By Bob Senter
Nordic Tug 37
Nordic Tugs 37 could be reinventing the Nordic Tug line; as if that were necessary
Unless you’ve been off the planet for a while, you’re already familiar with legendary Pacific Northwest builder Nordic Tugs and its stunning line of well-crafted cruising tugs. Nordic’s 37, the latest and perhaps most significant design to date, appears destined to make Nordic Tugs something of an icon by successfully crossing out of the “tug” niche market.
In just two years of production, the 37 is already proving to be one of those rare boats that is far more than the sum of its parts. We did some investigating to find out why, and discovered a virtual floating showcase of intelligent, high-quality yacht design.
Nordic’s 37 seems to have an uncanny ability to fit the “must have” and “wish” lists of experienced cruisers and first-time buyers. Its rugged, cruising-tug style is both functional and appealing to a wide range of boaters and, unlike the current fad in rocket-styled boats, is likely to stay that way.
Among the best of the Pacific Northwest boat builders, Nordic Tugs offer more standard equipment and value than some of the pricier competition. Nordic’s intelligent, thoughtful interior planning has literally established a new benchmark for boats in this size range. Naval architect Lynn Senour’s well-developed hull is unusually efficient and well mannered at both displacement and planing speeds. And, with a single diesel, it is also economical, quiet and relatively inexpensive to maintain. Finally, the 37 looks almost as big as the 42 but offers a substantially smaller, friendlier price tag.
This is a rugged, good-looking cruising tug, complete with a sea-worthy raised bow and two hefty, full-length black PVC rub strips that fear no pilings. Like all tugs, the pilothouse is blessed with excellent sight lines. Black commercial-grade Diamond Sea Glaze doors and windows make it clear that this is no “character-boat” pretender. But one look at the carefully finished interior detail and the smooth, glossy fairness of the dark green hull and cream-colored cabin clearly show the Nordic 37 is also a yacht.
Even more important, the Nordic 37 is an amazingly versatile cruiser. Its optimized hull form with integral transom step actually measures 39 feet at the waterline. At a quiet, relaxed 8.7 knots at 1,400 rpm you can cover over 1,000 nautical miles at 3.5 nautical miles per gallon. Or, you can get there quicker without breaking the bank at 14.5 knots at 2,400 rpm and 1.4 mpg (nautical). The 37 seems to come alive at 2,200 rpm and above — below that speed, efficiency suffers and the wake grows. If you have a need for speed, the standard Cummins 330 cranks out an honest 20-mph top speed.
Maneuvering is crisp at all speeds, and docking rarely requires much help from the bow thruster. Thanks to underwater exhaust and generous insulation, engine noise at the helm is a pleasantly quiet 74 dbA at cruise, a very rare treat with the engine room directly below your feet. Very little spray found its way aboard, thanks to the high bow.
With nearly 13 feet of beam, the cockpit is huge and the wide-body cabin still has room for a narrow walkaround deck. Entry to the cockpit is relatively safe and easy through the transom door.
The saloon/galley arrangement includes a generously sized convertible L-shaped lounge and a large galley table. Six large windows offer great views from anywhere in the cabin.
The cabin’s starboard side is dedicated to the well-designed galley. There’s plenty of counter space, teak drawers and lockers, well-placed outlets and convenient handholds. Nice touches abound, like a pullout cutting board between sink and stove. The two-door Norcold refer is properly located on forward bulkhead so food won’t spill out if the boat rolls.
I counted nearly a dozen different storage areas — plenty, even for liveaboards. In the center of the sole, an access hatch reveals more storage in the bilge area and aluminum fuel and water tanks. Gray water and holding tanks are molded into the keel, a clever way to preclude leaks and odor. Attractive, high-quality carpeting is used throughout. Nordic’s teak joinery quality is outstanding. Low-maintenance padded vinyl wall coverings and headliners keep the interior light and quiet.
With nearly perfect sight lines from the helm station in the pilothouse, it’s hard to imagine anybody wanting a flybridge, but it’s available. Heavy, full-height glass and metal sliding pilothouse doors, large windows and no bulkhead between the saloon give the open feel of a much larger boat. Cruisers will love the full-size chart table and storage, prewired tilt-down overhead electronics console and two double-size helm seats. Handling is nearly effortless thanks to the well-arranged instrument panel, Morse single-lever control, hydraulic steering and the standard bow thruster. Engine heat and defrosters keep the boat cozy and windshields fog free.
