A Voyage Awaits
The Nordhavn 63 was built to go far offshore and get her crew safe to the next port of call.
The Nordhavn 63 is an excellent long-distance voyager, complete with everything you need to brave the oceans of the world. At a glance, she bears more than a passing resemblance to North Sea fishing trawlers, with her superstructure set well aft and the high bows clearly intended to shoulder aside big seas. Round bottomed, full keeled, and without the bulbous bow found on the N62, there is none of the “slap-and-bang” found on a chined vessel in a seaway. The motion is comfortably predictable and gentle, though stabilizers are needed both under way and at rest (via a set of Beebe-esque flopperstoppers at anchor).
Just aft of the pilothouse is a captain’s cabin, which in the absence of a full-time crew, is perfect for short-handed cruisers so the off-watch can catch 40 winks but remain handy to the bridge. The head for the cabin has a separate door, so it serves as a convenient dayhead for the pilothouse.
Entry to the saloon from the cockpit is through a watertight Dutch door, and the saloon is arranged for casual entertaining, with an L-shaped settee to port facing a banquette with cocktail table. As an inveterate reader, I liked that every spare space has been turned into bookshelves complete with sea rails.
The galley is open to the saloon behind a granite counter with double sink and under-counter dishwasher. I’d prefer more backsplash, but hey, I’m messy. The forward bulkhead is devoted to refrigerator/freezer doors and drawers, and the galley extends across the passageway to include drawers opposite and a walk-in pantry forward.
The master suite, just two steps below saloon level, is clearly for liveaboard comfort, with an athwartship queen berth, built-in bureaus and hanging lockers, and more of the ever-present bookshelves. The joinery throughout is impeccable, and the raised-panel style gives a classic yacht look to doors and other cabinetry. The en suite head is just aft of the master, with a full stand-up shower.
Under way, the Nordhavn 63 is nothing if not delightful. Though her keel gives her superb tracking at all sea angles, she is a surprisingly nimble 64-tonner when you spin the Hynautic Hydraulic-actuated steering wheel (about seven turns lock to lock). Our sea trial never proposed any challenging conditions, as evidenced by the stabilizers barely flippering away, but with nearly five tons of ballast, she feels sidewalk-solid. With experience in lumpy seas on her smaller sisterships, I feel comfortable saying she is very seakindly.
But if it’s a fast yacht you want, look elsewhere. During our sea trial, we checked our speeds in three directions: upwind, downwind, and crosswind. And each time, we came up with 9.8 knots at 1803 rpm. I don’t really think she would exceed 9.8 knots in free fall, but if you plan to sail into harm’s way, know that you can do 9.8 knots and that’s probably it.
When you back off the throttle a bit, you quickly enter the passagemaking mode, with just shy of 8 knots giving you a 3,000 nm range. That speed also puts less than a 50-percent load on the Lugger, so it should last somewhere around forever or a little longer.