A different concept from Nordhavn delivers coastal range and twice the speed.
Our speed indicator is fluctuating between 20.5 knots and 21.5 knots, perhaps even touching 21.8 on a trip down the four-foot swell, with the engines at wide-open throttle. For many yachts, such a speed might represent a nice, leisurely cruising pace, but I am on a Nordhavn, so this is fast. We are roughly doubling the top speed of other Nordhavns.
The 59 Coastal Pilot is something new and different from the folks at Nordhavn, a concept that took nearly two and a half years to see through from drawing board to finished product. It’s a semi-displacement hull meant to deliver a respectable top speed while holding on to the builder’s roots as a purveyor of long-range cruising yachts. While the 59 CP isn’t going to be an ocean-crosser like many of its mates — top range is about 1,000 miles at 8.5 knots — it’s still capable of covering long distances and has a CE Category A certification, which is an unlimited offshore rating. The cruising grounds from Central America to Alaska would be easy to tackle in what Nordhavn is referring to as a continental cruiser.
Eric Leishman and Garrett Severen, both of the Nordhavn Southwest office — the former a sales rep and the latter a project manager — told me the 59 CP is for boaters who can’t get their head around full displacement. They’re more interested in coastal cruising than crossing to Hawaii or the South Pacific, but they’re definitely interested in going places.
The Nordhavn crew invited a few marine journalists to a media preview a couple of weeks before our sea trial, and it was while we were underway with a group of 15 people that something unusual occurred. We felt a sudden rush forward from a trawler-like speed, and suddenly we were talking about acceleration on a Nordhavn. I took that thought with me to the sea trial.
Thanks to the Cummins QSM11 diesels, each packing 715 hp, the 59 CP’s climb up the speed spectrum was smooth, quiet and flat. The bow came up very little, which kept our view forward mostly unobstructed, and the ABT fin stabilizers kept the side-to-side motion to a minimum. With full water and 600 gallons of fuel, the boat came on plane somewhere between 14 and 15 knots, and the semi-displacement hull was able to maintain plane down to just under 13 knots. We pulled hard-over turns at various speeds, and at no time did the yacht lean out in protest. It maintained a flat turning posture all the way through, and the turn was definitely within the boat’s own length. Tight maneuvering shouldn’t be a problem.
Out on the open water, the 59 CP can give its owner a wide variety of ranges. As I already indicated, even with about a 10 percent reserve, the yacht can go 1,000 miles at 8.5 knots. At 10.5 knots, range is just more than 709 miles, factoring in the 14.8 gph fuel burn. At about 14 knots, which is pretty much where the boat jumps on plane, range is 340 miles with a 41.5 gph fuel burn. At between 16.5 and 17 knots, roughly 2000 rpm or 70 percent load, which Leishman called a fast cruise, range is a little more than 300 miles. Top speed, between 20 and 21 knots, results in a fuel burn of 77 gph at 2500 rpm, which brings the range down to 260 miles. So depending on an owner’s timeline and tolerance for fuel burn, a trip can be made quickly with more stops or slowly with potentially no stops.
A point of pride for the Nordhavn crew is the yacht’s engine room, which is accessed via a door on the port side of the cockpit. It’s a roomy, well-laid-out, maintenance-friendly space, with room for most human beings to stand and clear pathways around the machinery, and thanks to a big hatch in the aft deck, anything that needs to be lifted out of the space can be handled without tearing up any of the living spaces. Contortionism won’t be required to reach usually inaccessible parts and equipment. The room is aft of the living space and is separated from the master stateroom by two structural bulkheads, individually insulated, and the fiberglass fuel tank, which is bonded to the bulkheads and the hull.
- The Coastal Pilot will likely appeal to buyers less consumed by the need for speed and more concerned with speed as needed.
One advantage to cruising the West Coast is that the weather is amenable to being outside — maybe a little less in the Pacific Northwest, but when the weather is nice up there, it is glorious. So it’s natural a yacht built by a West Coast company would have outdoor space that people will want to use.
