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Old 03-15-2019, 04:37 PM   #1
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Nordhavn 46

Hi, new user here.

I am toying with the idea of spending part of my retirement cruising various parts of the world. I have considered both power and sail, and am leaning (at least at this point in time) towards power - specifically the full displacement "trawler" format.

In my research, I have "discovered" the Nordhavn 46, and it seems to fit the bill for a long range, passage-making vessel, in terms of seaworthiness, range etc.

This model features a dry exhaust, with engine cooling via a keel-mounted heat-exchanger (not sure if using the correct words to describe such an arrangement).

Any thoughts, ideas, info or tips on that manufacturer, model, exhaust/cooling setup would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-15-2019, 05:25 PM   #2
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That is a pretty broad question. The N46 is a capable boat for extended offshore cruising. Now maybe more specifics...like what are you really going to do with the boat? What kind of experience do you have? But other than that, a great boat capable of doing what you want. Almost all of the Nordhavn line fits that bill.
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Old 03-15-2019, 05:43 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Open-d View Post
Hi, new user here.

I am toying with the idea of spending part of my retirement cruising various parts of the world. I have considered both power and sail, and am leaning (at least at this point in time) towards power - specifically the full displacement "trawler" format.

In my research, I have "discovered" the Nordhavn 46, and it seems to fit the bill for a long range, passage-making vessel, in terms of seaworthiness, range etc.

This model features a dry exhaust, with engine cooling via a keel-mounted heat-exchanger (not sure if using the correct words to describe such an arrangement).

Any thoughts, ideas, info or tips on that manufacturer, model, exhaust/cooling setup would be greatly appreciated.
I had a 1986 (?) N46. Dropped in the boat yard, drove port stabilizer into the owner's stateroom, determined to be a construct loss. Was bought, repaired and the guy, used it in the NE, for another 2-3 years before putting it back on the market. I upgraded the bow thruster to make it usable in the wind while docking. I had totally reworked the forward stateroom and made my "then" wife happy. You know the drill, large cedar lined fully hanging closet, more drawer on the starboard side. Raised the port berth up about 5 inches allowing me to store more boat related stuff. Starboard side of fwd stateroom, as I remember I totally raised that berth to permit 6 good size drawers for the wife and a hanging file for all the documentation etc. Of course that meant one needed a ladder to get up to the berth. LOL
That brief history said, the 46 design and construction, tough as nails. I know my hull # was in the first 10. I was happy with all the upgrades that I did. The naturally aspirate Lugger was totally reliable.
Rode more than a few nights outside while bringing it down from Long Island. A fair amount of heavy water hitting the forward pilot house window. It is the right size boat for long distance cruising..... for either for one or two couples. Every time I went to the yard for bottom painting, I had the keel cooler removed sent to a radiator shop for boiling out and then replaced the gasket between the keel cooler and the rest of the cooling system. This may have been unnecessary but.... just something I elected to have done.
I wonder why the Nordhavn folks decided to drop that line.
Understand, the 46 and larger are built as semi custom so the best you can hope for is general guidance from the builder. I cannot tell you how many unused wires and wire ties myself and other workers removed while upgrading the various electrical systems. Each night, a fair size bag went to the trash.
I had a teak swim platform designed and installed so I guess by today's standards it could considered a 49 ft Nordhavn.

Conclusion, if I were younger and I found a well maintained N46, I would happily buy it and start all over. The boat will survive heavier weather than you and I can survive.

Dont let the fuel tank and distribution manifold valving over power you. Sit down, trace out the system, drawing it out on paper. I had a fuel polishing and transfer system installed so that added extra valves.
The fresh water manifold, a piece of cake to learn. I added a 12 volt 150 gpd water maker to keep the tanks topped off.

If you buy it, you will enjoy it once you add stuff to make the boat yours. Keep us informed. There maybe a Nordhavn users group. Hunt around the internet for it.
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Old 03-15-2019, 05:44 PM   #4
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That is a pretty broad question. The N46 is a capable boat for extended offshore cruising. Now maybe more specifics...like what are you really going to do with the boat? What kind of experience do you have? But other than that, a great boat capable of doing what you want. Almost all of the Nordhavn line fits that bill.
Offshore cruising in either Pacific or Atlantic, or, possibly the Med. Perhaps to Tahiti and surrounds. No specific destination that must be visited, just a desire to do some cruising with my spouse

Any thoughts on Luggers?

Also, I've noticed that many examples have teo hinged "booms", like huge outriggers, that seem to be more suited to a fishing boat. I don't want to sound stupid, but other than at-anchor stabilization, I have no idea what they would be for.
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Old 03-15-2019, 05:50 PM   #5
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"booms", like huge outriggers, that seem to be more suited to a fishing boat. I don't want to sound stupid, but other than at-anchor stabilization, I have no idea what they would be for.
Paravanes.

They serve the same function when underway, stabilization w/o through-hull machinery. There are some designs that are strictly for use at-anchor ("Flopper-stoppers," though the names get interchanged commonly).

