I recently watched, for the umpteenth time, the 1970 classic Airport. A gruff George Kennedy delivers my favorite line after he powers a grounded Boeing 707 through a snowbank. A technician remarks that the 707's manual says the aircraft can't take the strain Kennedy has just successfully put on it.
"Remarkable thing about the 707", he replies. "It can do everything but read."
I tested the new Nordhavn 47 and browsed her precise owner's manual, and I believe this motoryacht is strong enough to handle almost anything George Kennedy, or Neptune for that matter, can swing at her. She is, in the spirit of Nordhavns past, a properly powered, heavy and voluminous boat that travels efficiently with almost as much weight below the waterline as above.
The world travels of Nordhavn 40, 46-, 50-, 57- and 62-footers are well-documented ("Powerful Voyage", December 2002). Jim Leishman, co-founder of Pacific Asian Enterprises, was the writer responsible for revising the bible of the cruising world, Voyaging Under Power, and he and his partners stick to their formula to ensure each hull provides stellar passagemaking performance.
In essence, Nordhavns are built with three ratios in mind: displacement/length, speed/length and above water/below water area. A high D/L ratio ensures the volume and displacement necessary for self-sufficient cruising (the heavier the construction and room for stores, the better for open-ocean travel). The S/L ratio helps to determine hull speed and efficient power. Hull speed can be ascertained by multiplying 1.34 by the square root of the waterline. Each Nordhavn hull looks to have a 1.1 or 1.2 ratio. Last is the A/B ratio, which Pacific Asian Enterprises tries to keep at 2.1 to 2.7 (compared with commercial fishing trawlers, which have ratios under 2, and some recreational trawlers, which have ratios closer to 4 or more).
These ratios are tried and true for the folks at Pacific Asian Enterprises, so much so that with the 47-footer, aside from some minor details, Leishman was quite satisfied with hull number one.
The living space on the 47 will not disappoint owners moving up within the line or switching from cruising sailboats or planing motoryachts. They should be comfortable, whether the boat is used for long passages or as full-time living quarters.
This boat's real story, though, is her machinery space. Engineroom access is via a watertight door within the master cabin compartment amidships, at the pitch axis. The machinery space is designed so that even a novice boater, manual in hand, can understand, troubleshoot and maintain the components.
Entering the space and looking aft, the 173 hp Lugger is on centerline. A stainless-steel grab rail skirts the engine's perimeter, an asset for performing tasks under way. Abaft the main, to port, is the 40 hp Yanmar auxiliary engine. While many single-engine powerboats, including commercial trawlers, venture tens of thousands of miles without backup power, I see that little gray Yanmar as peace of mind. It is a V-drive configuration with a separate shaft, a folding propeller and a mechanical transmission. It can power the 47 at 5 knots, according to Nordhavn. To starboard, enshrouded in a hush box, is a 12kW Fischer Panda generator. On the after bulkhead is a watertight door with double dogs that leads to the lazarette.