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Review: Nordhavn Yachts 63' Expedition Trawler

Discussion in 'Nordhavn Yacht' started by YachtForums, Aug 7, 2011.

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  1. Nordhavn Yachts New 63' Trawler
    The Evolution of the Expedition

    Review by Judy Waldman​

    The Nordhavn 63 is the convergence of two yachts; the Nordhavn 55 and Nordhavn 62.
    Each of these passagemaking yachts share the same purpose and capabilities while offering
    a different profile and presentation. Nordhavn heard the calling for a yacht with the features
    of the 55, but with the salty styling that put Nordhavn on the map. The 63 isn't a hybrid,
    but a trawler with its own identity, and one that carries the Nordhavn birthright.​

    The creation of a new model was not initiated with the 63, as Nordhavn had successfully morphed their 72 to a 76, but more closely replicated was the change from the Nordhavn 64 to the aft wheelhouse 68. The history of the Nordhavn 55 is a significant starting point, but let’s go astern to the beginning of the beginning with the brains behind the brawn. The story is well known by now of Jim Leishman and Dan Streech starting out as partners building Mason sailboats in the 1970s and 80s under the PAE (Pacific Asian Enterprise) nameboard. Jim’s brother Jeff, after completing his naval architecture degree, joined the team in the 80s and helped the partners cross over to what is affectionately known in the sailing world as “the dark side” with the introduction of the Nordhavn 46.

