The galley is to port, so a single-handed skipper can cook breakfast from the helm. Just joking! It's actually a very nicely arranged galley with ample counter space, a great view out the opening windows, and a Force 10 gas stove with pot clamps you'd expect to see on a sailboat. The refrigerator and freezer are in U-line drawers under the counter, but I think I'd find another place for the microwave because the overhead cabinet blocks everyone's view, including the skipper's. (Perhaps we could sacrifice the liquor locker?)
The master stateroom on the Norseman is located amidships for the least motion at sea or at anchor, and it's pleasantly spacious with exceptional headroom for an airy openness. The centerline berth faces forward from atop a platform that allows drawers on each side as well as a pair of nightstands. Two cedar-lined hanging lockers are outboard, and a 20-inch flat-screen TV is on the forward bulkhead. This is all very nice, indeed.
The master head compartment is nicely sized with the quiet-flush ITT head recessed into a Corian base for easy cleaning, a shower with a hatch to release steam, and a port for light and air. The washer/dryer is concealed in the master stateroom, so you probably won't be doing your laundry after you turn in for the night, but it's certainly convenient.
Forward along the starboard side passage is the VIP cabin, which fills the tapering bow area with a raised berth that allows a three-drawer bureau underneath. Two hanging lockers are in the cabin, while a third is behind the door that closes off the passageway.
At the entry to the guest cabin is a simple counter with a sink, leaving the en suite head to serve double duty as both toilet compartment and as a Corian-lined shower (with a seat over the toilet).
The flying bridge is sizable, with a fiberglass helm console forward of the single helm chair, an L-shaped settee with table to port, and a console with icemaker/fridge. The boat deck can easily handle a RIB tender, and comfortable stairs lead to the teak-planked afterdeck with its twin transom doors.
On deck, the 480 provides good security with wide side decks and high, welded stainless steel rails atop teak caprails. A boarding gate is provided forward on each side. At the bow, a teak platform is set up for twin anchors with two rollers and a Maxwell windlass for both chain and line. A spare rode locker is oversized, so it's easy to sort out any chain problems, and a washdown gets rid of mud.
Under way, the Norseman had an easy motion in the long Pacific swells, and her modified V-hull has enough chine flat to keep her from rolling, even in cross seas. Our test boat had the standard twin Cummins 450 hp diesels and, though 540 hp diesels are an option, the standard engines pushed us easily to 24 knots.
Like all first launches, we had some teething problems: The trim tabs were trying to outthink us, and the 480 would benefit from some prop testing. But, hey, 24 knots without using trim tabs is quick enough for most conditions, and she came up flat without bow rise.
Our test boat also had the optional stern thruster (a SidePower bowthruster is standard), so handling in tight quarters was a cinch. In spite of the teak and holly cabin soles (always noisier than carpet), the 480 was a quiet boat, barely reaching 78 dB(A) at full throttle. An Onan 8 kW genset is standard, and easily capable of handling the four MarineAir reverse-cycle air-conditioning units.
The earlier Norseman sailboats had a reputation for seamanlike systems, and the new power version is no different: Access to the usual maintenance points is good; all the wiring and plumbing are secured and tidy; and through-hull fittings (seacocks and rudderposts) are sturdy.
Considering the long list of standard equipment, the Norseman 480 would seem underpriced at less than $600,000, delivered, and you'd start looking for areas where the builders cut corners. The surprise is that you won't find them. Well built, with pleasing lines and a thoughtful interior, this is one yacht that you have to see to believe.
Contact: Golden West Yachts International, (310) 823-3838; www.norsemanyachts.com.