||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (November 2011)|
|Founded||1978 by Dan Streech, Jim Leishman, Joe Meglan|
|Headquarters||Dana Point, California|
|Key people||Dan Streech
|Products||Recreational trawlers in the 40 to 120 foot range|
Nordhavn is a trade name of a line of ocean-going recreational trawler style yacht designed and produced by Pacific Asian Enterprises, Inc. of Dana Point, California. The yachts, ranging from 40 to 120 feet (37 m) in length, are renowned for their structural strength and ability to cross oceans. They all have a raised forward pilothouse which is separate from the main salon and galley, or an aft deckhouse with the pilothouse raised on a second level above the salon. They also generally have full headroom in the engine room, and a single main engine with a "wing" 'get home' engine with separate prop shaft and a folding propeller. Some models optionally have twin engines.
One 40-foot (12 m) 'stock' Nordhavn made history as the smallest production power yacht to circumnavigate the world, from November 3, 2001 - June 30, 2002. It covered more than 24,000 miles (39,000 km) over some 170 days at sea, starting and ending its circumnavigation at Dana Point, California.
Nordhavn is a brand of yacht from Pacific Asian Enterprises, Inc. (PAE), based in Dana Point, California, USA. The company designs, builds and markets offshore passagemaking trawler yachts ranging from 40 to 120 feet (12 to 37 m) in length. These powerboats travel at slow speeds - typically 7 to 10 knots (13 to 19 km/h) - but can cover thousands of miles on a single load of diesel fuel, and many have made long ocean passages. Most Nordhavn boats use a "dry stack" for exhaust (approximately vertical pipe from the engine) and a "keel cooler" (pipes under the hull) to take away excess engine heat. Most other yachts use a "wet exhaust," which draws in seawater to cool engine coolant in a heat exchanger. The "dry stack," which is used by most commercial boats, was chosen as it can be less troublesome.
The yachts are constructed under the supervision of PAE project managers by boatbulding companies in Taiwan (Ta Shing) and China (South Coast) with whom PAE has a long history. Most Nordhavns are sold and commissioned in the United States, but the company has a sales office and service facility in England, has a sales office in Australia, and Nordhavns are routinely delivered and commissioned in Europe, Asia, Australia and elsewhere.
Pacific Asian Enterprises, a California corporation, was incorporated in 1978. Dan Streech and Jim Leishman, the president and vice president respectively, were two of the company's three founding partners; Joe Meglen, the third founding partner, left the company in 2004. Originally, Pacific Asian Enterprises contracted to have yachts, including CT-41 and TransPac 49 sailing yachts, built in Taiwan and imported them into the USA. In its early years, the company's most successful product was its line of sailing yachts designed by naval architect Al Mason, starting with the Mason 43. In 1978, Jim Leishman's brother Jeff, still in high school, began working part time for the company. Jeff went on to obtain a degree in naval architecture and become PAE's chief designer. Like his brother Jim and Dan Streech, he now holds an ownership stake in the company.
With the sailing yacht market in serious decline, in 1988 PAE built its first trawler yacht--the Nordhavn 46 conceived by Jim Leishman and designed by his brother Jeff. The new Nordhavn oceangoing powerboat concept turned out to be a seminal event for the company. Though no longer in production, the popular 46 played a pivotal role in creating a new market for passagemaking yachts capable of going anywhere in the world and was a cornerstone in establishing the Nordhavn brand as one of the world's pre-eminent ocean-cruising motor yachts. As of the end of 2009, more than 500 Nordhavns had been built. (In late 2009, Nordhavn 46 hull number one, was cruising in the Mediterranean with its new owners, Patrick and Chris Mouligne onboard.)
For several years in the 1990s PAE's standard offerings were its Nordhavn 46, 50, 57 and 62, yachts which proved immensely popular. However, in 1999 the company built the first in a new series of Jeff Leishman-designed yachts identifiable by their sturdy, boxy, almost commercial look: the Nordhan 40, 43, 47, and 55. These yachts are high on the water and carry their beam far forward, reducing efficiency and trading good looks for greater interior capacity, meaning more room for fuel and for the stuff that really sells boats: lush, comfortable interiors. Nordhavn has gained a reputation for rock-solid systems integrity—systems that are well engineered and keep on working.
PAE made one foray away from its oceangoing trawler heritage beginning in 2000: the Nordhavn 35, billed as a fast coastal cruiser. Problem was, the early 35s—designed as 15-knot yachts—were so heavy they couldn't meet the company's speed goals. Later hulls in the series include a tunnel over the propeller, and a determined "lightening" program made later Nordhavn 35s faster than the originals, but the 35 never truly gained market traction and the company discontinued the model after 23 were built. Current Nordhavn 35 owners, however, reportedly love the boats, and the yachts command a premium price on the brokerage market.
According to company president Dan Streech, quoted in the company-published magazine Circumnavigator in October 2009, ". . .we have a great brand in Nordhavn, and as a company we work hard to make every Nordhavn yacht better than those that came before it. The company is right-sized: small enough to be quick, nimble and smart, yet large enough to bring many economies of scale to bear in the process of designing, building and delivering our yachts. While many boatbuilding companies are corporately owned and carry a lot of debt, a combination that can create a stranglehold, we’re fundamentally a debt-free company. PAE is a corporation, but it’s wholly owned by three career boatbuilders: Jim, Jeff and myself. We don’t answer to corporate boards, bean counters, banks, or other masters—we make our own decisions. Building boats is our life’s work, what we love to do. It’s what we’ve chosen to do with our lives for the past 30 years, and it’s the only business interest any of us have. Period. Our experience doing this has allowed us to develop a certain kind of wisdom and a skill set that helps us avoid the common pitfalls of the boat business. We have a very close, longstanding and mutually beneficial partnership with our two Chinese factories, and they build nothing but Nordhavns. In short, we believe we’ve seen it all, and we’ve learned a lot. It’s why we’ve managed to remain successful, both in good economic times and bad."
