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True North 47

Descended from workboats, the True North 47 is meant to be used and enjoyed.

August 4, 2008

The True North 47 is the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited of the maritime world. Her rugged good looks suggest she’ll easily transport us safely and comfortably through almost any kind of weather. The nononsense exterior also belies the level of luxury awaiting us inside.

True North first splashed onto the scene in 2001 with the launch of its TN38. This model’s plumb stem, dramatic flare in the bow sections, and modified barrel stern caused quite a stir among observers at the launch party. Equally important, the boat didn’t have a stick of wood on the exterior, which, while offending the traditionalists, stated unequivocally that this boat’s purpose was use and not maintenance. True North introduced the TN33 next, then a 34, logical steps down in size aimed at shoppers who wanted to spend less money and felt that the 38 was too much boat. The TN47 represents a giant step up the ladder.

Although chief designer Clive Dent developed the TN47 from the 38, this new boat is huge by comparison. Remember that the scaling up of a design results in an exponential increase in the overall size. In this case, the 9 feet added to the length of the hull and 2 feet added to the beam, plus filling the interior with more luxury, gives the 47 twice the displacement of the 38.

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Like her smaller sister, the 47 has straight buttock lines, which run parallel to one another throughout the planing surface. Deadrise amidships is 20 degrees, warping to 17 degrees at the transom. The difference is so small that we’d be hard pressed to see it unless we carefully studied the bottom. The TN38 always impressed me with its seakindly motion, and the 47 promises to be even better.

Like the New England workboats from which the True North line descends, each model keeps more of its bottom in the water, even at top speed, than do highperformance V-bottom planing boats. Instead of meeting the seas with a steep deadrise at the leading edge of the planing surface near amidships as deep-Vs do, the TN47 and her smaller sisters rely on the entry to take the initial shock. The designer must get the transition from fine entry to buoyant sections farther aft just right. If it’s too abrupt, the motion will be uncomfortably quick. If it’s too gradual, the boat may dig into waves and root, or steer by the bow. Increasing a boat’s length, especially on the waterline, increases the overall buoyancy and frees the designer to make fewer compromises in shaping the forward sections.

Dent drew substantial chines, carried all the way around the stem, to suppress spray. They have a 7-degree down angle and prevent water from crawling up the bow sections and stem. The lifting strakes, or chines, narrow as they reach forward and upward to the waterline. This reduces the slap of water against the chines as ripples meet the entry when anchored or pitching in the wake of a passing boat. If you compare the vertical stem of the 38 with that of the 47, you’ll notice that Dent increased the radius at the turn of the stem, giving the bow a profile more like that of a traditional lobster boat.

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True North plans to offer this model with a pair of Volvo Penta IPS 600 drives allowing the designer to place the engines under the cockpit, which frees up volume inside the boat for accommodations. This arrangement forced Dent to increase the freeboard aft, but in no way interferes with the 47’s good looks. The tankage and systems machinery live under the sole of the salon, just abaft amidships, helping to keep the longitudinal center of gravity aft, where it belongs, to satisfy the requirements of IPS drives.

When True North launches the 47 in a year’s time, I think the company will find a line of buyers at the door. Some of those folks will want to move up from the 38; others likely will have fallen for the purposeful looks, ease of maintenance, and economy of operation missing from their speedy express-bridge mounts.

True North Yachts, (877) 329-9450; www.tnyachts.com

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