Nordhavn 40...lack of side decks

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That's one of the main reasons we bought a 350 Mainship. As years unfurl the side decks become a necessity for safety when preparing to dock and docking.
The last thing I want is the admiral trying to set fenders with one hand on the rail leaning over the waters edge. When your knock'in on 70 you just cant jump as far as you think you can. I believe safety before comfort IMHO, but I think we've found a good balance with this boat.
Cheers
J.T.
 
Peter, I appreciate your first hand experience with the N40. Sounds like it might work well for us (though if I had a couple 1000 extra $$$ the N43 does look like a worthwhile upgrade!!!). Thanks!

I stopped delivering just as the N43 was being introduced. I turned down a couple deliveries of the first ones. I very well thought they might be the perfect boat. The extra length gets you a Stidd pilothouse helm chair which is nice.

I really didn't want to like the N40. The looks were such a sellout compared to the manly N46. But the boat really works well. Ride is better than the 46, she's relatively fast. And pretty mannerly in close quarters. The last one I delivered was from Dana Point to Victoria BC. The owners were a family of 3 (7 year old daughter) and the Nordhavn salesperson who we dropped in SF. Was tight with that many people aboard but it worked out fine.

But I certainly understand the admiration of side decks. A couple weeks ago I was next to a Hylas 46-ish in Ixtapa. The one thing that really grabbed me was her side decks were quite a bit wider than comparable boats. Very nicely done.

There are many reasons not to buy a N40. To my thinking, at least in the 40 foot class, no side decks is a positive attribute. I can adapt to most of the challenges of not having side decks for a third of her length. But I can't make extra saloon and galley space at anchor or docked. But everyone has their own priorities. Frankly, I never thought sailboats were particularly easy to dock - helmsman is often pinned in the cockpit with poor visibility forward due to dodger. Cleats are often small. Access on/off is at midship over the lifelines, and you need the rigging as hand grabs. Workable, but hardly ideal for line handling.

Peter
 
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On a side note (not about side decks) did you see that vessel Dryade is on the market and price just dropped to exactly within your budget.
See post regarding 72' Alloy Trawler on this forum.
I read where you already dinged a 50-footer due to size, but thought I would mention it as they are billing that vessel as a world traveler and as former world travelers yourself such a vessel might appeal to you.
Plus you are giving up the redundancy of having both sail and engine power by foregoing the sails and that vessel mentioned is twin screw although from the way they describe it they do not always run both at the same time so not sure how that is set up.
Just a thought - sorry to diverge from the side deck discussion....
 
I’m an ex sailor too, like many here, and have fishing boat roots as well. I didn’t think there would be any way I’d go for a boat without full walk around decks.
But, the layout of our boat seduced me into trying it out.
We have same layout as n40, raised pilothouse, good access to the bow and forward side decks with the Portuguese bridge.
Hang the fenders from the boat deck railing. We mostly back in, but it really doesn’t matter. Wife in the cockpit, handles the stern line first, walks forward so I can hand her a bow or spring. Very calm procedure.
If there’s extra help on the dock I’ll hand off the midship line, bow line is always last.
We live aboard, so more interior room in the salon was worth giving up the side decks there. After having this layout, I don’t miss the side decks. I think to get this much interior space and full walk around, I’d need another 7-10 feet of boat length.
 
Last year our DeFever was sold to a couple who were purposely looking for our vessel (pluses included large side decks). Their previous vessel - a Nordhavn 40.
 
Wife in the cockpit, handles the stern line first, walks forward so I can hand her a bow or spring. Very calm procedure.

This is how we operate our boat and it works very well, including in higher wind or stern in first. Once she secures the stern the bow thruster makes it easy to position the bow precisely. With the experience you two have, there will be no problems :thumb:.
 
That's one of the main reasons we bought a 350 Mainship. As years unfurl the side decks become a necessity for safety when preparing to dock and docking.
The last thing I want is the admiral trying to set fenders with one hand on the rail leaning over the waters edge. When your knock'in on 70 you just cant jump as far as you think you can. I believe safety before comfort IMHO, but I think we've found a good balance with this boat.
Cheers
J.T.

