Nordic Tug 32, or Eagle 32, or similar

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Commercial Member
Oct 6, 2007
Poulsbo, WA
Vessel Name
Dream Catcher
Vessel Make
Nordic Tug 37-065
An experienced BC and SE Alaska cruiser friend is considering these two boats, and wonders what real-world fuel economy is achieved by either of them, say at 7 knots.* Anyone with experience they would care to share?* How much does it change at higher speed, say 8 knots?

Any particular years of these boats that represent significant changes to be desired or avoided?

What other 32-ish pilothouse cruisers should my friend consider?* He's initially thinking not too terribly much more than $100K.
He should easily be able to stay within his budget....except with the Nordic. As far as performance/efficiency, it depends on how it is powered. It seems the Nordics have bigger engines to go faster. This will cost you even if you choose to go slow....a Cummins 210 will still prolly burn almost 3gph at 7kts versus less than 2gph for a 100hp engine which is what the other boats are powered with. So the Nordic will cost you in initial purchase price AND in efficiency.

Another model to be considered is the Sundowner. They were actually made at the same yard as Hans Christian sailboats and you can certainly tell....usually powered by a 100hp Yanmar although I have seen VW Pathfinders in them. They made a 30, 32, 36. I have not seen a 36 for sale in a long time which leads me to believe not many were made.
I chartered an 1992 Nordic out of Anacortes a few years back. The older boats (like this) had the 210 Cummins - newer ones a few more HP Cummins, and teh brand new ones Volvos. The older boats (like this one) also had a hull shape that pretty much eliminated any hope of planing - the newer ones will pick themselve up and go (though they look pretty odd doing so, IMHO).

This boat had a Floscan, so I used fuel flow to set my power. I ran about 1.7 g/hr, which gave a nice 6.5 knot cruise. By the 20 * flow rule, it was probably using 30 to 35 hp.

Flow went up pretty quickly - I seem to remember about 2.5/hr at 7 knots and 4.5 at 8.

What most impressed me about the boat was that it was a 13 year old hull with several years in the charter biz, and was still solid as a rock. Admittedly a lot was due to good maintenance by the charter operator. But everything worked, everything was solid.

Biggest nit with the boat was nothing unique with the Nordic: the hard chine going below the WL forward makes the forward cabin noisy if you're anchored with some chop on the nose - SCHLOP SCHLOP SCHLOP every time a wavelet hits there.

I have a personal favoritism for the Nordic 'cuz of it being American made. As I am in an industry that's steadily disappearing in North America, anything that helps (or that at one time helped) keep people working in good jobs steadily employed is a plus for me.
Our 2006 Nordic Tug 32 has a 270HP Cummins diesel.* Our normal cruising speed is between 7-8 knots.* If I'm in a hurry to get somewhere, I may run up to 10-12 knots.* Boat has a top-end of 18 knots.* I don't have a fuel monitoring system, and my only reference is gallons per hour (GPH).* For the past 2 seasons, I've put on about 200 hours per season, and my overall fuel consumption has been 1.9 GPH.* At a constant 7 knots, mileage will be better.* Older NT32's will have smaller 210HP diesels with lower top-ends but better fuel economy.* It will be difficult to find an NT32 for $100K.* Wilde Yacht's in Essex CT has an 1988 NT32 for $100K.

On the hard chine SCHLOP, SCHLOP, SCHLOP (is that a nautical term ?), we NT owners are a bit sensitive on that issue.*Our*first night on the mooring was enough for me to do something about it.* Last spring I filled in a 48" section of the forward chine and that eliminated the problem, with no effect on wave deflection at speed.* The filled in section is out of the water when over 8 knots.* The new NT 49 has been*designed with the hard chine well above the waterline going aft, which eliminates the chine slap.

John Baczek
Puffin, NT32-266
Watch Hill, RI
Mr. Cook,

If your friend is really concerned about fuel consumption he should be looking at full displacement boats. Most FD boats about 32' and displaceing 6 to 10 tons should burn 1 to 1.5 gph. My willard cruises at about 6.7 knots at 1 gph. I know where there is a 40' Willard for sale for 110K that will burn about 2 gph at 8 knts. The boat is in Calif. Unfortuneately there are few hulls that are FD design. The eagle is much closer than the nordy. Many FD hulls are overpowered to make them more marketable but you can be the judge as a FD hull will only require about 3 to 5 hp per ton of displacement. If a boat has 10, 15 or more hp per ton it is not FD and will not provide anywhere near maximum fuel efficency.

