In 1988, when Jeff Leishman and the rest of the folks at Pacific Asian Enterprises (PAE) decided to switch from building the Mason sailboat series to building long-range powerboats, the idea was considered radical. Indeed, one Taiwanese manufacturer actually refused to fabricate the very first Nordhavn 46. As luck would have it, though, the project came to a happy conclusion, sending a passel of iconic displacement-type recreational trawlers around the world and cranking up both a genre of vessel and a salty, adventurous personality type that have since been collectively and colorfully called passagemakers.
The Nordhavn 96, while considerably larger than her 46-foot progenitor, shares much of the old boat’s cachet and style. Designed as an intermediary between the popular Nordhavn 86 and the megayacht-like Nordhavn 120, the new addition to PAE’s fleet offers more space in the crew’s quarters belowdecks, an extended saloon and cockpit on the main deck, an extra-large skylounge (or upper master stateroom, depending on layout choice), and a huge flying bridge, all ensconced in an extension of the 86’s proven hull form.
Although the new 96 features fine hardwoods, raised-panel doors, stone floors, granite countertops, top-notch hardware, and a high level of finish, each boat will be wholly customizable to her owner’s vision, which (I gotta say) is likely to be a far-ranging one. Indeed, according to PAE, when equipped with twin MTU Series-60 diesels turning 48-inch props through an exceptionally deep gear ratio of 4.59:1, the 96 is capable of traveling some 4,000 nautical miles before refueling. The twin-engine configuration, by the way, incorporates giant skegs with attached rudders, thereby protecting each prop within its own aperture.
So bottom line, it seems the salty spirit that produced the first, globetrotting Nordhavn is still vigorously alive. But with the 96, the whole thing’s become a bit more luxurious and large.
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