As others have said, side decks vs. more cabin space is a purely personal decision with no right or wrong. It's what works for you.

I'm in the exact same situation as you are, and feel the same way. 25 years ago I was willing to trade away walk-around side decks for some more interior cabin space. But at my now advanced age, no way. Full walk around side decks were an absolute must-have deal-breaker for me in my latest (and likely last) boat.

We're all victims of our own past experiences. My experience on my prior boat, one with narrow side decks (about 5") that I (foolishly) tried to make into walk-arounds by adding railings, was, instructive. Painfully so.

The only way to walk on a deck that narrow (at least with my size 12D feet) was shuffling with my feet in line. About 10 years ago, in a fast-moving docking situation, with opposing winds and currents blowing the boat around and towards nearby expensive boats and hard damaging things, I tried moving quickly to fend off. My foot got caught in a rail mount, my body twisted but the foot didn't, and I destroyed the meniscus in the left knee. Arthroscopic surgery removed about half the damaged meniscus, and the knee has never been the same since. Age was creeping up on me even then, and taught me a lesson I can never forget.

In my 'younger' days I was willing to play trapeze artist and gingerly traipse my way along 5" wide side 'decks', clinging to railings, to hang fenders or handle lines. At this age, never again. If I tried to do that now (or heaven forbid send the Admiral), we wouldn't last a day before one of us took an unscheduled swim.

Luck (and winds and currents) being what they are, I've often found myself in docking situations in tight spaces. I personally prefer trading off some interior cabin space for the ease and safety of movement on full walk-around decks protected by bulwarks (to obviate the chance of a foot slipping through an open railing). My priority is to be able to get to any and all parts of the boat easily, safely, and in any weather or sea state.

But that's only my own personal choice based on my experiences and boating needs. It's only the two of us on the boat virtually all the time, never with more than maybe a couple of guests for short times, so maximizing interior space isn't needed.

Your mileage may vary.
 

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Thinking about it, the general design of the boat makes a big difference. On a sedan style, the side decks are typically down fairly low on the boat (at cockpit / salon floor height). In that case, they eat up a good bit of interior space in the salon, but if the design is well thought out, you can have a forward side deck without direct outside access from the cockpit and can skip a section of side deck on one or both sides to widen the salon. The key is to make sure the missing section of side deck isn't too long relative to the boat, so it becomes a place you don't ever need to go (as everything is done from forward or aft of that point).

On other layouts, side decks fit in a bit differently. Our boat is a trunk cabin layout rather than a sedan, so there's no cockpit. The side decks start 4 feet above the waterline at the stern and get higher as you go forward. As a result, they're well above the salon floor, especially as they pass through the salon in the middle of the boat (which is ~2 feet above the waterline). So even though the side decks narrow the salon a bit, it's not as severe as on a sedan. We have cabinets and drawers in some places recessed into the sidewalls of the salon (using the space below the side decks), so that space isn't totally lost. And in our case, if we didn't have full side decks, there wouldn't be a viable path from the helm to the bow, as the layout just doesn't account for that.
 
What stands out for me on boats with small narrow side decks is how Bayliner leaned the windows into the saloon which gives your upper body the ability to stand without having to hang onto the railing to stay onboard.
I can see why a narrow deck with vertical house sides would be a hand grabber to stay on board.
 
Our last boat was a 40' RPH with no side decks. We were a bit apprehensive about this same problem when we first bought her having come from two GBs with side decks. In our 16 years of extensive cruising in Alaska our approach to docking was a bit different than the previous posters. We would lay out the stern and midship line so they were easily grabbed from the dock. The bow line was draped over the front rail by the PB. We had a foldable hooked ladder that we would deploy from the midship PB door. As the boat would pass the end of the dock and when the widest part of the boat (where the door was) was close enough, my wife would use the ladder to step onto either the dock or the bull rail, secure the spring and then depending on conditions, secure the aft line next. I would then toss her the bowline. For us, we found this easier and safer than her stepping off of the swim platform where I couldn't see or hear her if there was a problem. Agree with others that these methods are only applicable to the PNW and floating docks. I can't remember having to ever tie up to a pier in the PNW. We lived on the boat for 4-5 months every year and the full width salon was defiantly worth it.

