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Old 02-23-2015, 03:47 PM   #21
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I don't know much of anything about the build quality NT/AT but one difference is very real. The NT is considerably narrower and more importantly has rocker in the hull amidships and aft. Both these differences should make the NT more efficient. Maybe much more.

On the other hand the AT is wider and I think taller so probably has a lot more room .. space per foot. With moorage rates as they are that is an advantage.

I've never been aboard a AT although my boat is right behind the AT plant but the interior and layout of the NT is IMO only average with the exception of the wonderful wheelhouse on the NT .... but the AT may be comparable.

But as I see it there's only one big difference ... the hull efficiency.
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Old 02-23-2015, 03:51 PM   #22
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This does sound like a brochure as someone else has said, but to put the sceptics to rest could you provide factual information to this statemement:
"second to none in stability, efficiency, and in build quality"

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Originally Posted by Gunkhole View Post
As a current owner of a Nordic Tug 39 and as a former 32 owner who is still in contact with the factory, I have to say that I think the facts are not being well represented in this thread.

In my opinion, Nordic Tugs are the top quality tug boat on the market - period. They are second to none in stability, efficiency, and in build quality. And the factory is second to none as well - I have been through both factories in question, as well as several others, and there is no comparison in the way the boats are assembled. I think it's well worth anyone's time to check out the factories to see exactly how they're made, would not make a purchase decision without doing so.

Regarding engines, Nordic Tugs has stated to me that they absolutely will install any engine that is legal and will fit. In fact, they just installed a new Cummins motor in a custom build where the customer requested that motor - I was in the factory just last week. The problem with CAT and some of the other manufacturers is that they have not yet made motors throughout the size range that are Tier III emissions compliant. I have a Cummins in my 39, had a Volvo in the 32.

While the older Nordics were very well built, the new ones are vastly improved in almost every way, and they are continuing to improve them. They are coming out with a brand new Nordic Tug 40 that is replacing the 39 - there is a lot of quality innovation occurring there, and they continue to work hard on quality issues like noise and vibration. Again, you won't know the quality differences until and unless you do a direct comparison for yourself.

Regarding financial stability, Nordic Tugs is debt free due to an industrialist owner who is both very conservative and very wealthy. They have been producing boats continually for 35 years, longer than almost all in the industry, and I would not hesitate to have them build another one for me.

While in the factory last week they mentioned that sales are gaining steam and they are back-logged through the end of the fall already (hiring workers as fast as they can get them right now). They still have a nationwide dealer network and they attend far more shows nationwide than AT - and yes, they were well represented at Trawler Fest, and because they have a dealer network their dealers are rightly the primary sponsors at the shows. Difficult for factory direct only to do it all, and you will notice the difference if you attend more than a couple shows.

Also, the Nordic Tugs owners association does have a very large annual Rendezvous (60+ boats), last year it was at Roche Harbor and this year it will be at Anacortes. Also, the dealers all have smaller rendezvous of their own, on both coasts. There is a lot more energy overall at Nordic.

I would encourage people to talk to and tour the factory(ies) to learn the facts first hand - good folks has been my experience.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:08 PM   #23
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Marlinmike - I'm not sure you are going to get facts, he does say "In my opinion . . . "

In MY opinion, our 2002 is built to a much higher standard than most of the production boats I've seen, but I can only speak to my own boat, not other models or years, let alone other companies such as AT. If anyone is interested in the thoughts and experiences of actual NT owners, I would suggest joining the NT listwerve with SENTOA (the South East NT Owners Association, which maintains the owners forum). Aside from a factory tour, that is where one would probably find the most knowledge.

I find it very hard to think that someone from NT would act as a "plant" on this forum . . . Factory reps do participate in the Owners forum and have been very helpful to owners looking for information specific to their boats.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:55 PM   #24
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At the Seattle Boat Show I was on both a new AT and new NT. Eric is correct, the AT is beamier and taller. I have also been on older models of each and cannot attest nor did I notice that older is better.

Since both have sold hundreds of vessels and are still being built, sounds like the buying public has voted. I really like the circa 2009 54 NT. My personal favorite of any of the two brands.

Speaking of Seattle Show, the nicest under 40' vessel there by far IMHO was the Sabre 36. Build quality of a Fleming and layout quite modern with IPS engines & drives tucked all the way back. Nothing else came close and 1.4 nmpg at 20 knots!
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:25 PM   #25
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I've had no experience with either Nordic Tug or American Tug other than having been on some at the docks and what a Nordic Tug buyer (newbuild buyer) in our club has said about his boat. The only tug-style boat that has ever attracted the attention of my wife and I is the 37' Victory Tug.

