About us and the boat

About us and the boat:

We were lucky enough to retire early at the start of 2013 so we could head off and "live the dream" on board our Nordhavn 47 Trawler Yacht. The idea is to see some of the planet, at a slow 6 - 7 knots pace. There are no fixed goals or timings, we just had a plan to visit Scotland and then probably the Baltic before heading south.

The Baltic has been postponed as we didn't manage to see everything we wanted to in Scotland during our first year owing to family issues. The idea is to visit the nicer areas in these latitudes before heading south for warmer weather. If we like somewhere, we will stay for a while. If not, we will just move on. So, for the people who love forward planning and targets, this might seem a little relaxed!

If anyone else is contemplating a trawler yacht life, maybe our experiences will be enough to make you think again, or maybe do it sooner then you intended!

The boat is called Rockland and she is built for long distance cruising and a comfortable life on board too. If you want to see more about trawler yachts and the Nordhavn 47 in particular, there is a link to the manufacturers website in our "useful stuff" section. For the technically minded, there is a little info and pictures of the boat and equipment in the same section


Richard and June

Monday, 1 April 2013

Some more information about the boat and equipment - for trainspotters or people with time on their hands!

We bought our Nordhavn 47 early in 2009. She was a couple of years old, having been built for a man who kept her in Denmark.  That is relevant when you look at the equipment he fitted – the boat is unusual in having Thinsulate insulation in the roof lining area and the windows in the saloon and pilothouse are double glazed. Great news for liveaboards, avoids all the condensation that you get when the heating is running in cold, wet weather and makes the boat easy to keep warm in the depths of winter (or summer of course!)

She was fitted out ready for serious cruising with all the necessary kit based on good advice from the Nordhavn Europe team. Hydraulic stabilisers, redundant autopilot heads and computers, water maker, SSB radio etc. She was completed just as Furuno were switching to Navnet 3.  Luckily (I think), the boat has a suite of Navnet II equipment which has been (touch wood) rock solid reliable.  There is a built in PC that runs Maxsea software which interfaces to the Furuno equipment well. Not sure if it is my personal favourite but it does all we need / want. Obviously with a newer Navnet 3 boat, you would / could use laptops or tablet devices. We are limited as the software that interfaces with Navnet  II will not run on newer PC operating systems. The delights of Microsoft – I thought I had escaped from all the compatibility issues and problems when I gave up working in IT!

She has the larger pilothouse berth that can be used as an extra double for short term visitors if the forecabin is already occupied. This cuts down the seating area a little but there is plenty of space for 4 people in the pilothouse when underway.  If we were having another 47 built, I would go for the standard smaller berth though as we only use it for the “off watch” person on passages.

Luckily, she also had a full height Stidd helm seat fitted – most boats have a half height seat and when underway in the “rougher stuff” we really appreciate the extra support (age and bad back thing I suppose). The Stidd seats are crazy prices but just so comfortable on longer passages. We would smile and fit one to a new boat despite the bill.

The office:

Domestic equipment – again built for living on board. She was fitted with Miele appliances from new, including a slimline dishwasher that makes having guests on board so much easier.. The best part is having a separate washer and drier, no need to go to a marina launderette:


Entertainment is taken care of by a B&O system – remember, she was built for a Danish guy!

The best part (OK, in the Captain’s opinion the best part) of a Nordhavn is the engineroom. For anyone who has battled trying to access engines or fuel filters buried under floor panels in a boat that needs a slim contortionist to work on them, this is heaven. In fact, you can be ham-fisted and overweight yet still get to all the important parts of the engine, wing engine and genset. The access is great and encourages proper maintenance and regular checks. Our boat was built with an internal phone system so the captain can phone the galley for tea whilst working down in the engineroom. Getting the phone answered isn’t guaranteed of course…. There are two other great resources. The Nordhavn owners groups on Yahoo are a mine of information – many very experienced owners who have circumnavigated / crossed oceans in their boats. The second is the support from the Lugger (Alaska Diesel) factory training man. Known as “Lugger Bob” he is also a keen boater and offers advice and technical hints willingly – most unlike the approach from people like Volvo who don’t talk to customers and just  say “call a dealer out”. That isn’t too practical when you are mid ocean and linked only by sat phone!

The main engine (see link in the “useful stuff” section) is a marinised John Deere unit. For the tractor trainspotting types, it is a Deere 6068. For the rest of us, it is a big capacity (6.8 litres) block to make a lazy 170HP or so, slow revving and gives the impression of being bullet proof. Underway, it runs at about 40% load to push the boat along at her optimum hull speed for efficiency. So far, no Nordhavn owner has reported a major mechanical failure with one of these. Naturally as a prime mover, you need that. The engine is relatively low tech. No common rail high pressure injection, no fancy control systems, no supercharging, just a turbo to clean up the exhaust at higher rpm. The KISS approach!
The other big plus is that standard service parts and any replacement components are available via John Deere dealers. Sensible prices (sorry Volvo, Yanmar) and great logistics as they are geared up to supply parts for commercial users worldwide. My experience with Hunts, the Deere dealer in Hampshire has been good.