Tator
 
Thinking about it, the general design of the boat makes a big difference. On a sedan style, the side decks are typically down fairly low on the boat (at cockpit / salon floor height). In that case, they eat up a good bit of interior space in the salon, but if the design is well thought out, you can have a forward side deck without direct outside access from the cockpit and can skip a section of side deck on one or both sides to widen the salon. The key is to make sure the missing section of side deck isn't too long relative to the boat, so it becomes a place you don't ever need to go (as everything is done from forward or aft of that point).

On other layouts, side decks fit in a bit differently. Our boat is a trunk cabin layout rather than a sedan, so there's no cockpit. The side decks start 4 feet above the waterline at the stern and get higher as you go forward. As a result, they're well above the salon floor, especially as they pass through the salon in the middle of the boat (which is ~2 feet above the waterline). So even though the side decks narrow the salon a bit, it's not as severe as on a sedan. We have cabinets and drawers in some places recessed into the sidewalls of the salon (using the space below the side decks), so that space isn't totally lost. And in our case, if we didn't have full side decks, there wouldn't be a viable path from the helm to the bow, as the layout just doesn't account for that.

All true. Though :lol: a 'place you don't ever need to go', I've found that wind, currents, the physical space I'm docking/maneuvering in, and nearby objects - other (seemingly expensive) boats, or hard things like rocks and pilings (that will cause damage if I hit them) - have determined where I need to go :lol:. On my previous boats without side decks, invariably I needed to get to places tough to reach on a narrow perch.

Just a question of priorities. For me (after losing half of a meniscus), unimpeded access anywhere, anytime was my priority.

I personally prefer the look, and visibility, of a raised pilothouse. But it's very hard to find a raised pilothouse semi-displacement boat in the 37-42-ish ft size range with full walk-around bulwark-protected side decks. I can't think of a single one currently in production.

The 1970's era Fisher Fairways 38 completely met all those criteria. But try finding one of the handful in this country. Plus the occasional one I've seen rarely come up for sale have looked like major and ongoing projects.

When Pacific Seacraft was making their 38 Trawler (double cabin) at the time they had plans for a raised pilothouse version with bulwark-protected side decks. The drawings looked a lot like an improved version of the Fisher Fairways 38. They read my mind and designed my perfect boat. But then the company went bankrupt in last decade's financial crisis.

Recessed side decks do take away space from the interior cabin, but for our personal needs, it's more than enough.
 

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We are former sailors too and thus used to being able to walk the entire length of the rail from stern to bow outside and in foul weather gear if crappy weather.
Took enough boat rides on friends powerboats without side decks over the years that we both agreed we did not want that situation if and when we switched to power.
I want to be able to walk to any part of the rail to deal with whatever, at any time, securing a fender, throwing a line, fending off, helping tie-up a guest rafting off, or whatever.
Also if fully geared up for crappy weather do not want to have to cut thru the interior to get from one place to another, would rather remain outside when wet.
We also enjoy walking the side decks when under way in nice weather; and guests do too, some of whom don't have sea legs like the rest of us which could provide for an awkward situation for them if they had to shimey along a toe rail holding on and hoping not to slip.
We in geezer era now so what used to be a no-brainer simple move for me in my youth might now require more thought first.
Side decks are aesthetically nice too in my opinion.
Since it is just the two of us (when not entertaining) we do not need a huge salon. We make do with what we have and are happy with the convenience of being able to walk the perimter of the boat in any conditions, day or night rain or shine.
From the posts above you can see many are fine without and have adapted or even prefer no side decks given the larger salon.
So am not making a case one way or the other but rather just sharing our personal preference and the reasons for our choice..
 
