Nordhaven 56

by George Day

Blue Water Sailing
April 2008


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A true "hybrid" Yacht!
The new 56-foot motorsailer from Nordhavn brings to the cruising world a boat that is an evolutionary cruiser with roots that go back more than 30 years. Built by Pacific Asian Enterprises and designed by one of PAE’s partners, Jeff Leishman, the new design embodies all that the company has stood for since it was founded in 1974—a proper ocean going yacht that is built to the highest levels of quality and durability.

But the 56MS is the first sailboat PAE has built in almost 12 years. Founded by Jim Leishman (Jeff’s older brother) and Dan Streech, PAE created and built the Mason line of sailboats from 1977 through 1995 and saw their classic creations cross all of the planet’s oceans and cruise around the world. The Masons, design by Al Mason, were modern classics and are known as great blue water boats. There is no doubt the new 56MS will carry some of the DNA from those Mason designs, particularly because the new boat is being built by Taiwanese builder Ta Shing who built all of the Masons.

In the late 1980s Jeff, Dan and Jim launched into the displacement powerboat or trawler market with their first offshore powerboat, the Nordhavn 46. PAE was slightly ahead of their time with modern, fiberglass trawlers yet they persevered and by the early 1990s the trawler trend had really started to catch on. Over the next decade, PAE introduced a string of new trawler yacht designs that were eagerly bought by cruising yachtsmen around the world. Today they build boats from 40 to 120 feet and have owners on every continent, all of whom are dyed in the wool cruising folk.

In 2002, Jim Leishman took a stock Nordhavn 40 on a 27 week around the world voyage via the Suez and Panama Canals. This 26,000 mile voyage, supported by PAE and crewed largely by PAE owners and staff, cemented the Nordhavn brand as the leader in the trawler field. It also gave the company and its staff a baseline of knowledge about ocean crossing and world cruising that continues to make every boat and every detail better and more relevant to cruising owners. There is little doubt that the DNA in the Nordhavn line of trawlers will be in the new 56 Motorsailer.

In the end, the new boat is a hybrid vehicle that is right for our times. When there is no wind, it will be more efficient and reliable than a pure sailing boat. When there is wind, it will be more efficient and reliable than a motor-only trawler. And, it certainly will help its owners reduce their carbon footprint as
they cruise the world.

56MS design & construction

Pacific Asian Enterprises and Ta Shing yacht builders in Taiwan have been in business together for 30 years and have a business relationship based on the two companys’ shared dedication to quality. When C.M. Juan founded Ta Shing, Taiwan was known for “leaky teaky” cruising boats. Juan set out to change that so he dedicated his new company to the best business practices and to the highest levels of materials, fittings and craftsmanship. When the young partners at PAE came to him to build the Mason 43, they too insisted on building their new boats at the highest level of quality.

Today, as technology has evolved, Ta Shing remains one of the leading production builder of quality yachts in the world. The new Nordhavn 56MS, which will be launched in the summer of 2008, benefits from the long association between the two companies and their shared vision.

The hull is laid up in a female mold and is a solid laminate with three layers of vinylester resin in the outside laminates to prevent water from seeping into the lay up. Inside the hull massive stringers running fore and aft and a robust floor grid make the hull stiff and strong and provide anchor points for the
engine bed and the internal structural bulkheads.

The 56MS will have 17,500 pounds of internal ballast encapsulated into the keel, which provides a high degree of stability and will act to dampen roll when exposed to beam seas. The hull’s overall displacement is a substantial 70,000 pounds.

Under the water the 56MS has a shallow full-length keel that will provide directional stability and will protect the hull during a grounding. The rudder is attached to the end of the keel where it is protected from flotsam.

On deck, the after deck is accessible from a dock via the side doors or via the swim platform. The pilothouse is the full beam of the boat so you pass through the house to get to the side decks that lead forward to the foredeck
and bow for anchoring or handling docking lines. Low bulwarks run around the foredeck enhancing your sense of security. An outdoor cockpit is built into the coach roof forward of the pilothouse where you have a standalone steering station and room for thecrew to relax. This will be a good command center when the boat is being moored by a couple on their own.

