My first in-the-water visit to the new 49, an elegant
and sophisticated big sister to the 26, came at a Seattle
show in the September week when national financial
institutions began crumbling under the burden of unwise
mortgage lending and other investments gone astray. The
bears took control of Wall Street, while fuel prices had
been outrageous for months and boaters were cautious
about buying. Talk about an eerie coincidence.
Husted took orders for something like 50 of the 26-
foot Nordic Tugs at the first showing in January 1980.
Not all of those buyers followed through to complete
their purchases, which was fortunate for Husted, since his
small business might have struggled to meet the demand.
Sales representatives for Skipper Cress Yacht Sales, the
Nordic dealer in Anacortes, Washington, left the recent
boat show so confident hull number 1 would sell that
they ordered two more from the builder, making that
debut a success, too.
The new 49 was tied up far out on G Dock at Cap
Sante Marina in Anacortes. This was the fourth time I
had seen the boat (twice under construction and twice in
the water), and it was rewarding again to note that design
changes by new hands had not altered the Nordic Tug
genes that have persisted vigorously through 800 boats.
After Senour’s death several years ago, Nordic Tugs
retained Howard Apollonio, a Bellingham, Washington,
naval architect and engineer, to design the 49. Apollonio
preserved Senour’s hallmark design elements but raked
and flared the bow to give the boat a drier ride in
sloppy seas, put the shaft and propeller in a tunnel for
more efficient performance, and added detail work to
the interior. He also created a double chine that rises
above the waterline at the bow, eliminating the slap-slap sounds that annoy some boaters at night. The
faux smokestack still is there, although shortened
and contoured for better styling.
Changes in the hull shape give the 49 a draft of 4 feet
2 inches, less than the 4-foot-4-inch draft of the 37. And,
I was told by company officials, at displacement speeds
the 49’s fuel burn is about the same as that of the 42.
A wine expert would say her hull is finished in a
luscious red. That’s close. Her hull is a C-Ranger 25
claret red. The color was borrowed, with permission,
from the Ranger line of trailerable yachts. Skipper Cress
Yachts also is a C-Ranger dealer, and it specified the
special hue. There are many other choices: Nordic Tugs
allows buyers to select from a palette of eight hull colors.
With the peak of her bow nearly 9 feet above the
water, an overall length of 52 feet 3 inches, a beam of just
over 16 feet, and a displacement of 46,000 lb., she looks
larger than one would expect for a boat labeled a 49 (her
waterline length is 48 feet 4 inches).
First impressions are important. And because this
is a million-dollar boat, I looked closely. The veteran
production staff at Nordic Tugs produced a claret hull
and an oyster-colored deckhouse that are mirror-like,
without wrinkles or flaws in the gelcoat. A new logo
on the faux stack, which provides storage space for
deck gear and a place for the heating system expansion
tank, and a shiny new name line just below the caprail
are contemporary and pleasing to the eye.
There is not a hint of wood on the exterior. Inside,
however, there is an abundance of teak cabinetry
skillfully, artistically, and elegantly cut and fit, then richly
finished with hand-rubbed oil. The sole is covered with
beige carpeting and, in the galley and heads, teak-and-holly flooring.
The 49 has two staterooms and heads arranged to
provide privacy for two cruising couples. The guest
space, with a queen-size bed, is in the bow. Its head,
which doubles as a guest head, separates the guest
quarters from the master stateroom, down four steps and
aft beneath the pilothouse.
Boarding is via the 38-1/2-inch-deep molded swim
platform and a gate in the transom. Nearly hidden
beneath the transom is a rescue ladder that can be pulled
out and down and used for boarding by someone who
has fallen into the water. These ladders are showing up
on many new boats because of an American Boat &
Yacht Council standard recommending them for all
The aft deck is 76 inches deep and full width,
providing space for lounging chairs and perhaps a small
table. Steps lead to narrow (8-inch) side decks, which
have a molded nonskid pattern, as do all exterior
surfaces. Hull number 1 has deck railings 34 inches
high only from the pilothouse forward. Nordic Tugs
will install rails along the full length of the side decks
on request. Handling lines, retrieving fenders, and
moving along the side decks would be risky without
side rails, but some buyers don’t want them.
An extraordinarily large hatch, 35 by 54 inches, rises
easily on gas struts in the aft deck to provide access to
a huge lazarette with what seems like acres of storage
space. One of two entries to the engine room is found
here; the second is a hatch in the galley.
The lazarette has 48 inches of headroom and houses a
lot of gear, all of it readily accessible: the exhaust line
and an enormous Soundown muffler, pumps and piping
for management of gray and black water, the Steelhead
electric/hydraulic drive for the boat crane on the
bridgedeck, a Glendinning tub for storage of the 50-amp
shorepower cable and an electric cable retrieval system,