We are former sailors too and thus used to being able to walk the entire length of the rail from stern to bow outside and in foul weather gear if crappy weather.
Took enough boat rides on friends powerboats without side decks over the years that we both agreed we did not want that situation if and when we switched to power.
I want to be able to walk to any part of the rail to deal with whatever, at any time, securing a fender, throwing a line, fending off, helping tie-up a guest rafting off, or whatever.
Also if fully geared up for crappy weather do not want to have to cut thru the interior to get from one place to another, would rather remain outside when wet.
We also enjoy walking the side decks when under way in nice weather; and guests do too, some of whom don't have sea legs like the rest of us which could provide for an awkward situation for them if they had to shimey along a toe rail holding on and hoping not to slip.
We in geezer era now so what used to be a no-brainer simple move for me in my youth might now require more thought first.
Side decks are aesthetically nice too in my opinion.
Since it is just the two of us (when not entertaining) we do not need a huge salon. We make do with what we have and are happy with the convenience of being able to walk the perimter of the boat in any conditions, day or night rain or shine.
From the posts above you can see many are fine without and have adapted or even prefer no side decks given the larger salon.
So am not making a case one way or the other but rather just sharing our personal preference and the reasons for our choice..

:iagree: Are you my long lost twin brother? Your experiences and perspectives are exactly the same as mine.

The needs of us geezers are different from those of the young'uns.
 
We put offers in for a N40 and a N43. The 40 wasn’t well maintained and didn’t pass survey. The 43 got a higher offer. I’m actually glad we didn’t get either. Really like the comfy helm seat in the current boat and would miss it in the 40. Know you can sit on the settee and use the AP but being at the helm is better in a coastal setting.

Cruising we usually come into a marina we’ve never been in before . Prefer stern to so often don’t get to choose which side is near the dock. Have learned to not totally trust marinas dock hands and prefer to do lines ourselves or under close supervision. Often in strong wind or current use the magic spring. So would miss having side decks on both sides. I guess if we were more experienced with power would be less reluctant to giving up side decks. I’ve cruised thousands of miles running the boat and docking myself on sail and still have trouble losing that mindset.
I think if you can find a 43 in good shape and reasonable price it’s a buy. Distances are short enough and stairs easy so missing that side deck wouldn’t be a huge issue. Stil if given a choice would want both side decks. Perhaps think differently about saloon beam. Don’t think 2-3’ is that big a deal.
 
Docking from a fly bridge does sound like it changes the equation. Definitely another consideration!!! Thanks.

Docking from the fly bridge is actually quite easy, in fact even in bad weather I prefer the fly bridge over the pilot house. You have a great 360 view, and can easily make a step to get a view on port and stbd side. :thumb:

The 'must' have during docking (at least for us) are the so called 'marriage savers', the eartec ultralite headphones. No more shouting, no misunderstandings, you can communicate wherever you are in a normal tone, no need to see eachother. One can be on the bow and the other on the stern, still work as a team. Best investment we ever made :)

Another nice addition to the boat is a remote control, so that you can have full control over engines, thrusters, anchor while you are walking around. Especially in bad weather it is great to have onboard.
 
A friend has a Meridian 411, very narrow side decks, but to make things worse the flybridge side cowling/coaming protrudes quite a bit at chest height as you “cling” around the sides, essentially forcing your upper body away from the boat as you clamber to the foredeck jamming your feet sideways avoiding rail stanchions. Once past the salon/lower helm forward windows you need to deal with a highly rounded foredeck.

A real pain to move forward on, but very roomy internally.

Imagine having to deal with an anchoring anomaly or taking a tow line in a bucking seaway with wind driven spray soaking the deck surface. The boat dropping away under you on every wave trough.
I recently had to deal with a situation like the one above two weeks ago, short handed, many miles offshore, I probably don’t need to say how grateful I was for my flat decked, deep sided, bulwarked side decks.
 
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Being that your cruising in the PNW (and living aboard), I would opt for the interior space over the side deck. I had a 36 Krogen Manatee for 15 years and the only issues I ever had was docking communication pre-headset Once I got the headsets, this solved the stressful "plan B, C and D changes at the last second.
 
We have a Helmsman 43 with no side decks, having downsized from a Selene 60 with one side deck. No issues for us. Makes engine room checks quicker because the open hatch obstructs passage through the pilot house so wife stands over me. :)
 
Have learned to not totally trust marinas dock hands and prefer to do lines ourselves or under close supervision.

