Welcome to Nordhavn.com - Power That Is Oceans Apart

January 20, 2013

Nordhavn’s Got Your Back
Our experienced team of managers, designers and engineers have all the knowledge & talent you need to make your Nordhavn dream a reality.

By Mike Telleria and Jennifer Stern

The process of a building a Nordhavn is never easy – but the end result is always a beautiful thing to behold. An old Ocean Spray cranberry juice TV commercial comes to mind where a gruff contractor explains in no uncertain terms how remodeling a kitchen works: “We'll knock holes in everything. The wrong appliances will be delivered – but we'll get the right ones. In the middle we will disappear for a few days and you won't be able to reach us, so don't even try. But, in the end your kitchen will look so good that you'll want to kiss me full on the lips.” Not sure what that has to do with cranberry juice, but the spot certainly makes the point of how confidence and experience always win the day in the end.

Project Management

Project Manager Dave Harlow at work on Nordhavn 6302Over time Nordhavn has gained an abundance of experience and confidence. It has taken years – decades even – to assemble and grow the production team currently in place at Nordhavn. This includes the factory workers, the designers, the engineers, the commissioning crew and many others.  And then there is the glue that holds this team together: Nordhavn’s seasoned team of project managers. These people are the real horsepower behind every build – and they bring with them a wealth of Nordhavn-specific knowledge and experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Nordhavn Project Manager Garrett Severen (center) examines the bilge and main engine shaft of a brand new Nordhavn 68 with its owner Karel Kuropata (right), his friend/interpreter Jan Langsadl (left) and factory engineer Ifeng, while at a visit to the Ta Shing factoryThe most senior project manager has been at it for almost 30 years, and the most junior has been in the trenches for more than 5 years. All together this capable crew of men and women – led by an MBA-pedigreed production manager – bring more than 120 years of exclusive Nordhavn experience to the equation. And many are what would be called hawsepipers in the Navy, meaning they started with Nordhavn working on the commissioning crew or doing boat deliveries before moving up to project management. Bottom line – these folks know our boats, they know the reasons we build the boats the way we do, and they know what decisions ultimately lead to happy boat owners (and which ones don’t). Regardless of which Nordhavn model you settle on, you can rest assured you’ll be getting a seasoned pro to manage your build. Yes, there may be frustrations, complications and even disagreements along the way, but trust that these people are applying their experience to stay fully focused on one simple outcome: a happy and satisfied Nordhavn owner. Meet the Team:


Sky Scott
Production Manager: Oversees all aspects of production
Years at Nordhavn: 11 (4 as production manager, 7 as purchasing manager)
Yearly trips to Taiwan factory: 2 to 3
Guiding philosophy: We take advantage lean production practices without sacrificing the necessary customized touches owners’ desire. It’s a challenge – but over time we’ve figured out how to make it happen.


Dave Harlow
Project Manager: N75EYF (previously: N63, N60, N55, N57, N47, N46, N35)
Number of boats built: More than 100
Years at Nordhavn: 27 (21 as project manager, 6 doing boat deliveries)
Yearly trips to China factory: 8 to 9
Guiding philosophy: The less fixing there is to do the happier a guy is. I like building boats that don’t have a lot of silly problems that I know will need a lot of fixing later.

Jeremy Henderson
Project Manager: N52, MS56, N47, N43, N40
Number of boats built: 12
Years at Nordhavn: 6
Yearly trips to China factory: 5 to 6
Guiding philosophy: All the different sizes and models of Nordhavns have more similarities than differences: they’re all reliable, they’re all safe and they’re all just what their owners want – that’s what I focus on. 


Philippa Irwin
Asst. Project Manager: N63, N60, N55, N40, N75 (previously: N47, N35)
Number of boats built: More than 100
Years at Nordhavn: 14
Guiding philosophy: If I hear a good idea – I listen to it. If I have a good idea – it has a roomful of welcome ears. We really do work as a team here – and everyone benefits from that.

Mike Jensen

Mike Jensen
Project Manager: N63, N60, N55 (previously: N57, N47)
Number of boats built: 41
Years at Nordhavn: 11 (8 as project manager, 3 in commissioning)
Yearly trips to China factory: 6 to 7
Guiding philosophy: Every boat is a little different – but I strive to make them the same in the end: another steadfast and reliable Nordhavn.