Only one issue detracts from the otherwise perfect pilothouse — the bow rail stops at the front of the pilothouse door opening. While this design allows unrestricted access from pilothouse to the dock or side decks, it unfortunately creates a standing invitation for an unexpected roll to pitch someone overboard. A safety chain or line installed at waist height across the door or from the back of the bow rail to the cabin side would retain the convenience of entry and exit and satisfy most safety concerns. If requested, Nordic Tugs will also build the boat with an extended bow rail.
Spacious engine room
Two hatches centered in the pilothouse sole expose a full-length opening over the near standing height engine room. The forward hatch allows plenty of space to comfortably climb down bulkhead steps in front of the 330-horsepower Cummins B-series engine. This textbook example of a proper engine room is one of my favorites: cleanly arranged, well lit, neatly organized and wide open. Not many boats provide such generous access to the engine and genset.
Two service issues in the engine room should be addressed. First, ventilation blowers, for some reason, are not standard equipment. It can get blisteringly hot down there — hot enough to shorten the lives of electrical components, hoses and belts and, probably, anyone unlucky enough to attempt emergency repairs. Nordic Tugs will be happy to install blowers, if requested.
Equally important, access to the Cummins 330B’s main heat exchanger is effectively blocked for routine cleaning. This sort of engineering is high on my list of unpardonable engine-builder sins. Consequently, it is necessary to dump gallons of sticky, hazardous antifreeze, remove hoses and dismount the heat exchanger to perform what should be a 10-minute job. Thankfully, Cummins designed it to be easily removed, and the engine is excellent in all other areas that really matter.
Stretching out below
The Nordic 37′s staterooms don’t just look accommodating; they are actually roomier and better designed than a substantial number of larger, more expensive boats. First-rate teak joinery and soft vinyl trim is used throughout, avoiding the dark, cave-like feel common to all-teak interiors.
Three steps down, forward of the pilothouse, is a small foyer with doors to the head and staterooms. To starboard, there is a large nicely finished head with a full-size stall shower, and it’s even heated! A door mounted on the aft bulkhead provides access to everything behind the helm station.
The bow stateroom’s double-size island berth houses two generously sized cedar-lined drawers underneath and a drop-in storage compartment under the mattress. (V-berths also available.) The master stateroom boasts two large cedar-lined lockers, a full-length mirror and three port lights. While the Bomar hatch is suitable for ventilation and emergency escape, it is not intended for routine access to the bow.
The portside guest stateroom sleeps three, two in a double lower berth, and one in single upper (with lee cloths). If you opt for the two-berth arrangement, you get a relatively large hanging locker and nightstand with drawers and a mirror over. Drop-in bin storage under the lower bunk is accessed under the mattress. If you order the optional Pullman-style berth, a writing desk replaces the nightstand, providing a small convertible office. Two ports provide ventilation.
In the Pacific Northwest tradition, Nordic Tugs emphasize comfortable cruising from inside, rather than wide-open decks or flybridges, making the partially covered cockpit the primary outdoor entertaining area. If you prefer using the cabin top for dingy storage or lounging, an optional step, hatch and full safety rails are available. A deck box provides modest storage, unless a propane bottle for the optional propane range occupies it.
A handy locker inside the transom step is designed for wet stuff and the large lazarette should handle everything else you want to keep dry. Located in the middle of the well-scuppered cockpit is a large sealed, latched and gas strut assisted lazarette hatch.
Anchoring and line handling is relatively secure thanks to excellent non-skid, stainless rails and low bulwarks. Three cleats on the gunwales and two on the stern handle mooring duties. A Simpson Lawrence electric windlass and 44-pound Bruce anchor are standard. Generous side decks narrow down to little more than deck shoe width when you reach the cabin. An extra-heavy, black traction strip next to the cabin and well-placed cabin-top hand rails add a bit of safety, but trekking between the cockpit and the bow is faster and safer via the inside route.
Lenard Lee and James Moore of Ballena Bay Yachts, Nordic Tug’s San Francisco Bay area dealer, report that used Nordic Tugs commonly accumulate five to ten times the number of engine hours found on other boats of the same model year. Perhaps the reason is a better than average boating experience. Quality materials, construction and finish add up to gold-plated resale values. When you can find one, a used Nordic Tug almost always returns its original purchase price or more.
For more information
Nordic Tugs Inc.
11367 Higgins Airport Way
Burlington, WA 98233
|Displacement||24,000 (wet w/ equip. and gear)|
|Base Price||(delivered West Coast w/ Cumins 330B engine Northern Lights 5.5 KW genset bow thruster) $313,850|