Since its founding in 1978, the Nordhavn brand has been synonymous with bluewater builds that make circumnavigation dreams come true. Current models, like the Nordhavn 60 with 85 hulls sold, continue to be in demand. On the brokerage market, buyers sometimes wait eagerly in the wings for years, hoping out-of-production favorites will pop up for sale.
As it turns out, the three owners of Nordhavn Yachts—Dan Streech, Jim Leishman and Jeff Leishman—are mere mortals in this sense too. They recently bought a boat of their own and went with a Nordhavn 57 that Jeff Leishman has loved since the day it came off the production line two decades ago.
“I obviously designed the boat, but I actually project-managed that boat when it was built,” Jeff says. “I got to know the owners well, and I liked the ideas that they put into the boat originally.”
The boat, called Grande, wasn’t originally in the Nordhavn trio’s plans. They were thinking about a Nordhavn 41 because they had enjoyed cruising aboard one last summer in Florida and the Bahamas. But with a gaggle of kids, grandkids and dogs in the mix, they needed something bigger.
Some of the original owners’ choices suited their needs perfectly. Grande has a salon with an eat-in bar, instead of a big table that takes up more space. It also has an athwartships queen berth in the master stateroom (“It felt bigger to me than the standard layout,” Jeff says), and a stateroom with bunks in the bow, instead of the standard centerline queen.
Their plan is to do some updates, then take the boat up to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska this summer. After that, they’ll have a period of interior-refit work at Nordhavn’s facility in Dana Point, California, before Grande cruises down to the Sea of Cortez for the winter.
Jim has nothing but confidence in the 57, especially after having run a different 57 hull across the Atlantic Ocean in 2004 as part of the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally.
“It hasn’t been in production for 12 or 13 years, but it’s a really, really nice and great-performing boat,” Jim says. “It had a low profile, a low center of gravity, and a really nice hull with a tank-tested bulbous bow, so it was really efficient.”
They picked up Grande this past March in Virginia and ran the boat down the Eastern Seaboard, spending about half the time on the Intracoastal Waterway and half the time outside.
“We ran just under 9 knots and were burning something in the range of almost a mile and a half per gallon, which is pretty phenomenal for that speed,” Jim says. “But that boat, when we ran it across the Atlantic in the 6-knot range, it was getting over 2 nautical miles per gallon. It has a 2,000-gallon fuel supply, so that’s a 4,000-nautical-mile range. The 57 is an incredibly efficient boat when you slow it down.”
It’s also the kind of boat that doesn’t seem as if it will ever go out of style.
“The 57 is a venerable, iconic boat,” Streech says. “Nordhavns have such good bones, they essentially last forever.”
They’re planning to keep the boat’s name and home port of Gloucester, Virginia, exactly as they are now. They’re also keeping a key original feature that Jeff recalls from the build process with the original owners.
When I built the boat, these buyers wanted to go shopping in Taiwan,” he says. “They ended up buying this wooden buddha that’s the size of a shoe box. The guys in the yard built this little alcove at the bottom of the stairs for the buddha. It’s been in there for 20-plus years, and we thought it could be bad karma if we took it out, so he’s still there. Every time you go down the stairs, you rub his belly for luck.”
New Model: Nordhavn 625
Hull No. 1 of the Nordhavn 625 recently arrived in California for commissioning, with hulls No. 2, 3 and 4 under construction. The 625 is an evolution of the Nordhavn 55, a model that also was used as the basis for 60- and 63-footers.
“The tooling was getting tired,” says Jim Leishman, co-owner of Nordhavn Yachts. “So, we decided to retool, build brand-new molds, and update the appearance of the boat with a little more of a contemporary look without going too crazy. It still looks like a Nordhavn. It has a similar interior layout, just refined.”
The interior retains all of the most popular design elements from previous models, he adds.
“It’s the ultimate liveaboard cruising boat, but it’s not so gigantic,” Jim says. “A couple can operate it without crew.”