Jessica Morrow
Asst. Project Manager: N43, N47, N52, MS56, N64, N68, N72, N76 (previously: N62)
Number of boats built: More than 100
Years at Nordhavn: 9
Guiding philosophy: “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” – William A. Foster

Garret Severn
Project Manager:
N76, N72 (previously: N62)
Number of boats built: 27
Years at Nordhavn: 12 (8 as project manager, 4 in commissioning)
Yearly trips to Taiwan factory: 5 to 6
Guiding philosophy: There are times I have to get right in there to make sure the factory is doing exactly what we want for the owner, other times it’s better to back away and enjoy watching our builders do what they do best – over the years we’ve learned to rely on each others’ strengths.


Trever Smith
Project Manager: N120, N86 (previously: N57, N62, N72, N76)
Number of boats built: 30
Years at Nordhavn: 15 (12 as project manager, 3 in commissioning)
Yearly trips to China factory: 6 to 7
Guiding philosophy: As Dan Streech says: “Do the correct thing. With every situation there is a correct way to deal with it.”


Justin Zumwalt
Project Manager:
N68, N64 (previously: N62, N57)
Number of boats built: 51
Years at Nordhavn: 16 (12 as project manager, 4 in commissioning)
Yearly trips to Taiwan factory: 7 to 8
Guiding philosophy: Nobody here is interested in doing anything the “old way” after they discover a better, safer, more reliable, more user-friendly, etc. way – and once that happens it spreads to all our boats. I like that.


Design & Engineering

Nordhavn buyers can also feel secure in the fact that our project managers receive robust support from a pool of knowledgeable on-staff boatbuilding experts. These professionals bring a wealth of experience, technical education and training to the fold to ensure each Nordhavn meets our high standards. Accuracy, attention to detail and intimate knowledge of naval architecture, marine engineering systems and best boatbuilding practices and standards count here. Again, Nordhavn sets the bar high with educated professionals who have made boatbuilding their life’s work.


Jeff Leishman
Owner/Chief Designer
Expertise: Naval architecture, marine systems, all aspects of boatbuilding
Years at Nordhavn: 30+
Yearly trips to factories: 2 to 3
Bragging Rights: Jeff designed the first Nordhavn 46, which is considered to be the first production deep-sea trawler ever built – and his talent has kept Nordhavn at the top of the trawler market since. Jeff’s has made designing and building Nordhavns his life’s work – and he is easily the foremost technical expert on our boats there is.


Phil Arnold
Engineering Manager
Hull structure, marine systems, all aspects of boatbuilding
Years at Nordhavn: 5
Yearly trips to factories: 2 to 3
Bragging Rights: With five years as head of engineering at Nordhavn, 15 years as head of engineering at Cabo Yachts and another 20 years of custom boatbuilding experience before that, Phil brings invaluable knowledge, wisdom and perspective to the fold. Having him on staff is better than having an army of professional boatbuilding consultants on call.


Mike Telleria
Engineer/Technical Writer
Marine systems, marine electrical, boatbuilding standards
Years at Nordhavn: 5
Yearly trips to factories: 2 to 3
Bragging Rights: Mike comes with a degree in Maine Systems Engineering from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and years of operational engineering experience aboard large ships. Mike is responsible for designing electrical systems and staying on top of all the current boat building standards (he is one of the only eight certified ABYC Master Technicians in all of California), as well as writing all of Nordhavn’s owner’s manuals.


David Jen
Engineer in Asia
Marine systems, marine electrical, all aspects of boatbuilding
Years at Nordhavn: 17
Bragging Rights: David Jen is Nordhavn’s dedicated “over there” engineer. He lives in Taiwan and splits his time between the factories in Taiwan and China. After 10 years as Head of Engineering at the Taiwan Ta Shing factory (which builds boats exclusively for Nordhavn), Nordhavn hired him to be its full-time engineer in Asia. His many years of Nordhavn experience and intimate knowledge of the factories has proven indispensable over the years. 