Starting at the top, the flybridge is an open but Bimini-covered social space. The doublewide helm seat shares a backrest with an identical seat that faces aft, which shares a table with three portable wooden chairs. The helm includes two multifunction displays, engine displays, thruster controls, a VHF and more. To either side of the helm seat is a three- or four-person bench settee. Depending on the coziness factor, up to 15 people could find a seat on the flybridge, where the views are spectacular all around. Aft of all the seating is a davit and room for a dinghy.
The lower aft deck is fully covered by the flybridge deck and includes a wooden table that can accommodate two people, four people or fold down for storage. The entire space can be enclosed in Isinglass, to extend the cruising season or start it early, and plexiglass doors swing closed to block off the sidedecks and any wind whipping along them. Vents can be installed to direct warm or cool air to the aft deck, for climate-controlled meals and gatherings. Stairs to starboard lead down to the cockpit — a strong fishing spot — and swim platform.
Optionally, an owner can eschew the cockpit, extend the aft deck to the swim platform, and extend the salon about four feet into the aft deck, turning the Coastal Pilot into a motoryacht.
One thing Nordhavn designers did once it was decided the 59 would be a coastal cruiser was change their thinking from a pilothouse layout to more of an in-cabin helm. The reasoning was that since overnight, offshore passages were probably going to be the exception with this yacht instead of the rule, a separate space for the watch-stander wasn’t vital. That doesn’t mean they skimped on the helm station, though. Two large Furuno MFDs anchor a console that includes thruster and tab controls, an Icom VHF and, of course, the engine throttles. A variety of other gauges and displays are overhead.
A side door immediately aft of the doublewide helm seat allows for easy and quick access to the sidedeck. To port of the helm is an L-shaped settee with room for four people, and aft of the helm is a dinette settee. A flat-screen TV is mounted to the divider between the galley and the port settee; it swings out and around, so everyone can see it.
For meals during daylong passages, cruises through the harbor or happy hour gatherings, the galley, directly across from the dinette, is fully equipped. A Bosch refrigerator anchors the aft bulkhead and acts as a sentinel to the U-shaped galley itself, where GE appliances — dishwasher, microwave, stove, oven — dominate. Cabinets overhead and under the counters hold everything a chef might need.
On hull #1, the master stateroom is amidships and stretches across the 17-foot beam. It is accessed via a staircase that is immediately inside the door to the aft deck, but the steps are pretty steep and not very wide — at least not for my size-15 feet. Leishman mentioned that Nordhavn customers had noticed the same thing, and that the builder has a plan moving forward to keep the owner’s area separate but move its access point to the main belowdecks access by the helm, which will add a little more space to the stateroom.
Our test boat had the three-stateroom configuration, which includes a sizeable VIP stateroom in the bow and an interesting three-berth guest stateroom forward of the owner’s space. To port is a twin berth with a single bunk above, and to starboard is a single elevated bunk. Between is a bureau and mirror. This room can be eliminated completely in the two-stateroom layout, increasing the size of the owner’s head significantly and adding a seating area to the stateroom.
Whether a two- or three-stateroom layout, the yacht includes two heads. Both include a sink and a quiet Tecma toilet. The owner’s includes more storage space and a larger shower stall with a seat and shelves for toiletries.
Nordhavn took a chance by expanding its focus to include a boat such as the 59 Coastal Pilot, but this isn’t the builder’s first foray outside the full-displacement arena. It built a smaller 35-foot version of the Coastal Pilot previously, and it is the builder of the Toro, a 60-foot flybridge fishing yacht with a 30 knot top speed, so speed isn’t totally foreign to Jim and Jeff Leishman, Dan Streech and crew. They’re just more moderate in its application. The Coastal Pilot will likely appeal to buyers less consumed by the need for speed and more concerned with speed as needed.