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New boat: Norseboat 21.5

2012 September 4

No one knows for sure, but the first high-performance boats might have been the Viking longboats. Those graceful lapstraked hulls raced from Scandinavia spreading havoc as far east as Constantinople and as far west as Newfoundland, not terribly far from Maine, the home of the longboat's modern relative, the Norseboat 21.5.

The 21.5 is designed as a larger, roomier version of the best-selling Norseboat 17.5, but it's more than that. The designers used the larger platform to make the 21.5 a next-generation boat. The most noticeable difference from the 17.5 is the rig. Or rigs-the 21.5 comes with an easy trailering rig or a high-performance rig. The ET mast is a 19-pound, lightweight pole on a pivot with a luff wire instead of forestay. The HP rig is taller and fixed in place with standard standing rigging. Both options have roller-furling jibs and full batten mains.

That's no problem for the Norseboat 21.5. It motors with a 4-horsepower engine attached to a built-in engine well. The optional bimini and dodger can be connected to make a tent over the cockpit. The rudder and centerboard kick up to draw only 18 inches. The 21.5 plus trailer weighs only 2,200 pounds. Standard hull colors are white with a red stripe, but the 21.5 is a semi-custom build and Norseboat will accommodate changes to colors and other aspects of the boat. The result is a daysailer that turns heads in marinas and people ask, "What kind of boat is that?"

Norseboat president Kevin Jeffrey said he set out to built a boat that, "stirs the soul without compromising performance." That's a high standard and difficult to achieve, but the Vikings did it with longboats, stirring the souls of Saxons watching those beautiful boats beach on their shores.