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Nordhavn 56MS

2010 February 1

If you take the Island Packet SP concept and make it bigger, much bigger, you get a boat like this motorsailer from the trawler yacht builder Nordhavn. I think the 56-foot Nordhavn pushed the "motor" side of the motorsailer concept to its limit.

Like the IP, the Nordhavn's transom is immersed, resulting in a hull form that has far more in common with powerboats than it does with sailboats. The D/L is moderate at 216 and the L/B is right in the middle at 3.46. There is not much draft to this design with draft at "full load" being 6 feet, and of that 6 feet there is not much salient keel. The rudder is a barn door type, a partially balanced, long-chord rudder sitting on a gudgeon strut. This gives good protection to the 36-inch diameter, variable pitch, four-blade Hundested propeller. You can change the prop pitch to optimize performance at any rpm from the bridge. You can also fully feather this prop. There is a bow thruster forward and this feature will certainly become a hero around docks. The bow of the Nordhavn is full at the deck level and max beam is well forward in what we used to call a "cod's head and mackerel tail" plan view. This is not a hull shape designed for VMG to weather but the 165-horsepower Lugger and 750 gallons of diesel fuel will get you to weather just fine.

For 56 feet this interior layout is almost palatial. The saloon is in the pilothouse and features a wraparound settee, swivel chairs and an expansive navigation and control center. There are doors to the side decks port and starboard of the wheel. Going below from the pilothouse you have the owner's stateroom aft with head and shower stall and lots of locker space. Forward there is a galley to starboard outboard of the engine room. There is a small dinette tucked aft in the galley. To port of the engine room you have the washer and dryer and more locker space. Forward there is another stateroom with a centerline double and a head in the peak. There is a large fo'c'sle and chain locker. You will be comfortable.

The deck plan uses features from modern trawler yachts. There are no side decks directly forward of the aft cockpit. To go forward you have to go through the pilothouse. This would seem inconvenient to most sailors but it allows the pilothouse to expand to make use of the entire beam aft. The pilothouse tucks in and has the doors to gain access to narrow but usable side decks extending to the bow. Like the IP, the Nordhavn has two cockpits and you have to climb over the cabintrunk to access the forward cockpit. The forward cockpit is directly over the engine room so it does not detract from interior accommodation volume. There is a steering console and wheel in the forward cockpit and you can reach the halyard winches from the seat tops. The raised sheer forward and the stepped deck and cabintrunk allow for good headroom. The jib sheets are led to the aft cockpit with powered winches located just aft of the pilothouse. The mainsheet is led to a winch just aft of the mast in the forward cockpit. One would think the sheet winches might be better placed in the same area. There is a door in the transom that opens to a broad but shallow in depth swim platform. This is a complex deck design. Note the arch aft on top of the pilothouse for your communication antennae and radar. A 10-foot dinghy perches athwartships on top of the pilothouse and is deployed with a powered winch on the main boom.

The rig is compact with an SA/D of 11.47. This is enough to steady the boat in a beam sea and at the same time provide some drive when the wind is aft of 60 degrees apparent. I suppose you could squeeze the boat higher but I can't see it being effective. Furlers are electric with the main being the in-boom type. Off the wind in a good breeze the rig could add significantly to the available power, increasing the range of the 56 well beyond the 3,000 miles you get under power alone. A big screacher could add a lot of horsepower.
I like the look of this design. It's very interesting and I find the overall lines to be harmonious. I'd take that RIB off the pilothouse, however, and add a Laser.

LOA 57'5"; LWL 52'6"; Beam 16'7"; Draft 7'; Displacement 95,000 lbs.; Ballast 17,500 lbs.; Sail area 1,147 sq. ft.; SA/D 11.47; D/L 216; L/B 3.46; Auxiliary Lugger L1066T 165-hp; Fuel 800 gals.; Water 250 gals.

Nordhavn, Pacific Asian Enterprises, 34179 Golden Lantern, Suite 101, Dana Point, CA 92629, (949) 496-4848, www.nordhavn.com.

OBE: $1.8 million
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