47 — By Capt. Bill Pike
— March 2003
|Part 2: Actually driving the 47 in open water was as enjoyable a seagoing experience as I’ve had in a dog’s age.|
Halting our sternway with a click of the Mathers MicroCommander singlestick control, I felt the 47's monster displacement for the first time--dang near 41 tons at full load. Although an influential breeze blew softly down the fairway, the test boat held station like a monolithic paperweight as I backed-and-filled a 90-degree turn, then straightened `er up. By easily exiting the marina via a channel crammed with big sailing cats and charter boats, the 47 then showed me she could maneuver in heavy traffic with as much authority as she could dockside.
The propulsion system was the reason. It comes straight out of West Coast fishing trawlers, a type of craft justly touted for a commodious carrying capacity, a soft, seakindly roll underway, and most important, a big, slow-moving, highly efficient propeller. The 47 fits the scenario perfectly, especially the last part. Her prop is darn near three feet across, and her deep gear ratio (3.96:1) cuts propeller revs by a factor of nearly four, which slows things down considerably and parenthetically produces enough bottom-end maneuvering torque to make even a bad boathandler look good.
Because PMY's fuel-flow computer turned moody and uncooperative once we'd lost the scent of land, I spent a fair amount of time in the 47's engine room during our sea trial. I took fuel-consumption readings via a stopwatch and a sight gauge installed on the 47's "supply reservoir," a daytank-like chamber of welded aluminum installed on the forward engine-room bulkhead. Savvy feature! In addition to facilitating the accurate calculation of fuel burn on the fly, which comes in handy on long passages as well as boat tests, it collects fuel for engine/genset consumption via gravity from the main tanks--thus ensuring the 47's always primed and ready to run. Moreover, it enables an owner to detect and drain accumulated water via a sensor/alarm system and a petcock.
One general comment about the engine room: From its layout and design, it's obvious that P.A.E. understands the importance of simplicity and elbowroom to owner/engineers. The place has standing headroom everywhere and contains little more than a walkaround main engine, recessed tankage, a soundshielded genset, and a 35-hp Yanmar emergency "wing engine" in case of main-engine failure. Auxiliaries (Trace inverter, Lifeline 8D batteries, Hynautic hydraulics, etc.) are just as nicely laid out, but they're located in a full-beam lazarette with stoop-type headroom.
Actually driving the 47 in open water was as enjoyable a seagoing experience as I've had in a dog's age. Speeds were typical of a displacement vessel. Turns were surprisingly tight and outboard-leaning, a characteristic of displacement-type vessels with substantial, heavily ballasted keels. Visibility, from dead ahead to well abaft the beam, was excellent. Our Naiad stabilizers were unnecessary in the gentle swells, and the conversation was good--Leishman loosened up with a few tales about his experiences onboard the Nordhavn 40 that recently circled the globe.
I returned the 47 to the marina late in the afternoon and subsequently toured her traditional teak interior with ardor. There's little I can say about the layout that's not obvious from the photographs and drawings here, however. Dedicated wheelhouse up top, with chart table, L-shape lounge, and dayberth. Saloon and galley (with granite countertops) on the next deck down. Two staterooms (master aft and guest forward), two good-size heads, an office alcove, engine room and lazarette at the bottom of the pile. The finish throughout was precise, the look simple, and brand names prestigious.
Shortly after the test, I made the following admission to myself, which serves as a fitting conclusion here:
If I ever win the lottery, I know exactly what new boat I'll buy: a Nordhavn 47.
P.A.E./Nordhavn Phone: (949) 496-4848. www.nordhavn.com.
This article originally appeared in the March 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.