You can tell the difference between the two by examining the robustness of the mount and gear, as well as the shape of the plates underwater. The paravanes will have hydrodynamically designed "fish" that are clearly meant to move, the flopper-stoppers simple hinged plates or drogues deployed vertically that aren't shaped to be towed or move efficiently..
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Old 03-15-2019, 05:59 PM   #6
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Re the Nordhavn 46ft trawler.

Open-d get a cup of coffee, sit down and get comfortable.

I had a 1986 (?) N46. The boat was dropped in the boat yard, drove port hydraulic stabilizer into the owner's stateroom. The boat was determined to be a "constructive loss." Was bought, repaired and the guy, used it in the NE, for another 2-3 years before putting it back on the market. I upgraded the bow thruster to make it usable in the wind while docking. I had totally reworked the forward stateroom and made my "then" wife happy. You know the drill, large cedar lined fully hanging closet, more drawer on the starboard side. Raised the port berth up about 5 inches allowing me to store more boat related stuff. Starboard side of fwd stateroom, as I remember I totally raised that berth to permit 4 good size drawers for the wife and a hanging file for all the equipment documentation etc. Of course that meant one needed a ladder to get up to the berth. LOL Not MY problem.

That brief history said, the 46 design and construction, tough as nails. I know my hull # was in the first 10. I was happy with all the upgrades that I made.

The naturally aspirate Lugger was totally reliable and needed little attention.

Rode more than a few nights outside while bringing it down from Long Island to Miami. A fair amount of heavy water hitting the forward pilot house window, at night. It is the right size boat for long distance cruising..... for either for one or two couples.

Every time I went to the yard for bottom painting, I had the keel cooler removed sent to a radiator shop for boiling out and then replaced the gasket between the keel cooler and the rest of the cooling system. This may have been unnecessary but.... just something I elected to have done.

I wonder why the Nordhavn folks decided to drop that line.
Understand, the 46 and larger are built as semi custom so the best you can hope for is general guidance from the builder. I cannot tell you how many unused wires and wire ties myself and other workers removed while upgrading the various electrical systems. Each night, a fair size bag went to the trash.

I had a teak swim platform designed and installed so I guess by today's standards it could considered a 49 ft Nordhavn.

Conclusion, if I were younger and I found a well maintained N46, I would happily buy it and start all over. The boat will survive heavier weather than you and I can survive.

Dont let the fuel tank and distribution manifold valving over power you. Sit down, trace out the system, drawing it out on paper. I had a fuel polishing and transfer system installed so that added extra valves.
The fresh water manifold, a piece of cake to learn. I added a 12 volt 150 gpd water maker to keep the tanks topped off.

If you buy it, you will enjoy it once you add stuff to make the boat yours. Keep us informed. There maybe a Nordhavn users group. Hunt around the internet for the user's group.

I will confess, I downsize to 34/36 American Tug. It is not considered a long distance, blue water boat. Now, you want to talk about that boat, I will be happy to discuss that with you too. My first recommendation is buy the 41 ft AT with two staterooms.
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Open-d View Post
Hi, new user here.

I am toying with the idea of spending part of my retirement cruising various parts of the world. I have considered both power and sail, and am leaning (at least at this point in time) towards power - specifically the full displacement "trawler" format.

In my research, I have "discovered" the Nordhavn 46, and it seems to fit the bill for a long range, passage-making vessel, in terms of seaworthiness, range etc.

This model features a dry exhaust, with engine cooling via a keel-mounted heat-exchanger (not sure if using the correct words to describe such an arrangement).

Any thoughts, ideas, info or tips on that manufacturer, model, exhaust/cooling setup would be greatly appreciated.



Rest assured that boat can take more than you unless you're a well seasoned commercial sailor. The specs on that boat will vary somewhat with years. It would be best to pop the hood on one and get some detailed info or specs. Overall, I don't think you can go wrong with a well cared for N46 that surveys well.
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:16 PM   #8
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Paravanes.

They serve the same function when underway, stabilization w/o through-hull machinery. There are some designs that are strictly for use at-anchor ("Flopper-stoppers," though the names get interchanged commonly).

You can tell the difference between the two by examining the robustness of the mount and gear, as well as the shape of the plates underwater. The paravanes will have hydrodynamically designed "fish" that are clearly meant to move, the flopper-stoppers simple hinged plates or drogues deployed vertically that aren't shaped to be towed or move efficiently..
The terminal gear is a large galvanized "paper airplane" on the end of a chain. To be honest, I really would like to dump that stuff. I've never seen it on other trawlers. except those out for shrimp. Fishing off the stern would be impaired.
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:27 PM   #9
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Get yourself a copy of "Voyaging Under Power", and be sure to get the 4th edition. It's less preachy, and more up to date. It will give you a really good baseline of info to work from. I'm not meaning to discourage you from asking questions, but rather think it will help jump start you faster.