    The rest of the story is bottom lined by mentioning the trawler manufacturer that has built more trawlers, more models, made more ocean crossings, completed more circumnavigations... and the compass needle only points to Nordhavn. Yes, there are other quality ocean crossing fiberglass trawlers, but Nordhavn holds the records on numbers for sales and aggregate miles. For a more detailed history, read YF's review of the Nordhavn 55.
  2. The Nordhavn 55 was first launched in 2005 and to date 45 of the 55s are cruising. In 2009, the 55 was stretched to a 60 to give better handling with an increased waterline and to provide a larger entertainment area on the aft deck. 8 of the 60s are on the water and 3 are in the chute. Then along came Nigel and Hilary MacLeod who had previously commissioned and cruised a Nordhavn 47 and were looking for bigger digs. Nigel liked the aft deckhouse aesthetics of the 62, but preferred the one foot narrower beam of the 55, the more advanced hull form, and wanted a larger engine room. With the Nordhavn 55/60 as the birthmother and Nordhavn 62 as the birth father, the Nordhavn 63 became Nordhavn’s latest and most appealing creation for the mid-size Nordhavn aficionado. With entirely new molds for the deck and engine room, utilizing the 3 piece hull mold (split mold plus the attachable transom mold) of the 60, the Nordhavn 63 was set into motion.
  3. Our sea trial was on a picture perfect Florida morning. But not a good day for test-driving Silver Spray, the first hull in the 63 series. Docked at Sailfish Marina in Stuart, harbor tides became a determining factor for the time of departure. A 6’8” draft is only limiting in certain areas and this was one. So this meant early lines casting for Nordhavn’s commissioning manager to man the helm and take out a select group of yacht reviewers excited to see how tough a sea this boat could handle. While the flat calm water couldn’t define Silver Spray's capabilities for weathering the heavy seas for which she was designed, it did allow for putting her through some gyrations and getting a feel for what this hull form can do. And what she did remarkably well was track. For over an hour, she glided through the water without autopilot being called in for relief. Her long full keel combined with the right dimensional proportions allowed for tireless hand steering (Hynautic/Teleflex hydraulic) from the traditional captain’s wheel. The deepwater sea trial allowed for checking out her turning ability with 7 ½ - 8 turns lock to lock. For a 64 ton behemoth, of which 5 tons are ballast, Silver Spray's handling showed impressive agility. The return trip to the commissioning yard gave an hour cruise up the ICW where she glided effortlessly, tracking perfectly straight. It was a reminder of the pleasure of hand steering.
  4. The foredeck has become Nordhavn's signature of instant recognition. Massive in its real estate capability for accommodating a large dinghy, it gives the cargo deck concept to trawler yachts. The offset deck, wide-body, configuration allows for two-thirds walk around main deck while maximizing the interior beam of the salon. The Portuguese bridge has become "standard equipment" on trawlers for numerous reasons including safety, but it also gives a convenient locker for the 30 gallon gas tank for feeding the dinghy. The Steelhead CT 2000 telescopic crane is ideal for launching the Nautica 15' tender from either port or starboard side. It is presumed that the optional fender holders will be installed on the railings to maximize the white space on the deck. Walking areas of the decks are finished with a diamond-patterned non-skid surface.
  5. The upper aftdeck provides one of the areas for finding solace from the other cruising members aboard. Although a bit inconvenient for transporting food to and from the galley, with its bench seating and teak table, it's a pleasant place for alfresco dining, or a perfect spot for sharing morning coffee or sunset cocktails whilst offering blockage from the wind or stamoid protection from the sun. A seven rung ladder gives access to the housetop with its array of antennae. The FRP exhaust stack for the main engine exits just below the domes at 31 feet above the waterline and is a vast concealment improvement over its 62 predecessor. The portside flopped stopper, intended for roll dampening, is deployed from this level.
  6. The boat deck offers a boarding gate amidships on starboard side; aft provides a pantographic transom door entry to the teak swim platform. The high gloss varnished teak caprail gives a nice touch of yachty while keeping the brightwork maintenance minimal. The aft deck is chock full of amenities and practicality. Doors galore include a deck hatch entry to the lazarette which also provides emergency egress from the engine room or mechanic's entry without footprinting the interior. Speaking of emergency contingencies, there's a deck plate cover for the emergency tiller placement.
  7. The aft bulwark has the Glendenning cable connection, hot/cold water showers, dive compressor connections, and a locker for the two 20 # propane tanks for firing up the BBQ and galley stove and oven. The cooking center on the house wall consists of a stainless steel sink, Miele grill, and storage cabinets. A teak table offers a delightful place for outdoor dining. Add a rocketlauncher to a swim platform staple and you can get dinner fresh from the sea to grill to table without even dirtying the galley. A backdown station is complete with main engine start/stop buttons, Mather control, bow/stern thruster controls, windlass remote, and a horn button. Entering the engine room from the cockpit hatch is a cavernous lazarette which has ample holding space for the generators, air conditioning compressors, house batteries, compressed air tanks, and the general stuff one throws in from the aft deck hatch whether we intend to or not.
  8. The watertight aft deck Dutch door leaves the rugged look outside as one enters the salon with the fit, finish, and luxury that one has come to expect from Nordhavn. So as not to bring the outside in, there is a vented wet locker to starboard upon entry into the salon. There are two seating areas: a settee to starboard for five with a 3 piece dining table and to port is a four person L-shaped lounge. The seating configuration makes for good cross conversation in a cozy setting or for viewing the pop-up TV.
  9. Bookshelves, table lamps, and a barrel chair complete the furnishings. The rich raised paneled cherry wood cabinetry contributes to the warm ambiance; subtle curvatures in the settees add softness, over 6'8" headroom increases the cubic volume, and the six large picture windows bring in the light all meshed to provide an at-home luxury milieu in the context of exploration cruising.