Eric Henning
30 Willard
Thorne Bay AK

Eric, you cannot automatically assume the shape of the hull based on what the power/weight ratio is. There are FD hulls out there that are "overpowered"....especially sailboats.

Wonderful new avatar. Your boat looks great making waves. John, if a boat is designed by a good marine architect and if it is a yacht and a FD hull the amount of power required to drive it at a speed that that good marine architect would recomend as a cruising speed would be 2 to 5hp per ton of displacement. 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hp is about ideal. Sailboats may be powered above that level as thier wetted surface is higher than power boats due to the huge keel and rudder. Also while bucking heavy head seas and head winds all that forest of rigging creates lots of extra drag that needs to be matched. Also in addition to all that most sailboats have a small high speed propeller that creates less drag while sailing but creates less thrust when under power. It is my opnion that most FD power yachts come from the builder overpowered just because it is precieved to be a problem to stand in front of a potential yacht buyer and tell him that the 16 ton 36' yacht in front of him only has much power as a small Toyota. An 85' north sea trawler, converted to a yacht crossed the North Atlantic and South Atlantic oceans, went around Cape Horn and up the Pacific coast to the Seattle area on 2hp per ton. Most Krogens have about 7hp per ton.

Eric Henning
30 Willard
Thorne Bay A

If your friend has definitely decided on a pilothouse configuration (which I prefer, too), then this suggestion isn't worth anything. But for the size and price he is contemplating, the Grand Banks 32 could be a possibility. It's not a full displacement hull, but a semi-planing hull so can be fairly easily driven faster than hull speed should the need arise, albeit with a fuel consumption penalty. The earlier boats are almost always powered with a Ford Lehman 120, which gives a typical cruise speed of around 8 knots at about 2.5 gallons per hour.

One big disadvantage of GBs, particularly prior to the 1990s, is that they have a lot of exterior wood on them--- handrails, caprails, trim strips, etc. And they were built with teak decks which some people don't like to deal with.

The Willard 30, like Eric's boat, has a terrific reputation. Everyone I've met who has one has loved it. All the ones I've seen in this area have had a pilothouse configuation, but from Eric's avatar photo, they were apparently made in other configurations, too. If your friend doesnt' think he'd have the need to exceed hull speed--- which you can do with a Nordic Tug if you have the power--- he should definitely add the Willard to his list of boats to check out. I don't know how their prices stack up with your friend's boat budget.
Mr Cook,

There is a 40' Willard in Baltimore MD for 110K. Call David Ulrich at 443 801 8115 or http:// Or go to http://pacificmotorboats.comwillardboats. Here on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska there is ( may still be ) a Californian ( about 36' ) in very good condition. They look simillar to a GB. Contact me if you wish.

Eric Henning
30 Willard
Thorne Bay AK
Sailboats may be powered above that level as thier wetted surface is higher than power boats due to the huge keel and rudder. Also while bucking heavy head seas and head winds all that forest of rigging creates lots of extra drag that needs to be matched.

Most sailboats have 2 more hassles, the range of available engines allows the mfg to get into the "mine is bigger than yours " easily and cheaply.

The other hassle is sailboats fewquently use the engine as a house power source. The engine drive compressor for a reefer will tale 10 HP !! in a "warm box" bring down.

The use of AGM batts allows a very high acceptance rate , so a 150A truck or 300A and a 3 stage charger can use a few extra HP.

IF 5HP per ton of MAX rated power is used as a rule for a displacement cruiser, there is less likely hood of shorter engine life from under loading.
Thanks, Eric. And as much as I want to continue this discussion(maybe one of you should start a new thread), let's get back to the original topic.

I have always been a fan of the Sundowner....and they are a bargain compared to the NT. They are also not as prevelant so they get a lot of interest dockside...not that it all that relevant. They are usually more "properly powered" too.
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