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"Power and Passion"
You can take a passage to anywhere on
the neoclassical Nordhavn 57-- a genial
giant with both range and five-star comfort.
David Lockwood indulges the senses...
By David Lockwood


The owners arrived at the decision to buy this presidential passagemaker after doing it the hard way. They possessed a motorsailer and, in their far-ranging travels, found themselves sailing less and less and motoring more and more. It was time for a rethink. Not long after, the sailors decided to jump ship and embrace the power of a passagemaker.

With a stupendous range of 3000nm, the wonderful Nordhavn 57 is an incredibly dignified and relaxed kind of boat. It is designed for conquering the tyranny of distance with a minimum of engine and human effort. Indeed, this is a motorboat on which you can weigh anchor and chuff off to the Mediterranean should the mood grab you.
Combining the attributes of a long-range trawler with the amenities of a superyacht, the Nordhavn 57 is what is affectionately termed a passagemaker. In America, magazines are devoted entirely to these roving and romantic boats. In Australia, the philosophy behind them is slowly but surely being understood.

Using a displacement hull loaded with continuous-rated engines, the passagemaker can voyage around the clock without running the bowsers dry. In light of the current fuel prices, they can only become more popular. The true passagemaker is a modem alternative to the cruising yacht, perfect for aspiring adventurers looking for range and five-star comfort.

Made by Pacific Asian Enterprises to discerning American specs, the Nordhavn 57 is a big New York kind of boat. It's ship-like with everything you need for venturing away from home and into uncharted waters. With that in mind, I started my journey aboard with plenty of fuel in the tank. A fresh chicken salad and cold beer at a peaceful anchorage in Pittwater providing a pleasant introduction to the passagemaking life.

Post-lunch, we launched the boat's trendy four-metre RIB using the crane on the flybridge. Then began a guided tour inside what is, in many ways, an air-conditioned cocoon. I found three cabins, two bathrooms, a laundry, a pilothouse with big-boat electronics, and a galley that is among the best I have ever seen.

The saloon is surrounded by picture windows through which Pittwater shone like a jewel. Outside, the boat is traced by bulwarks, headed by a Portuguese bow, and backed by a cockpit big enough to seat a dozen guests for alfresco meals. It is here that I had my lunch.

Up top, the bridge carries the tender, some seating and a lunch table, plus an open-air helm suitable for fair-weather sailing. There are lots of stainless rails, a storage locker for a second Zodiac duckie, and a fridge-one of three aboard-packed conveniently with refreshments.

Aesthetically, the boat's Euro-looking targa arch with funnels help streamline the big boat. Having completed a few laps of the Nordhavn from the water, I returned surprised at just how neoclassical the traditional passagemaker looks. It is at once contemporary and classical, high-tech and traditional. Above all, it is an indulgence.

The ship-like layout on the Nordhavn 57 leads to the full bulwarks. These are high and deep so as to safely contain crew or kiddies when at sea. You step up just forward of amidships to the foredeck which has a Portuguese bridge to keep the water out. There are both freshwater and saltwater deckwashes, a fender locker, and a giant Muir windlass. There is a huge stainless stemhead with a stainless plough anchor, lovely fairleads, dorade vents, and an excellent grade of non-skid underfoot.

Three separate doors mounted in the boat's high gunwales offer a variety of places from which to board. The cockpit, like the bulwarks, was teak lined and the coamings are high enough that you can wander around without fear of falling over. You can also flush-mount a few rodholders and tow a lure for a tuna salad.

Speaking of which, I did lunch on one of several trendy loose chairs around a fold-down table in the cockpit. Nearby was a sink set in a molded storage unit, an aft helm for parking, and a Maxwell 2200 electric winch for hauling in the mooring lines. The table and chairs can be kept in the deep lazarette. A ladder leads up top, while a boarding platform and swim ladder head down below.

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To access the engine and utility rooms on the lower deck level you take the companionway leading off the starboard-side of the saloon. A separate door lets you lock up your Nordhavn 57 and all the valuables aboard, while still allowing mechanics to access the engines. There is a dayhead down the steps, plus a laundry with separate washer/dryer and a fold-down ironing board.

The engineroom and laundry appeared well insulated from the owner's bedroom, which was tucked behind a bulkhead next door. Solid glass bearers are home for the engines which, as with the rest of the boat, live in air-conditioned comfort. You can crawl around all sides of the twin Cats and 13kVa and 17kVa Onan generators.

Incidentally, these gensets have interchangeable parts, the motors are fitted with dual hydraulic pumps in case one should fail, and hydraulics are used to power lots of stuff to make life easy. They run the wind ass, bilge pumps, bow thruster, and so on.

Should the worst eventuate, you can lift out an engine through the demountable saloon floor and wide aft door. The engines are linked to Raycor - fuel-management systems, each with dual-water intakes and wet exhausts (so, too, the gensets).

The exhausts exit either side of the keel for less noise and diesel smoke. The trick exhaust system seemed to work beautifully, as the ride was smooth, silent and smoke-free. Yachties will like that. I also liked the workbench area in the engineroom with king-size lockup toolbox, whiteboard, and fuel sight gauges nearby.

