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January 29, 2016

The sale of Nordhavn 56 Motorsailer, hull #9

The sale of Nordhavn 56 Motorsailer, Hull #9, closed last week leaving one extremely lucky and satisfied customer. The hull, which had never been purchased during its one year in the UK and three years spent in Rhode Island, waited in vain for the perfect buyer to come along. One grey day in late November, the perfect buyer flew across the Atlantic from Belgium to get a close-up look at her. It was love at first sight.

In the beginning – interestingly enough – Thierry Verstraad had no inclination that the Motorsailer was the boat for him. He was focused on trawlers and became acquainted with the Nordhavn brand in 2009 at the Dusseldorf Boat Show, where salesmen from our Europe office showed him the line-up – including a new model we were launching, a 56-foot Motorsailer. Armed with information, Verstraad let his buying goals percolate a while, then re-ignited his search for a cruising boat last year.

Setting his sights on a brokerage N 64 that had been listed by the Nordhavn Europe (NEL) office, he arranged for a seatrial. Verstraad was hooked and made an offer, but ultimately the deal didn’t work out. He wanted to move on. “We got talking about what his ideal boat would be,” recalled his salesman, Philip Roach. When Verstraad presented his list, Roach examined it, edited it and came to a surprising conclusion: “I showed him that the Motorsailer was the boat he was describing!” 

Without haste, Verstraad had the details of 5609 in his hand; a boat originally built for the European market, she was already CE certified and configured with a 50-cycle electrical system. The more he considered the purchase of the Motorsailer, the more sense it made. The company, eager to sell the yacht, had it priced at a considerable discount. Plus it rekindled his dream to one day solo cruise across the Atlantic. He could do it in a boat like this. He couldn’t wait to hop on a plane and see her. 

Verstraad flew to New York City and drove a rental car 3 ½ hours up to RI, but bypassed the exit to his hotel and instead headed straight to the marina. “Something in me triggered - I couldn’t wait any longer,” said Verstraad. “I had to see the boat right then.”  Unfamiliar with the lay of the land, Verstraad wasn’t exactly sure where to look but caught a glimpse of the rigging far off and high above.  “There she was under the moonlight, quiet and cold, waiting for me. My first impression? Ahh, what a big, beefy boat. Strong and trustful.” The following days, Nordhavn Northeast salesman Dave Balfour, who had been caretaker of MS5609 during her stay in RhodeIsland, accompanied Verstaad on three all-day seatrials, hitting cruising hotspots around Aquidneck Island and the South Coast of Massachusetts, then letting him crawl all over the boat at the dock. “I did all the harbor maneuvers – a piece of cake with bow and stern thrusters. We sailed, steamed, had the spinnaker launched, went to anchor and had a marvelous burger on the BBQ, drinking what do you think? A real Belgian Stella!” said Verstraad glowingly. “This sea-trail, it confirmed my expectations.” 

For years, we at Pacific Asian Enterprises (PAE) have waxed on about the virtues of our Nordhavn Motorsailer. While general consensus about motorsailers being neither great under sail or power prevails, we consider ours on a whole other level, proving to be excellent under either power or sail. We see the boat as the ultimate transition boat for sailors looking to jump to power. And she has proven to be a fantastic cruising boat for eco-friendly boaters, “lazy” sailors, and those who need to take baby steps making the jump from one form of propulsion to the other.

“Having a cruising sailboat background, my opinion is she’s a great hybrid boat,” says Balfour.  “It powers and sails well with minimum effort.  It’s not going to win races but it will cruise nicely with plenty of creature comforts aboard.   Along with the Hundensted propeller, you can maximize your efficiency in either mode.  You can bring the propeller blades to neutral while sailing or put plenty of pitch in to get a little more speed out of her if conditions are warranted under power.”

Back in Belgium, Verstraad will keep his newly purchased yacht here in Rhode Island until the summer where he is getting her prepared for aforementioned trip across the Atlantic to Europe. He will commence with Leg One, going from Newport to Bermuda, a four-day jaunt. “Basically only a long weekend away in the Motorsailer,” says Balfour. “You can’t say that about many boats.”

Despite having gone un-owned her whole life, there’s not been a lack of love or use for MS5609. She enjoyed a week-long New England to mid-Atlantic cruise with PAE Vice President Jim Leishman’s family aboard, and was kept purring with several daytrips around the Rhode Island coast, playing host to excursions for the Northeast staff. “The remarkability of this boat was not lost on us here,” says Balfour. “But it’s nice to know she’ll have a new home with someone who will love her as much as we did.”

Did the sale of MS5609 have you missing the boat?! Not to worry, there’s another fantastic Motorsailer available for purchase now. See Ata Marie for more details.




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