But regarding the pro and con quality discussion of Nordic Tugs in the last bunch of posts, I think a potential buyer needs to do their own research as Sunchaser wrote earlier. A buyer's personality, specific experiences, biases, and perceptions, while meaningful in the context of his or her own opinion of a product, very often have no bearing whatsoever on what another buyer will experience.

I think the smart way for a person looking to buy a boat from Brand XYZ is to regard each point of view or opinion or experience they read as just a single data point. Unless one knows a poster personally, there is no way to know what role he or she had in generating the good or bad experience he or she had.

A demanding buyer who was pissed that the factory didn't do exactly what they wanted will give a bad review of that brand. Another buyer who had a great experience with the same factory will report accordingly.

So my approach would be to keep all the pros and cons one reads about in mind, but do my own research and legwork to determine my own feeling about the company, the factory, and the boat.

If I think the boat and the folks building it are great, and to my eyes the quality is what I want, then that may be the boat to get.

This doesn't negate the bad experience someone else had, or someone else's perception of the product's quality, but their experience and perceptions will not automatically be my experience and perceptions.

I think GM vehicles suck. I've had bad experiences with them and I would never buy one. But my opinion of GM and their vehicles doesn't mean squat to my neighbor who will buy only GM vehicles because he has had oustanding service from them.

So who's right? We both are. He's right for him and I'm right for me.

So, if one is seriously contemplating the purchase of a tug-type boat and it's come down to Nordic Tug and American Tug, I think they should find out everything they can from both makers, tour both factories (which happens to be easy since they're both pretty much in the same place), talk to the factory managers and the guys building the boats. Talk to owners of both types.

And then do what your observations, perceptions, evaluations of quality and aesthetics, personal desire, and gut tells you to do.

I'd give a lot of weight to your gut, by the way. I've found over the course of my life so far that when I had a really big decision to make, my gut feeling was the deciding factor and it has never let me down.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:00 PM   #26
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How different are either of these from the Ranger tugs?
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:22 PM   #27
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The Ranger Tug http://www.rangertugs.com/ started as a relatively small trailerable cruiser concept. The line has grown to include models up to 31 feet long, still marketed as a trailerable boat. A friend has used some-- I believe the 25' model -- for short cruises up in the Desolation Sound area for several years now, and he is very impressed with the boats.

The Ranger Tug seems to be a fundamentally different concept than the Nordic and American Tugs in terms of their hull designs and performance but someone like Eric Henning is far more qualified to comment on these differences (or similarities) than I am.

We have peered into a new Ranger Tug 27 (I think) that was moored for a few months to the main dock we walk to get to our boat. It seems a very clever use of space, no question. My overall impression was the boat is kind of "flashy" compared to the more solid, conservative approach taken by Nordic Tug in terms of materials, components and finish. But that is just a superficial visual impression. We were quite surprised by the Ranger Tug's price, which seeme to us to be awfully high for the size of the boat.

Ranger Tug seems to be locked into Volvo engines on all their models and I did not see any reference to alternate choices on their website although I may have missed it. They are made in this area, too, so one could easily compare their build practices and quality with the other two makes.

Being something of a traditionalist as far as aesthetics go, of the three makes in question I would choose the Nordic Tug over the other two, particulalry if we could get it with a Cummins or John Deere engine.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:24 PM   #28
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I think Ranger boats are planing boats that look like a trawler but perform much more like the typical planing pleasure boat.

Very nice looking and very expensive. They look so good I'm not supprised people are buying them. There's two of them on the same float as my boat. I love the dark blue and light tan colors. As to quality I can only say their choice of anchor being the cheapest availible and not very big is probably not a good sign. However both NT and AT also are equipped w the Claw anchor.

But if you look at their performance it's hard to apply the word "trawler" to them. After all the thing that binds all trawlers to that name is weight. I know a 25' boat that is indeed a trawler but only weighs 4000lbs. It will never go 15 knots as it's a FD design. Most all trawlers are SD w a few FD but in my opinion none are planing boats irregardless of how they look ...... IMO.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:31 PM   #29
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Nordic Tugs became my second choice. My chosen (new) boat was a better cost/benefit contestant in 2010 even considering shipping and import costs/fees, especially having no need to exceed "hull speed."
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:00 PM   #30
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Can you be more specific about the reduction in quality youíve seen on the new Nordics?

