When the creative geniuses behind Nordhavn – that would be Vice President Jim Leishman and his brother, Chief of Design, Jeff Leishman – come up with a new design, they are not content to watch it run through production, hand it over to its subsequent new owners, and move on to the next project. They need to experience it for themselves, see how it performs, and identify ways to improve it. If there’s one thing about Nordhavn designs it’s that they are constantly evolving to ensure the build quality, equipment, comfort levels and performance not only exceed current measures but set the tone for future standards.
Usually, the chance to gain experience on new hulls comes in the form of long ocean deliveries for owners. Jim recently helped take a Nordhavn 68 from Anacortes to Ketchikan, Alaska. Two years ago, Jim, Jeff, and project manager Dave Harlow brought a brand new N475 from Seattle down to Dana Point, CA. But sometimes when a new model is introduced, a hull in the production line will be designated as a company demonstrator, to be used for boat shows, seatrials and the like. It is with this demonstrator that Jim, Jeff, along with Nordhavn president Dan Streech and other key members of the sales and project and engineering staff, will take prolonged cruises to test how it operates under real-use conditions.
The most famous PAE (Pacific Asian Enterprises) seatrial was of the Nordhavn 40 back in 2001, when a rotating crew of Nordhavn employees took hull #21 around the globe in a world record-setting circumnavigation that stands today. (Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of that voyage’s culmination.) From that trip came not only several tweaks of the N40 but also the birth of the Nordhavn 43.
More typical, however, are the types of cruises the three PAE principles took separately with their families four years ago aboard a Nordhavn 56 Coastal Pilot. Streech recalls getting a “new-found appreciation” for the only semi-displacement trawler in the line which escorted him, his kids and grandkids around the Bahamas.
Last Tuesday marked the end of a four-week journey Jim took with wife Sue and his son, Nordhavn salesman James Leishman, along with his own son. Pulling into the docks in front of Nordhavn’s North Palm Beach offices, Jim and James spoke about how this Nordhavn 41, hull 10, exceeded their expectations. Each had spent time on different Nordhavn 41s, but never for the prolonged time this trip to the Bahamas gave them.
“It performed awesome,” said Jim, who has a fondness for the brand’s smaller, accessible models. “I love this boat even more than I thought. We experienced virtually zero problems” with only a tripping stove switch causing them bother. Jim spent considerable time at the factory in Turkey, watching as the crews worked through COVID to crank out production. Cruising all over the Bahamas with his family gave him an entirely different perspective.
They departed Palm Beach on May 20th and ran the boat approximately 600 miles going as far as the Abacos. He was especially impressed with the fuel efficiency, noting that they burned more fuel when using the generator than they did running the engines.
They swam with the pigs in Noname Cay, went pole spear fishing and free diving. “It was an absolutely spectacular boat for the four of us,” echoed James. “The craftsmanship is impressive. You can see Murat [Telgeren, president of Telgeren & Parnters factory]’s attention to detail in every corner. The layout of everything, the placement of switches – it’s all intuitive.”
Like the other PAE seatrials, there will be notes sent back to the factory about tweaks that will make the boat even better. “There will be a few things we fine tune, but nothing much,” said James.
The boat will soon head north to be taken by different members of the Nordhavn team before it arrives up in Rhode Island to the Northeast office. It will be shown at the Newport International Boat Show and then Jim and Jeff will take over again, making their way down the coast to Annapolis for the U.S. Powerboat Show. It will return to Palm Beach for a quick spruce and be prepared for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October.