Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The magnificent Nordhavn 68

The cover boat and story in the latest Circumnavigator is the new aft-pilothouse Nordhavn 68. The magazine crew had an opportunity to sea trial and photograph Sans Souci, as the newest Nordhavn is called, in the San Juan Islands, thanks to the graciousness of her owners, Ken and Roberta Williams of Seattle, Washington, and San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico.

All this happened very late in the magazine's nine-month production cycle, meaning that stories were written on a quick deadline right after our time aboard Sans Souci. As part of the editorial plan, we asked Ken and Roberta for their individual comments about the success of the project, now that they had moved aboard the boat in Roche Harbor, Washington.

Roberta answered promptly and her comments made a wonderful sidebar under the heading, Heavenly Sans Souci: Comfortable, cozy, with a hot tub to die for. Ken didn't answer as promptly and we were forced to lock up the feature without his contribution. Which gives us the opportunity to present Ken's commentary here:

· We wanted twin engines, dual water makers, dual generators, an international power system, a huge battery bank, a diesel furnace, 14kw of inverter capacity and more. The engine room and lazarette are a whopping 128% larger on our 68 than we had on our Nordhavn 62.
· We like warm climates, and dining outdoors. We wanted room for a hot tub large enough to hold two couples comfortably. The 68 has a huge amount of exterior deck space, and has a wonderful covered upper aft deck, which is our primary dining room in warmer climates.
· We worked hard on the interior of the 68 to create a boat which would feel larger than its actual size. The rooms feel spacious, and there are no places where the room above creates strange looking carve-outs (I’ve seen some boat designs where if you sit up in bed you can bump your head on the bottom of a staircase). Overall, the boat flows very logically, and just feels right.
· I wanted a boat that is easy to drive. The twin engines give it incredible maneuverability. To this we added very strong thrusters. One of the first things Nordhavn’s commissioning staff said to me when the boat arrived in Dana Point was that they were surprised by how maneuverable the boat is. We also did some simple things like designing the outside drive stations such that they were large enough to accommodate the throttle controls, a rudder jog lever, dual throttles, engine start/stop. It was also important to us that they be easy to reach while driving. I didn’t want to have to be leaning at an awkward angle while trying to drive. Lastly, we maximized the number of windows in the pilothouse. I wanted a full 360 degree view at all times.
· In order to free up interior space, and not have a hot stack running through the center of the main salon, we designed the boat around wet exhaust.
-Ken Williams

Click here to download a PDF of the Nordhavn 68 feature in the latest Circumnavigator.

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