Ref dock hands: yep.

We've begun to carry fenders pre-staged on both sides so when the Admiral goes forward she can kick all 8 of the forward fenders (4 on each side) overboard.. partly to clear walking space... and partly to make up for when the dock people at the last minute say "Ooops, sorry, we meant you'd be the other side-to."

And this trip, we've had a bit more luck with dock hands actually doing what we ask if I give them instructions in advance over the radio. Same instructions from the Admiral as we approach... 50/50 chance of that working.

We do use headsets, and when they ignore the Admiral she can respond with "Captain says..." or some such. And I also try to activate the listen-back hailer and have that at the ready, so if it really goes south I can "speak" at the dock bubba direct.

-Chris
 
Thanks JT. Appreciate the comment on those of us playing our back nine!!! Cheers
 
Thanks for sharing this perspective, Mac.....much appreciated. As we know, every boat is a set of compromises.....I think I'll need to get aboard boats with and without walkable side decks to really evaluate what's right for us (geezers!).
 
Thanks for this.....Like you, I'm really used to using the spring line to snuggle up to the dock. No matter which boat we wind up with, there'll be a fair bit of relearning tricks!!!
 
Good call on the same headphone sets that you do. Bought them when we moved from a 46' center cockpit to an aft cockpit 52, for anchoring, as we were concerned about the longer distance from helm to bow. It's worked out that we still are fine with hand signals. But the marriage savers are great to pick up moorings when helmsman can't see the buoy beneath the bow. Also really helpful when I go up the mast. But I can see where they'll be great to communicate from the wheel house (or fly bridge) to the deck crew.

Curious about your remote control. We currently have only autopilot on remote control, not engine or thruster. Is yours adaptable to all engines, or only those which are electronic "fly by wire"?
 
Ranger.....Cindi's gotten a lot better at being forceful when TELLING the dock bubbas who's "girling" her what line to pull and which cleat to make fast, including the spring line when we want to pull forward against it. (always entertaining to see a well meaning dockster grab a line and hold it with one hand as we maneuver a 30,000 lb boat tied to the other end!!!)
 
Curious about your remote control. We currently have only autopilot on remote control, not engine or thruster. Is yours adaptable to all engines, or only those which are electronic "fly by wire"?

My throttle system is indeed an electric system, the control boxes are in the ER and they power actuators that move the cable system on the engine. The remote plugs into the control boxes.
Pity I am not on the boat right now, could take a picture and post it.

The anchor, bow and stern thruster have a remote control box made by MAX. They seem to work on all brands of thrusters and winches as long as they are electric thrusters. It is basically installed afterwards, but works great.
https://www.avamarine.nl/product/ma...7ohYfDJtg1keBI7SfSGj1EntUfaduSMaAlCyEALw_wcB
Normally I hang it around my neck when we leave port or anchorage and when we come in to dock.
 
Heres to the geezers and may we all get there safely!!!:thumb:
Cheers and safe adventures
J.T.
 
If I remember well, one "problem" of this 40' was the stability.
On a sea trial made by a magazine they wrote in "diplomatic" type
something like:
" hopefully this model have stabilization..."

I is a polite way (because the boatyard made some advertising on your magazine...) to say "on this model the rool/stability is a problem ?
 
"...Oeuvres vives arrondies et fardage important, le bateau est rouleur par mer de travers..."

" ...le bateau est équipé de stabilisateurs Trac Digital System, à déployer IMPERATIVEMENT par mer formée..."
"...par mer formée il faut compter sur une gite très prononcée..."

Sea trial effectued in the Solent not in open sea...
Magazine : Neptune Moteur April 2006"
 
If I remember well, one "problem" of this 40' was the stability.
On a sea trial made by a magazine they wrote in "diplomatic" type
something like:
" hopefully this model have stabilization..."

I is a polite way (because the boatyard made some advertising on your magazine...) to say "on this model the rool/stability is a problem ?

I'd interpret that as the reviewer saying that the ride is uncomfortable or unpleasant and they expect stabilizers would help. It doesn't necessarily mean the boat isn't stable enough.
 
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