The 46 is a great boat and had probably done more world cruising than any other boat it's size. And the Lugger is one of the best engines you could have.
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:29 PM   #10
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Also check out the Fleming 55 which may have a better long distance cruise range:



Also check out the Fleming series of cruises, this link only gives you one of many Fleming cruises:

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Old 03-15-2019, 06:39 PM   #11
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Norderhavn 46

Nordhavn 46ís have 3,000 NM range. Fleming 55 have 2,000 NM range at a much higher burn rate.
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:52 PM   #12
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I would strongly recommend if you are going to do long distance traveling, hydraulic stabilizers are necessary
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:09 PM   #13
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The terminal gear is a large galvanized "paper airplane" on the end of a chain. To be honest, I really would like to dump that stuff. I've never seen it on other trawlers. except those out for shrimp. Fishing off the stern would be impaired.
Which will seem like a good idea until you leave the dock and your wife turns green as the vessel rolls through 60 degrees in a beam sea. Then, stabilization will seem like a splendid idea.

95% of the trawlers you see that are designed to go where you say you want to go will have stabilization, either passive, like you describe, or active like you will see on vessels longer than 50 feet or so. The recommendation to read Beebee's book is very good advice.
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Open-d View Post
Hi, new user here.

I am toying with the idea of spending part of my retirement cruising various parts of the world. I have considered both power and sail, and am leaning (at least at this point in time) towards power - specifically the full displacement "trawler" format.

In my research, I have "discovered" the Nordhavn 46, and it seems to fit the bill for a long range, passage-making vessel, in terms of seaworthiness, range etc.

This model features a dry exhaust, with engine cooling via a keel-mounted heat-exchanger (not sure if using the correct words to describe such an arrangement).

Any thoughts, ideas, info or tips on that manufacturer, model, exhaust/cooling setup would be greatly appreciated.
That's the way I would go if I needed a blue water trawler. I really like the 46 even more so than the 43. The Nordhavn 46 is one of the original passage makers. For the money I think it's the best thing available for a trawler.

Happy Trails!
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:30 PM   #15
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95% of the trawlers you see that are designed to go where you say you want to go will have stabilization, either passive, like you describe, or active like you will see on vessels longer than 50 feet or so. The recommendation to read Beebee's book is very good advice.

And think about stabilization while at anchor... learned that lesson the hard way.


20+ years ago I went to a used book "detective" over in Newport Beach area and hunted down an original copy of Beebe's book. I like it better than all the new and upgraded editions which seem like Passagemaker advertising.
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Old 03-16-2019, 01:47 AM   #16
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The 46 is a great boat.. it is a bit slow but its bulletproof. I have a lot of blue water miles on one and I would take it anywhere.. and it will go there. Most all have had a lot of owner upgrades.. no two are really alike and this includes mods to the fuel system, electrical,plumbing and anchor handling. If you find one you like find a really good surveyor.. it will be money well spent.

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Old 03-16-2019, 07:24 AM   #17
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I think we all agree the N46 is a fantastic boat.
Nordhavn briefly built a 47ft boat. Not sure of the difference other than 1 ft in length.
IMO, it is sort of sad that Nordhavn elected to stop production on the 46. I can only guess they made more money on the larger boats. SHRUG

I bought mine in Long Island, took it outside and ran it WOT as much as possible when outside. If the temp got high, pulled back the throttle until the temp returned to a bit below normal.
The natural aspirated Lugger may be a bit slow but, it will run forever with normal maintenance.

I did have the transmission rebuilt once when the oil went out of specs.
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Old 03-16-2019, 08:19 AM   #18
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Nordhavn briefly built a 47ft boat. Not sure of the difference other than 1 ft in length.

The 47 was in production for a good 10 years, and is one of the highest volume models build with around 60-70 of them sailing around. It's stretched variation, the 52, is still in production and as a family, the 47/52 out number the 46's built. The 55/60 now also outnumbers the 46.


Roughly speaking, there are three generations of designs from Nordhavn. The 46 and 62 are the original design. Then came the 50 and 57, with lines more like a power boat than a sail boat. Then came the 55, 47, 43, and 40 all with similar hull designs and a more modern interior. And I think around the same time the 64, 68 and 76. Maybe those should be considered a 4th gen, but who knows since we are "roughly" speaking.
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Old 03-16-2019, 08:29 AM   #19
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The only flaw I found was a 90degree fitting in the line from the toilet to the holding tank. In my case, the line was under the shower drain pan. I replaced it with a 45 and the problem totally disappeared.
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Old 03-16-2019, 08:38 AM   #20
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Interesting reading here. Not one post that speaks badly about the N46 and I completely agree! Why, then does not one of the posted previous owners still have an N46? I was on one many years ago in the sea of Cortez and found it to be as previously described. Capable, bullet proof, etc. I also found the interior to be cramped and the cockpit too small for enjoying fishing and just hanging out in the sea air. Nope, If I were to seriously consider crossing an ocean, it would be in something larger where the cabin fever isn't so severe.
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