Passagemakers have a deeper draft than planing hulls. They also have comparatively smaller motors. Together, that means more living room inside. If volume is what you are looking for, a passagemaker rules. As a liveaboard boat, it will answer your call.

Even with wide walkways, this 57-footer had a big-hearted interior-cruising couples and their families won't be endlessly stepping on each other's toes. The commodious saloon comes with a four-person leather lounge, a big dinette, and separate wooden lounge chairs with armrests that can be pulled up to the table for a dinner setting for six.

Along the starboard side is a wet bar, television on hydraulic lift, and entertainment centre with DVD and more. The walls are all teak-timber lined, Roman blinds swing above the windows, and the floor is teak-and-holly stripping with a matt finish so it doesn't scratch too easily.

Unlike some Taiwanese-built boats, the Nordhavn's interior seems to be furnished with judicious restraint. The high quality finish isn't at all glitzy. There's wonderful teak joinery, fared mouldings, solid deck fittings, and engineering features which reflect a smart boatbuilding yard.

Among the thoughtful design features are the four sliding doors-two a side-in the saloon. One leads into the galley for easy provisioning and cross-flow ventilation (the likes of which you'll find on very few galleys). Another door leads to the separate private companionway that descends into the engineroom and dayhead.

Two cool breakfast bar stools front the black Corian benchtop and servery on the aft end of the galley to port. A Krup coffeemaker was perched on the counter. Opposite was a dedicated crockery cupboard. The galley also had an abundance of drawers and cupboards for cutlery, cooking utensils and provisions.

Amenities include a Blanco compactor and Miele oven/grill, barbecue and four-burner cooktop. The brushed stainless steel splash-backs and a big, puff-out extractor fan were the stuff of million-dollar homes. The big Sub Zero fridge/freezer in the galley had a teak facie, icemaker and, so it seemed, a smoked-salmon maker.

Sensibly, the owners fitted handrails along the centreline of the saloon roof And sensibly the galley benches had teak fiddle rails. They also added a fold-out potholder, but the huge sink in which to stack plates, insinkerator, trendy mixer with spray function, separate drinking-water tap, and microwave come standard.

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You move through the pilothouse and step down a companionway to the accommodation. In keeping with the trawler layout, the cabins are all up front. Mounted under the pilothouse and roughly amidships is the owner's suite. It is nothing if not enchanting.

Big recessed portholes, easy-clean white lami-panel wall liners, and teak joinery add a touch of convention. A flat-screen television fronts the queen-size bed which is surrounded by cedar-lined, illuminated, hanging lockers, lots of drawers and cupboards.

Other features include repeater B&G instruments alongside the bed so you know how hard the wind is blowing, a separate sound system, air-conditioning controls, two lampshades, a mirror, bedhead and bedside tables.

There is an ensue with a Headhunter loo (the best) and an oversized shower stall whose pressurized hot water packs a punch. Grohe bathroom fittings, black Avonite benches, and teak fiddle rails provide some style to the heads.

You can show guests to one of two other cabins. There is a cabin with two bunks to port or a VIP cabin in the bow with a queen-size berth. Both cabins share a common bathroom, have their own phone and are wired to the in-house DVD and video system.

They come well-equipped with hanging lockers and cupboards, reading lights, mirrors and, thanks to the owners, lovely bedding including homespun tapestries that had a nautical feel. Alternatively, you could devote one of these cabins to an of office.

With the radar spinning, weather faxes primed, satellite telephone and communications, I had visions of setting off for Greece, making way for the lonian Sea. A pronounced bulbous bow, much like a cargo ship, reduces pitching motion, while stabilisers linked to a gyro stop the rock and roll inherent in most round-bilge hulls.

To drive this boat requires little more than keeping a weather eye on the instruments (a bow thruster helps you park at the marina). With twin 325hp Caterpillar engines, the 45,000kg boat proceeds at a gentlemanly 9-lOkt. This way, you can cover 240nm a day. You can steer by feet, hands, or a little Autopilot joystick on the righthand armrest of the pneumatic leather helm chair.

Behind you in the pilothouse. meanwhile, is an elevated dinette and settee. Underway, crew and guests tend to gravitate to this lounge to enjoy the view, partaking in a spot of backseat driving, and make the whole affair of ocean travel a genial and gregarious affair.

In short, the Nordhavn 57 is a worldly cruiser that, at $USI,217,000 with a single motor, isn't exactly chickenfeed. However, in this case you get what you pay for. Of all the boats I could liveaboard, this one takes the cake. Within just a few hours I felt like it was home. A fully-loaded home that can cross oceans with the comfort of a pocket passenger-liner.

Ironically, we had a crew aboard who were halfway through a circumnavigation of the world. They had left their yacht in Greece. They said to me that all the places they had seen so far, nowhere is better than Sydney on a perfect spring day. I swung the ship's wheel to port and trained the bow back on Palm Beach.

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