Nordhavn 47: Sea Trial
Nordhavn 47: A cruiser suited to world travelers.
The new Nordhavn 47 incorporates all the lessons learned from its smaller sistership, the Nordhavn 40, which successfully circumnavigated the globe in just over 26 weeks. That was a remarkably small boat on a remarkably big mission.
This 47-foot modified-displacement yacht is built to carry its owners around the world in safety, yet is comfortable, economical and maneuverable enough for coastal cruising any day of the week.
Pacific Asian Enterprises (P.A.E.) of Dana Point, California, added the 47 to the middle of its nine-boat Nordhavn line, which includes models from 35 to 72 feet in length. Many seaworthy aspects of West Coast commercial fishing trawlers are bred into the vessels of the Nordhavn family — including high bows, upright pilothouses leaning into the wind (with backward-slanting windshields), Portuguese bridges, amidships cutaways and working cockpits.
The 47′s pilothouse contains a wealth of no-nonsense features found on small ships, while the rest of the boat has more of the ambiance of a plush motoryacht than a rugged trawler.
The helm station is set slightly to port of the centerline. A nicely designed three-part instrument panel and a generous electrical panel console face the single helm chair. Forward visibility is excellent from this high vantage point.
Port and starboard Dutch doors lead to covered sidedecks. These rounded, ship-style doors come with beefy cinch-down handles, and the top halves can be secured open for natural ventilation. Split windows on the bridge and in the saloon can be opened for cross ventilation — an important cruising feature that is absent from many air conditioning-dependent motoryachts.
The pilothouse offers a leather-wrapped settee and a table that accommodates five — or six, if the helm seat is turned to join the group. A separate table leaf flips up, across the port passageway, for wrap-around serving.
A single pilot berth is located athwartships on the aft port side of the pilothouse. From this quarter berth, the captain can see all the way aft, thanks to a wide window looking out onto the boat deck. Nordhavn has also provided amber overhead lighting in the pilothouse, and the white lighting has a dimmer.
The 47 feels a lot larger than its 43-foot, 4-inch waterline suggested — but that’s not surprising, given its 16-foot, 1-inch beam.
We boarded the 47 via a large molded-in aft swim step, where we noted an extra cleat and hawse through the middle of the cockpit’s high stern wall — a handy feature for docking flexibility in adverse situations.
Entering the main saloon through another ship-style door, we quickly reached a settee seating area to starboard, past the galley. The teak and spruce sole is both attractive and practical. Teak paneling and cabinetry throughout the boat are satin finished.
The galley, to port, is open to the main saloon, across a breakfast bar. Butterfly corner sinks make best use of the ample granite counter and undercounter storage space. Top-quality appliances are standard, including a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a Miele dishwasher and a GE washer and dryer.
From the main saloon, it’s five quick steps up to the pilothouse. Continuing forward and belowdecks, the master stateroom with a queen-size berth and an en suite head is located at the stable center of the boat, directly below the pilothouse. Forward, on our test boat, was a combination guest stateroom/office and a second head. Six portholes are fitted with deadlights, for safe running in rough offshore sea conditions.
Primary access to the engine room is through an insulated watertight door in the master stateroom’s aft bulkhead. Most owner-skippers we know love to keep an eye on everything in the engine room — and that is easily accomplished through this door’s window.
This is an exceptionally quiet-running boat, but anyone sleeping in the master stateroom would, of course, notice the engine room door being opened while under way. Secondary access to the engine room is available through a port in the lazarette.
The Nordhavn 47′s engine room has full stand-up headroom. The single 173 hp Lugger 668T diesel engine in our test boat was surrounded by big guardrails, yet there was ready walk-around access.
The exhaust leads straight up a stack instead of into the water, freeing valuable space inside the boat. A dry stack is a much simpler system than injecting water into the exhaust, and it is less prone to failure that can cough seawater back into your engine cylinders.
A 40 hp Yanmar “get-home” auxiliary diesel engine and an optional 12 kw Fischer Panda auxiliary generator were mounted aft.
The boat’s 1,450 gallons of fuel tankage are divided into two saddle tanks and one day tank. Fuel can be pumped through the manifold or moved by gravity flow. The top of the day tank is calibrated into tenths of gallons on a sight glass, which allows quick and accurate fuel consumption readings under way.
Our test boat, Ocean Rose, had an optional stern steering station to starboard in the cockpit. An emergency tiller fitting was easily accessible in the cockpit deck, instead of being buried deep in a lazarette.
The starboard side of the boat has a high-sided walkway that is covered aft. Steps lead up to the foredeck, so you can move quickly from bow to stern when handling lines and docking. The solid coaming along this walkway has a two-part boarding gate amidships.