Around the World and Nordhavn Atlantic Rally
To show the world that even its smallest oceangoing Nordhavn was capable of circumnavigating the globe, PAE VP Jim Leishman conceived an around-the-world trip, a west-about circumnavigation in a "stock" Nordhavn 40. With a rotating crew of PAE officers and employees and yachting journalists, the yacht, named NORDHAVN, covered more than 24,000 miles (39,000 km) over some 170 days at sea, from November 3, 2001 - June 30, 2002, starting and ending its circumnavigation at Dana Point, California. It set a record for what is believed to be the fastest motor yacht circumnavigation ever.
Buoyed by the success of the around the world trip, in 2003 Jim Leishman had another idea. In 2004, the company took a considerable risk by sponsoring a highly publicized trans-Atlantic event for owners, the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally. Under the rally banner, 18 yachts (and about 100 people) covered just over 4,000 miles (6,400 km) from Florida to Gibraltar, with stops in Bermuda and the Azores. Fifteen of the yachts were Nordhavns, and all except the company's Atlantic Escort were privately owned and operated. This marked the first fleet-based Atlantic crossing by a group of motor yachts, and its success further boosted the company's stature. A similar but smaller non-commercial and all-volunteer rally, Med Bound 2007, was conducted in summer 2007, with eight Nordhavns going to Bermuda and five returning to the USA, while three of the yachts, by plan, continued on to the Azores and Gibraltar.
Moving to Larger Yachts
Larger Nordhavn yachts have begun coming off Jeff Leishman's drawing board: Nordhavn 64, 68, 72, 76, 86, and then a Nordhavn 120. By 2008, the new and larger Nordhavns were responsible for an increasing share of the company's revenues. A new 75-foot (23 m) Nordhavn Expedition Yacht Fisher (EYF), essentially an extended range sportfishing yacht, is capable of taking anglers to the world's most remote fishing spots. It is styled as a sportsfisher, rather than as the traditional Nordhavn trawler, giving Norhavn now three distinct styles; trawler, motorsailer, and sportsfisher. In early 2012 the PAE announced plans for a 52-foot "coastal pilot" aimed at a different market: coastal cruisers. According to the company's announcement, "Designed as an elegant, highly capable coastal cruiser, the new 52 will offer semi-displacement cruising speed and efficiency along with the safety and capability sought after by the serious cruiser. With a cruising speed between eight and fifteen knots and a range in excess of 1,000 nautical miles, aside from major ocean crossings, this rugged new Nordhavn can fulfill the most ambitious of cruising dreams."
Nordhavn is also producing a Passagesailer. PAE says this yacht combines the best characteristics of a passagemaking trawler yacht and a motorsailer: a yacht that will perform well in either role, with transoceanic range under power alone and modest sailing performance in offshore conditions. Originally designed at 50 feet (15 m), it has been produced as a 56-footer, a displacement of over 70,000 lbs, and a 750 gallon fuel capacity. Powered by the proven Lugger 1066 T diesel engine, the boat has a top speed of over 10 knots. A 36-inch four-bladed controllable pitch Hundested propeller is used for flexibility of operation. When conditions dictate, the propeller can be fully feathered to enhance sailing performance. Under sail power alone it can cruise at up to 8 knots. Alternatively, the engine can be run at very low rpm and high propeller pitch, combined with the drive and stabilizing force of the sails, to provide comfort, economy and capability. A larger model motorsailer is also in the plans.
Impact of the 2008-9 Recession
In an interview in Circumnavigator magazine, published for PAE in October 2009, company president Dan Streech, said "We’ve seen our once proud order book shrink to less than half of what it was a year ago, partly from cancellations and defaults by buyers—but mostly because we’ve been building, shipping, and delivering the boats faster than we have been receiving orders. When you’re not selling as many new boats and not taking as many deposits, cash flow slows. We remain fundamentally debt free and intend to stay that way, but less cash coming in the door means doing more with less. PAE’s three owners have taken a 33.3 per cent cut in pay, and every other PAE employee has taken a 10 per cent reduction in pay. We have asked our partner factories to help us shoulder the burden, and they’re carrying their share of the load. We’re also asking our vendors—those great companies who make all the equipment on every Nordhavn—to lend a hand as well with better pricing, and they have risen to the challenge. In addition, we’re tightening our belts and cutting overhead where it hurts the least. Everyone recognizes that these are extraordinary times, and we also recognize that pulling together is what it takes." He went on to say, "The good news is that PAE has proven to be healthier and more resilient than any company we know of in the boat business. We know of no other boat building company we’d like to trade places with."
Streech continued in his interview: "Nobody likes to see a downturn of this magnitude, but while other builders have been pulling back, closing factories, or failing, we have been busy designing, developing, building and introducing new models. We’ve used the time to upgrade our work force and talent by hiring the best and the brightest from other companies. In other words, we’ve taken advantage of the downturn to strengthen our company’s human resources and our Nordhavn brand. Another plus is that the strong survive and the weakest of the boatbuilding companies tend to go away in conditions like those we’ve experienced since the end of 2008, leaving more market share for PAE."