  10. Adjacent to the salon and forward is the galley. Two-sided hanging cabinets for stowing the dishes make convenient loading from the galley to table setting in the salon, as well as providing a visual salon-galley room divider. Silver Spray has carpet over cherry and spruce soles throughout with the exception of the engine room and galley. The coin dot rubberized sole in the galley is a reminder that emphasis is on practicality and utility and that this cooking center means business. The galley is compact but fits in all needs and accessories for the chef at sea. Culinary prep is made easy with granite countertops and stove backsplash, double stainless steel sinks, four burner propane GE stove, full size GE oven, convection microwave, KitchenAid trash compactor, Bosch dishwasher, and Sub-Zero refrigerator and drawer freezers. Nice to see a simple unobtrusive latch for securing the refrigerator-freezer doors and drawers while underway.
  11. A screened overhead hatch near the stove is great for extra natural lighting and for fresh air. It alleviates the need for the port light at the stove to open. The practicality of the sink placement allows for proximity to the dishwasher and double-faced cabinets, but might require cleanup from the careless dishwasher who slops water while doing dish duty. The galley gets extended via the companionway with service drawers beneath the AC electrical panel and forward to a walk-in pantry on starboard side. For those not choosing the optional main deck 3 stateroom layout, the pantry supplies linear space for provisions.
  12. The companionway, with only a 2 step change in elevation, is another area with doors aplenty that give privacy options. On the port side is a door to the master stateroom. The near amidships master with its athwartship queen bed offers the best at sea sleeping positioning. With night stands flanking the walkaround bed, bookshelf, cabinets and hanging lockers strategically placed, stashing attire and tucking away personals shouldn't be a problem. The opening portlights give the option of natural lighting and fresh air ventilation, but particularly comforting is the large overhead hatch allowing for emergency escape. While a 15' tender blocks exit from the hatch, the portlights do allow emergence.
  13. The ensuite head has generous stowage with large medicine chest and numerous cabinets and drawers. The full standup shower has a bi-fold door entry. Opening portlight and ceramic tile floor add to the amenities.
  14. Forward of the master cabin is a door that enables the guest head starboard side to be used as a day head when open, or when closed encapsulates the forward guest cabin with its separate head. With the privacy door closed, this cabin, with its tapered queen bed, truly becomes a VIP suite with settee, numerous bookshelves, multiple lockers, and lots of drawers and cabinets. Two overhead screened hatches complement the opening portlights and also keep Silver Spray in her CE compliance by having 2 emergency exits per stateroom. A real surprise found in this guest cabin is the basement. At the entry to the stateroom by the settee is a floor hatch that opens to a large storage area. See 'Details' at end of this review for more info. That said, the forward VIP doesn't quite complete the sleeping arrangement layout. To be continued...
  15. From the starboard side of the galley are not only the stairs to the pilothouse, but also a stairway to the engine room. For wide-beam fellas or for mechanics carrying tools, the lazarette entry may be easier (the starboard sidedeck entry door here is also designed for the skinny, but the narrowness is due to the swinging door room on the sidedeck). But, what a great utility room one finds at the base of these stairs! Upon entry into this enclave, there's a sink to the left just before the engine room entry door. On the portside is a long single bunk with TV and cubbies, and forward is vented Formica cabinetry containing full size Bosch washer and dryer and a large U-Line deep freeze (yes!) There's even a canvas pipe berth for an extra crew member. A head would complete this section for an adequate crew cabin, a grandkids' hideout, or for the gearhead who escapes endlessly in the boat's belly. And all this is the watertight prelude to the engine room.
  16. If the engine room is the inner sanctum, this hub is the nerve center. With a full array of electronics to get to whatever corner of the globe is set for course, the pilothouse offers the captain the ability to navigate by wire, or hand steer for fun, while guests or family can join in the activities from the comfort of sitting around the activity table which has made good use of its base by incorporating book shelves. Although most controls, knobs, gadgets and screens are easily reached from the off-centerline helm seat, there are numerous displays and gauges that require a bit of neck straining to read above the windows, or at least for those of us who don't need the full 6'11" headroom.
  17. The reverse raked windows are Diamond Seaglaze 12mm thick and provide good visibility although there's some distortion on a few. The overhead opening hatch lets in additional light and air. The offsided helm provides room for a desk height chart table to port with a swing out chair. The blue ultrasuede headliner is a great solution for light deflection and gives a rich feel to the ambiance created by the cherry and spruce sole in contrast to the hi-tech razzle dazzle electronics.
  18. Aft of the pilothouse is the captain's cabin, an enclosed cabin with a separate head ideal for the cruising couple who wants an extra hand with boat duties or watch sharing. The cabin is a bit snug for guests having a modified full bed that appears difficult to make, but crew will have a room with a view for sure. And while the head is convenient for a crew member, it becomes shared with family if used as a day head. Nonetheless, the upper deck sleeping quarters can be useful in many cruising situations. Access to the deck is from port and starboard Dutch watertight doors.
  19. The main engine, a Lugger 340 HP continuous duty turbocharged aft cooled, rejects its heat to the sea water via a Fernstrum keel cooler and efficiently turns the 5 bladed P Hung Shen prop to glide the vessel at 8 knots at 1300 rpms consuming 6.7 gallons per hour. While that might be the sweet spot, for those in a hurry (it's all relative), WOT is 1800 rpms and she screams along at 9.8 knots although the fuel burn jumps to just over 17 gph. The wing engine, a Lugger 65 HP and the 20kW and 9kW Northern Lights generators are wet exhaust. The Lugger wing is a V-drive and turns a Gori folding blade prop.
  20. With 6'2" headroom, the engine room allows for great movement and workability with numerous sit-down spots for servicing. Aside from the brightness and maintenance accessibility, the engine room presents several "wow" features. The ceramic fiber insulating exhaust blanket is a work of art and adds a look of engine room bling. The ventilation system, designed and fabricated by Nordhavn utilizing Delta T components, yields a pleasant ambient temperature environment. With 2 large intake fans forward and an extraction fan aft, the warm air is drawn out through the aesthetically concealed vents on the aft deck. Underway, the engine room was actually cool - in more ways than one.
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