A high Portuguese bridge forward of the pilothouse provides safe centerline access to the foredeck. The foredeck has amber deck lights, a small “escape hatch” from the forward stateroom and a sturdy twin anchor system — all shielded by foot-high gunwales and serious safety rails.
The port side main deck has no walkway, because the saloon and galley extend all the way to the port hull side. This is a good compromise that allows more interior space without sacrificing safety. Midship lines to port can be handled from the flybridge.
The flybridge can be reached either from exterior steps near the port side door in the pilothouse or via an interior stairway at the starboard aft corner of the pilothouse. The bridge provides 360-degree visibility, and seating behind the upper helm is generous.
We liked the fact that there’s a mast with a track for a steadying sail — something serious long-range cruisers will definitely appreciate. Amidships, the arch and dry stack mast separate the flybridge from the boat deck, which has room for an 11-foot hard-bottom tender.
Testing the 47
This was Hull #1, and Hull #10 had just been delivered with some modifications. Though we ran the boat 5 miles offshore, the weather was superb and sea conditions were calm. Commissioning chief Capt. Kirk White of Lemest Yacht Sales in Dana Point helped us put the boat through its paces.
Unlike many other boats, the Nordhavn 47 has a standard left-hand prop that helps it back to starboard, as fits the vessel’s preferred starboard docking deck layout. Ocean Rose has Hynautic steering and a standard 9 hp Sidepower bow thruster, which helped make this boat extraordinarily maneuverable.
On this calm morning, Ocean Rose carried 450 gallons of fuel (total capacity is 1,450 gallons) and about 135 gallons of water (out of 400 gallons capacity). With our light load and calm seas, this Nordhavn 47 remained quiet and stable — from 1,400 up to 2,375 rpm, both upwind and downwind, upcurrent and downcurrent.
We achieved an average maximum speed of 9.2 knots at 2,375 rpm. There was no vibration at wide-open throttle.
The engines could be heard running when we were in the master stateroom at maximum speed; but at a normal coastal cruising speed of 2,000 rpm (8.45 knots), the sound level was significantly lower. The boat’s optimum cruising speed for maximum fuel economy is at 1,600 rpm — and during our sea trial, that pace yielded an average of 6.8 knots.
New maintenance strakes in the bottom of the 47′s hull allowed P.A.E. to place the engine lower than in the Nordhavn 46. Tank testing showed that these strakes help reduce friction and wetted surface area.
When we tested Ocean Rose’s turning agility at high and low speeds, the boat stayed comfortably stable. The new strakes caused no negative effects on turns or stability.
For buyers who want an even more rock-solid ride in rough conditions, Naiad fin stabilizers are optional.
Testing Ocean Rose’s “wing engine” — the 40 hp auxiliary Yanmar diesel with a Gori three-blade feathering prop — we made 3.6 knots. A Marteck folding prop is also available for this engine.
At the end of the day, we found just one fleck of carbon on the boat deck, which a bit of glass cleaner easily removed. We think that’s a small price to pay for the superior safety of a dry stack exhaust system.
Designer Jeff Leishman and the rest of the P.A.E. team learned plenty from circumnavigating aboard the Nordhavn 40 — and they turned that experience toward creating an even better long-range cruising boat in the new 47.
P.A.E’s Nordhavn yachts have proven their overall quality, durability, reliability and seakindly performance in a way that few other pleasureboats ever have.
Nordhavn 47 Specifications
|Fuel capacity||1450 gallons|
|Water capacity||400 gallons|
|Propellers||34″ x 30″ four-blade|
|Base price with twin 173-hp Lugger 668T diesel engines||$760,000|
|Top speed||9.2 knots|
|Miles per gallon at 6.8-knot cruising speed||2.8|
|Estimated fuel cost for 100 miles||$58.93|
|Range at 6.8-knot cruising speed||4,216 miles to empty|
|Sound level at 6.8-knot cruising speed||61 dbA|
(Estimated fuel cost based on fuel price of $1.65 per gallon.)
Mathers MicroCommander controls; Hynautic hydraulic steering; 9 hp Sidepower bow thruster; 40 hp Yanmar auxiliary diesel wing engine; 2,500 watt Xantrex Trace inverter; Diamond Sea Glaze doors and windows; granite countertops; Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer, Thermador gas range and oven; GE microwave oven; GE washer and dryer, Miele dishwasher; Raritan Atlantis marine toilets; emergency tiller.
Options on Test Boat
12 kw Fischer Panda auxiliary generator; Naiad stabilizer system.
Fiberglass modified displacement hull; 2-inch-thick Technicon fireporoof foam insulation at engine room.
For More Information
Pacific Asian Enterprises
Dana Point, Calif.