The pilothouse is fitted with heavy-duty, weather tight aluminum doors built by Pacific Coast Marine. To keep the superstructure light but strong, Ta Shing uses high tech cored structures in the vertical surfaces and balsa wood coring in the horizontal surfaces.

The top deck above the pilot house anchors the mainsheet and has room for both the radar and instrument tower aft and a place to stow a 10-foot RIB while underway. The main boom can be used as a crane to retrieve and launch the dinghy.

The rig created for the 56MS is designed to create the perfect balence between performance under sail and motorsailing long distances. The jib deploys from a roller furling unit and is sized at 100 percent (larger headsails are optional), which will make it easy to tack. The mainsail has been fitted with a Leisure Furl in-boom roller furling unit built by Forespar. More than
3,000 Leisure Furls have been installed, and over the years the units have proven to be the most reliable on the market.

The engineering that goes into all Nordhavns is sophisticated and based upon long experience and sea time. The primary engine for the 56MS is the Lugger L1066, which delivers 165 horsepower at 2,400 rpm. A quiet, long stroke diesel, the L1066 has proven to be economical to run and excellent for long haul cruising. The engine room itself is large enough to stand in with enough space for all of the ancillary equipment modern cruisers like to bring aboard.

The Lugger will drive a 36-inch, four-bladed Hundested controllable pitch propeller that can be adjusted from the pilothouse to give you just the right prop pitch for the sea conditions and the running speeds.

Ta Shing is well known for their fine fiberglass work and for the integrity of their laminate structure. The new 56MS will be robustly built yet will have a fine yacht finish throughout the hull, deck and superstructure.

The cruising life
The pilothouse will be the main social center of the 56. This is where you will spend most of your time underway, where you will enjoy meals and where you will while away evenings at anchor. The dinette to starboard will seat five or six while the twin easy chairs will be great spots for lounging and reading.

The helm and nav station offer a good, 360-degree view and plenty of room for mounting electronics, radios and spreading out charts. You also will be able to look up from the helm via an overhead hatch to maintain mainsail trim.

Going forward down five steps you turn right to enter the well lit galley and lower breakfast table. The galley is huge and will be admired by gourmet chefs. There is ample counter space, large sinks, a three-burner stove and a large refrigeration unit.

The aft cabin, down three more steps, has a walk-around, centerline double berth, a private head with a separate shower and plenty of storage space for all of your gear. Natural light comes in through ports in the hull.

The passageway going forward leads by the engine room and by large storage compartments. The forward cabin has a queen-size berth amidships that you can walk around. There are two hanging lockers and ample drawer and locker space for living aboard. The forward head is smaller than the aft head but will work well.

The overall feel of the new 56MS will be of living aboard a small seagoing ship with convenient spaces, plenty of hand holds, great views from the pilothouse and a comfortable cabin for nights at the dock or on the anchor. The interior will be finished in varnished teak and other hardwoods to a high standard of craftsmanship and finish.

Pacific Asian Enterprises has built hundreds and hundreds of new cruising boats over the last 30 years and earned and built upon a reputation for delivering high quality boats built to meet the rigors of the seven seas.

The new Nordhavn 56MS joins this fleet of boats and will be an excellent blue water cruiser and passagemaker. The sailing rig will help to improve the boat’s motion at sea and will help to reduce fuel usage. And you can be doing your part for the planet while out there exploring all the amazing places a cruising boat can take you.

LOA 57’5”
LWL 52’6”
Beam 16’7”
Draft 6’0”
Displacement 70,410 lbs.
Sail Area 1,217 sq. ft.
Water 250 gals.
Fuel 750 gals
Range under power 3,000 miles
Nordhavn Yachts
Dana Point, Calif.
Phone: (949) 496-4848


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