Iíve owned NT 37-15 (built in 1999, 2000 model year) for 16 months and put about 750 hours on the engine. Iíve been impressed with nearly everything about the boat. Itís very efficient, has a layout that works well for me, itís plenty seaworthy, systems are well designed and installed and were top-notch when they were installed.

I spent an hour or so on the new 39 they had at the Seattle Boat Show and thought it was well done. The owner of that boat made some different choices than I would haveóI like the bench helm seat and all the resultant storage, I like the porthole in the showeróbut these are owner selectable options. I was also told that Nordic will install power other than Volvo.

The finishes on the new boats are more contemporary than the older tugs, and they seem have been selected with durability in mind. The systems on the new boats seem to pretty much be ďbest of breed.Ē Compared to my 2000 NT, there are lots of small things on the new boats that are betterómetal vs. plastic portholes, gas struts to hold hatches open, additional sound deadening, higher end light and plumbing fixtures, etc. And of course systems have come a long way since my boat was built. The new 40 looks to be a nice improvement over the 39 and 37.

American Tug builds a great boat. I donít think Iíve spoken with an owner of either brand that has much bad to say about their boat.
My comments are related to new Nordics not the older versions. While Nordic has made some significant system improvements, the overall fit and finish (show boats aside) is not there. A boat at a show is a whole different animal from what the average boat is rolling off the line.

My concerns and apprehension visa vi Nordic vs. American vs whatever is how difficult the Nordic factory is to deal with on a new build and what I perceive, possibly incorrectly, as a lower standard of quality compared to the older Nordic builds.

Certainly the older Nordics have proven themselves.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:27 PM   #31
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As regards the Volvo engine selection, their comments to me last fall were that they have standardized on Volvo. Anything other than Volvo would be non-standard, actively discouraged and result in a significant upcharge. Factory made it very apparent that non-Volvo would be met with heavy resistance by the CEO.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:52 PM   #32
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An incident I thought was rather odd occurred with acquaintences of ours who a few years ago ordered a new Nordic Tug 34. They had specified a Cummins engine. When they took delivery of the boat, they found it had a Volvo engine in it. I have no idea what transpired between the customer and the factory at this point, but in the end they accepted the boat with the Volvo engine.

Not knowing anything but the surface details, it surprised me that a manufacturer would agree to a customer-requested option and then deliver something else. I can see it if the product was a toaster and the buyer ordered a white one and got a silver one.

But with as large, complex, and expensive a product as a new cruising boat, I find it surprising that a manufacturer would not only do something other than what was specified by the customer and agreed to by the manuracturer, but not notify the customer that the change was-- or had to be-- made.

Our acqaintences are very happy with the boat and have so far taken it up the Inside Passage to SE Alaksa and spent one or more summers in the Broughtons. But the uannounced engine change on the part of the manufacturer seems to me to be a strange event in this case, although as I say, I don't know the manufacturer's side of the story.
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:44 PM   #33
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An incident I thought was rather odd occurred with acquaintences of ours who a few years ago ordered a new Nordic Tug 34. They had specified a Cummins engine. When they took delivery of the boat, they found it had a Volvo engine in it. I have no idea what transpired between the customer and the factory at this point, but in the end they accepted the boat with the Volvo engine.

Not knowing anything but the surface details, it surprised me that a manufacturer would agree to a customer-requested option and then deliver something else. I can see it if the product was a toaster and the buyer ordered a white one and got a silver one.

But with as large, complex, and expensive a product as a new cruising boat, I find it surprising that a manufacturer would not only do something other than what was specified by the customer and agreed to by the manuracturer, but not notify the customer that the change was-- or had to be-- made.

Our acqaintences are very happy with the boat and have so far taken it up the Inside Passage to SE Alaksa and spent one or more summers in the Broughtons. But the uannounced engine change on the part of the manufacturer seems to me to be a strange event in this case, although as I say, I don't know the manufacturer's side of the story.
That would really irritate me to the point I would walk on the boat or make them change it back to what was spec'ed in the build sheet. The problem with Nordic builds is that their payment schedule ensures that the boat is 100% paid for be the time it hits the water. In other words, the customary payment schedule at Nordic is progress payments equaling 100% of boat price paid by sea trial time. That puts all the risk on the buyer especially if, for some reason, the factory is shut down or changes hands or a fire or ...

Anyway, changing an engine without a signed change order is a big red flag.
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:50 PM   #34
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I think Ranger boats are planing boats that look like a trawler but perform much more like the typical planing pleasure boat.