Nordhavn Visionaries

Of course, this article would not be complete without the inclusion of Nordhavn’s visionaries, Dan Streech and Jim Leishman – and Jeff Leishman belongs in this category as well. Pacific Asian Enterprises (PAE) began with Jim and Dan building the Mason line of sailboats. Soon the masts and sails gave way to reliable diesel engines when Jeff came aboard with the Nordhavn 46 – a move that created an entirely new market of true owner-operated ocean-going luxury trawlers. Dan and Jim continue to provide the vision, leadership and direction that make Nordhavn the magical, dream-inspiring brand it has become – and they are always happy to sit down with any buyer and discuss the particulars of their exciting project.

Our Steadfast Factories 

The last part of the production team to discuss here is all the amazing talent at the factories in Taiwan and China. The Taiwan factory, Ta Shing, has been with PAE since the beginning with the Mason line of sailboats. The China factory, South Coast, actually started in Taiwan with the building of the Nordhavn 46 – the factory was later moved to its current location in China. Both of these factories build boats exclusively for Nordhavn, and each has many loyal employees who have been building Nordhavns for decades. In some cases there are as many as three generations of family at the same factory with son, father and grandfather all working together.

Each factory also has its own in-house team of project managers and technical experts who, after years of building Nordhavns, have become as knowledgeable about our boats as anyone. In many cases these are university-educated professionals with ABYC training, which is augmented by regular training sessions from PAE. It’s hard to articulate just how important these dedicated and loyal partners are to Nordhavn, and how much their well-earned knowledge and expertise bring to the table. It is safe to say that Nordhavn would not enjoy such a solid reputation for quality and reliability if it weren’t for our long-standing relationships with these wonderful factories.

The Sales Team – Your Emissaries & Much More

While the focus of this article is on the production side of the aisle, the Nordhavn Sales team needs a measure of attention as well. Like the product managers, the sales team brings an abundance of Nordhavn-specific knowledge. Nordhavn salesman Dave Balfour goes through the Operator's Manual with Nordhavn owner Nigel MacleodThe most junior salesperson is deep into his 6th year while the most senior has carried the Nordhavn flag for more than 30 years. These knowledgeable men and women are at the tip of the spear with strategic placement at our six U.S. and overseas factory-direct sales offices located in Dana Point, CA; Stuart, FL; Seattle, WA; Portsmouth, RI; the United Kingdom; and Australia.

In addition to being the initial point of contact and helping lay the groundwork for a new project, the sales team also works in tandem with the production team throughout the build to provide valuable feedback and updates from the factories. Often a salesperson will accompany a buyer to the factory and do whatever it takes to make the trip as productive, personal and enjoyable as possible. Action items for the visit are organized, summarized and communicated to the project managers and factories to ensure the reality being built at the factory matches the dream the buyer has in mind. 

Then, at the end of build – when the dream has become a reality and is ready for its maiden voyage – the salesperson is there to provide training, answer questions and remind the owner that the Nordhavn relationship does not end in the slightest after taking delivery. The salesperson will always be available to provide help with the boat, whether it’s a warranty issue, answering operational questions, providing cruising advice or discussing future bigger boat dreams and plans. Numerous owners enjoy relationships with Nordhavn that have developed into years-long friendships. Whether they kept the same boat for decades, steadily moved up the chain from one larger Nordhavn to another, or decided their passagemaking days are over – they all have one thing in common: Once they became part of the Nordhavn family, they always remained part of the Nordhavn family.

You’re in Good Hands

If you pull back and look at all the players involved in bringing a new Nordhavn to life you should easily get the feeling that you’re in capable hands. Our experienced project managers, our highly-skilled designers and engineers, our dedicated partners in Asia and our attentive sales team are all behind every buyer who decides to make his or her Nordhavn dream a reality.

Sure, taking the plunge and sitting down to sign a contract to purchase a new Nordhavn can be a tense moment. Like we said in the beginning, these are not easy boats to build – and we can’t promise there won’t be times when the process gets a little bumpy. What you can count on, however, is that we have the in-house knowledge, skill and dedication – built upon years of experience and hundreds of boats and happy Nordhavn owners – to ensure that in the end you will be smiling and confident as you motor away aboard your new Nordhavn.

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