feet aft, conjuring up images of the kind of seas this mini-ship was built to encounter safely.
Of asymmetrical deckhouse design, the Nordhavn 57 has a side deck with an upper-deck overhang above to port, and three oversized hull chocks with integral cleat horns provide plenty of versatility when mooring side-to.

To port, the salon continues nearly to the gunwale, with just a 6-inchwide sidedeck only to be used in a pinch, leading forward. A door forward to port in the salon leads to the weather deck, so you can still get around topside easily. This is a clever arrangement, since it makes the salon 18 inches wider than it would be otherwise.

The Nordhavn 57's robust proportions are evident back in the 6-foot by 14foot cockpit. A transom door leads to the integral swim plafform, and storage lockers are provided between the transom and deck liner. A fiberglass cabinet forward has storage compartments, a sink and a lid that lifts up to reveal an aft control station with steering joystick, engine, windlass and bow thruster controls. Two large hatches lead to the lazarette below which holds the steering gear, an air-conditioning compressor, refrigerator, batteries and lots of dry storage space.

A ladder leads topside to the boat deck where the 15-foot tender and six-person Switlik liferaft are stowed and a 1500-pound-capacity davit waits at the ready. A pair of massive radar arch-like supports the aft end of the stainless-steel-pipe-framed soft top, the electronics antennae and navigational lights, and the engine's dry exhaust runs through the starboard-side arch support.

Forward is a raised plafform with a molded, L-shaped lounge and dinette table. The upper helm station is forward on centerline with a 30-inch stainless-steel destroyer wheel, a compass, and basic controls and gauges. All-around visibility is quite good, though the high bulwark makes short trips to the rail necessary when docking side-to.

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The salon, 16 feet long and 13 feet wide, is larger than one would expect, thanks to the asymmetrical deckhouse. The large side windows help create a spacious feeling, and the varnished teak paneling seems to be a lighter shade than usual, so it's not overpowering aesthetically like it is on other yachts. Three sliding-door entrances to the salon are provided: from the cockpit, the port weather deck, and the pilothouse, and a pair of overhead handrails lead from the cockpit door forward to the galley. A third door forward to starboard leads to the engine room.

An L-shaped lounge, equipped with a large gloss-varnished teak table and a liquor cabinet, is to port. Opposite is a television cabinet, a pair of free-standing chairs on either side of an entertainment center and, just forward to starboard, a cabinet enclosing a washer and dryer and a set of storage shelves.

The galley is forward in the salon, divided from the living area by an island counter with Corian countertops. A dishwasher, storage cabinets and drawers are built in below and more cabinets are overhead. Forward in the galley is a Force-10 LPG four-burner stove and oven, a microwave oven, large refrigeratorfreezer, trash compactor and yet more storage cabinets that brought to mind the vessel's long-range endurance. A galley door leads out to the port weather deck with its bulwark door and steps leading to the bridge.

Accessible from either the lazarette or the salon, the Nordhavn 57's engine room, at just over 20 feet from forward to aft bulkheads, is also ship-like in proportion, including 72 inches of headroom around the main engine. The single, derated (for long life) 325-hp Lugger 6125A, (rated at 470 hp in a pleasure boat) surrounded by stainlesssteel railings, has dual alternators and a 3:1 Twin Disc gear driving a 38-inch by 24-inch four-bladed propeller fixed to a 3-inch Aquamet 22 shaft. Fuel capacity is 1,700 gallons in four corrosion-proof fiberglass tanks, fitted with man-sized inspection hatches and tank-level sight gauges. The space is well lit and finished in white perforated sound-absorbing panels, making for excellent visibility, and work benches, storage cabinets and a sink make maintenance a pleasure. A 70-hp Lugger auxiliary diesel, with its shaft driving a foldng, low-drag, 2ainch x 22-inch pro~eller mounted 30 inches off-centerline, provides a four- to five-knot get-home capability as well as hydraulic power for the 25-hp bow thruster (and optional stern thruster) and emergency 180-gpm engineroom bilge punnp. A pair of Naiad stabilizers, a fixed fire-extinguishing system with auto engine shutdown, a manual and two electric bilge pumps, 2500-watt inverter, and a 600-gallon-per-day watermaker are also fitted.

The pilothouse is up five steps from the salon, positioning it well off the water for good visibility. The helm station is intelligently laid out just to starboard of centerline, with the helm seat and steering wheel centered on one of the four large forward-facing tempered-glass windows so the skipper isn't left staring at the window mullion.