Very nice looking and very expensive. They look so good I'm not supprised people are buying them. There's two of them on the same float as my boat. I love the dark blue and light tan colors. As to quality I can only say their choice of anchor being the cheapest availible and not very big is probably not a good sign. However both NT and AT also are equipped w the Claw anchor.

But if you look at their performance it's hard to apply the word "trawler" to them. After all the thing that binds all trawlers to that name is weight. I know a 25' boat that is indeed a trawler but only weighs 4000lbs. It will never go 15 knots as it's a FD design. Most all trawlers are SD w a few FD but in my opinion none are planing boats irregardless of how they look ...... IMO.
Agree on the anchor selection. There are a bunch of Rangers on our dock and they all have lightweight (as in 15# Lewmar anchor on 29' boat) anchors. My current Nordic 26' has a 25# Manson Supreme as primary and a 25# CQR as a secondary.

I like the Ranger's color scheme and layout BUT I am not all that sold on the boat itself. I think Cutwater is building Ranger Tugs to a price point rather than a quality point.

On the other hand, I really wish Nordic had as active an online forum at tugnuts.com. Ranger owners are a pretty active group of tuggers.
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:52 PM   #35
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I'd also like the back story on this comment, "I stand by my original comments having tried to build a new boat recently with Nordic and wasted alot of time with them."
If you want the whole backstory, PM me. The details are not for public consumption
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:08 PM   #36
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There are a number of good threads in the Tug Designs topic of the builders forum section. As the owner of a 2006 AT 34 for the last 18 months I'm very happy with the quality and design. The history of the AT line starts with NTs, well documented in other threads; I think they are both well built boats and you'll find each have their fans.


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Old 02-24-2015, 11:18 PM   #37
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That would really irritate me to the point I would walk on the boat or make them change it back to what was spec'ed in the build sheet.
I have no clue as to the details of this incident or the language in the contract. I only know what the buyer told us after he and his wife took delivery. Sometime I'll try to remember to ask him for the reasons given by the manufacturer for the engine switch. Perhaps it made sense, perhaps not.

I mentioned it because if the original poster (or anybody) decides to pursue the purchase of a newbuild from Nordic Tug, it's an incident to be aware of. If they still offer the option of Cummins, Cat, John Deere, etc. engines and a buyer wants one of these and is willing to pay the extra to get it, it would be smart to make sure there is language in the contract protecting his choice.
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:27 PM   #38
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Agree on the anchor selection. There are a bunch of Rangers on our dock and they all have lightweight (as in 15# Lewmar anchor on 29' boat) anchors. My current Nordic 26' has a 25# Manson Supreme as primary and a 25# CQR as a secondary.

I like the Ranger's color scheme and layout BUT I am not all that sold on the boat itself. I think Cutwater is building Ranger Tugs to a price point rather than a quality point.

On the other hand, I really wish Nordic had as active an online forum at tugnuts.com. Ranger owners are a pretty active group of tuggers.
I too wish there was a NT forum other than the Yahoo users group.
The Yahoo group is an excellent source of info, but I find it kind of clunky to use and the inability to post pictures makes it difficult to try and describe an issue.
Don't get me wrong, it's been a valuable resource in researching things/issues with my boat.
I've often wondered why the NT Yahoo group doesn't just utilize this site and post info under the Tug section. I bet if asked nicely, the Trawlerforum group would even create a NT subsection.
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:42 PM   #39
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make sure there is language in the contract protecting his choice.
That's the problem with ordering a boat though. There is no language that will protect them. Yes, they could get the contract voided in court, within two or three years assuming the company was still operating. But for a practical manner, they're helpless. NT has been paid all or nearly all. They hold the power. Take it or let a boat you've paid for sit on their lot.
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:50 PM   #40
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That's the problem with ordering a boat though. There is no language that will protect them..
While it might be a hassle and might cost some money, I'm sure that a buyer could have a lawyer write up a clause that spelled out clearly and exactly which engine the buyer wanted and stated that if the boat did not have this engine the buyer was not obligated to take the boat and whatever amount of his/her money had already been paid to the manufacturer would be immediatley refunded.

If the manufacturer really wanted the sale and was willing to stand behind their promise, they should be willing to include that clause in the contract. If not, the buyer is under no obligation to go forward with the purchase.

And if the manufacturer balked, that would tell me quite a bit about that manufacturer and that maybe I should be buying my boat from somebody else.
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