The bridge is well organized, with enough room for the captain, navigator and first mate to move around freely.

Visibility through the large windows is excellent from ahead to forty degrees or so abaft the beam; in fact, this is one of the best trawler bridges we've seen from a visibility perspective. For a view astern, though, (there are no aft-facing windows), you'll need to step out to the weather decks or go up to the flying bridge. Nordhavn provides enough sheer space for the most complex navigational suite, and the teak-and-holly sole is another salty touch. Aft is a raised, L-shaped lounge and a small table, and overhead is an opening hatch to let in a little seabreeze and daylight. To port of the helm station is a chart table with large drawers and locker below, and more chart storage space is found under the lounge seat.

Sliding doors to port and starboard lead out to the Portuguese bridge and either off the boat via bulkwark doors or forward to the forecastle. A rugged bow pulpit supports a pair of anchors which are controlled by the anchor windlass. More storage space is provided inside the outer bridge bulwark, dual dorades provide ventilation to the cabin below, and the heavy, 1 V4-inch stainlesssteel bow railings are unyielding, providing a good measure of security forward. Down a few steps from the pilothouse is the three-stateroom, two-head cabin. The guest quarters are forward, with a queen island berth, hanging locker, huge (24-inch) overhead opening hatch and private access to the guest head with its VacuFlush toilet and a seDarate shower. The crew or Quest stateroom to port has twin single bunks, an opening porthole (stainless-steel-framed), storage and hanging lockers and a built-in dresser with drawers.

The roomy, comfortably appointed master suite with its king-sized bed is aft under the pilothouse. Along with its private head and shower, it takes up the yacht's full beam. Generous hanging and storage space is provided, and a communications hatch opens directly to the pilothouse above.

The heavily constructed Nordhavn 57 has a solid woven roving-andmat fiberglass hull, up to 3 inches thick on the bottom, with a skincoat of chop wet out in premium vinylester resin to prevent osmotic blistering and print-through. Fiberglass-encapsulated Divinycell foam-cored stringers, plywoodcored engine beds and a bulletproof hull to deck joint that's through-bolted, polyurethane adhesive-bonded and fiberglassed. The one-piece (for extra strength and integrity) fiberglass deck/superstructure is cored with Divinycell and balsa. The hollow keel has a steel channel fiberglassed in as part of the structure to resist grounding impact loads, and a cast bronze shoe projects past the keel, forming a skeg that supports the bottom of the rudder. The vessel is covered by a transferable, comprehensive structural warranty for two years.

From the Sandwich, Massachusetts, basin, we entered the Cape Cod Canal and headed into the bay for our sea trial where the Nordhavn felt decidedly solid underfoot and handled predictably. We recorded 7.7 knots just above idle at 1300 rpm, 9.8 knots at 1800 rpm, and 11 knots at full throttle, 2025 rpm. Range is about 4,000 nautical miles at 8 knots, 3000 miles at 9 knots, and a 2000 miles at 10 knots. Sound levels in the pilothouse were the quietest I've ever recorded on a yacht, ranging from 61 dBA at 1300 rpm to 70 dBA at full throttle, and salon sound levels were just a few dBA higher.
The steering delivers a fast turn rate, 360 degrees in just 30 seconds, but it also takes nine turns from lock to lock, and this makes controlling the boat, especially in tight quarters, more difficult than it needs to be. Jim Leishman, one of Nordhavn's owners, says that the steering can easily be reduced to six turns, or a power-assist system installed that reduces it to a crisp three turns. We managed 4.7 knots running on the 70-hp Lugger auxiliary diesel; turns to port were significantly sharper, likely due to the folding propeller's wash, offset 30 inches to port, impinging on the rudder in that direction only.

There is probably not a more seaworthy yacht of this class available on the market today. Ruggedly built, intelligently designed with long experience as a teacher, and engineered for redundancy and dependability, this is an extremely capable, and comfortable, offshore cruising yacht. Base price is $1,225,00; Fully outfitted with Cruise Air's premium SMX-controlled 80,000 BTU reverse-cycle air conditioning with electric heat strips, the wing engine with hydraulics, electronics package, tender with davit and fixed fireextinguishing system, the Nordhavn sells for $1,475,000. The Nordhavn 57 represents good value and will likely command a premium on the used-yacht market.


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