April 18 2017
by Peter A. Janssen PassageMaker
The newly redesigned pilothouse on the 44 is certainly appealing, particularly the five interior steps leading up to the flybridge (an advantage over the old 42, which just had the traditional outside ladder to the bridge from the cockpit), and the clear hatch opening to the bridge lets in an enormous amount of light. The helm layout is clean, neat, functional; it’s simply meant for easy cruising. The Ulltraleather Llebroc helm chair is comfortable and faces three Raymarine touchscreens; another Ray display is on the bridge, and a fifth is in the office/nav station below. Big black graphite laminate chart tables with fiddles complete the helm, which is trimmed—as is the entire boat—in Sapele mahogany for an upscale look. The sole is faux teak-and-holly Amtico, which gives a salty look but is easy to clean and nearly impossible to dent. A brown leather seat on the port side could hold four adults; a folding table in front gives them a place to put lunch, coffee, books, whatever. The 44’s pilothouse is a combination of a highly functioning nav/command center and social area where passengers can be part of the action and enjoy the passing view.
Weathertight Diamond Sea Glaze doors on each side give immediate access to the side decks. And there are Sapele handholds overhead and next to the doors; this is a safe boat. It also is responsive. As we headed up the river, the boat came on plane with barely a bow rise without using trim tabs, easily reaching 15 knots. The Volvo D11 diesel, detuned here to 510 horsepower, is designed to produce high torque at low rpm. Maneuvering at speed is a pleasure: The large destroyer-type wheel is 4-¾ turns lock to lock. Around the dock, Side-Power proportional bow and stern thrusters make it easy.
You can step onto the boat through a sliding gate in each rail just abaft the pilothouse doors, through a starboard-side door aft-opening into the cockpit, or from the swim platform through a hefty inward-opening door. The cockpit is spacious, a full 6 feet, 8 inches from the transom to the door leading to the saloon. There’s plenty of room for several chairs, and the forward half is protected by an overhang from the bridge deck above. Fender stowage is built into the transom. A large hatch opens to the lazarette, which is gelcoated and ventilated, and where there’s great access to the steering gear, the AC/heat unit (the compressor is there to reduce noise inside the boat), the freshwater pump, water tanks and stowage. From the port side of the cockpit you climb up a seven-step ladder to the boat deck. A chest for propane tanks is under the ladder, though this boat is all-electric and has a 12kW Northern Lights genset.
You enter the saloon through a single door with Dutch-style upper and lower windows. The area is spacious and contains the galley. Two barrel chairs are on the port side, flanking an entertainment center, where a flat-panel TV can be raised electronically. The table is 28 by 48 inches, large enough for dining, cocktails, or a game of cards. A sofa/sleeper is on the starboard side. Forward, to port, the large galley, totally redesigned from the 42, is upscale and inviting, with wide Corian countertops, two stainless sinks, a Wolf cooktop, induction oven, microwave, five-foot-tall fridge and freezer, and drawers and cabinets all around. It’s large enough to feed a crowd, and comfortable enough for a couple to feel totally at home on a month’s cruise.
Once you move the chairs, a large hatch on the port side of the saloon lifts for access to the engine room, where the big Volvo sits center stage. (The hatch has been retrofitted with a gas strut since my visit.) A smaller hatch forward on the starboard side gives immediate access to the front of the engine. If you’re not standing under one of the open hatches, you have to crouch to reach anything, but there is access on all sides. The two Racors are on the port side under the standing area, and you can do the daily checks on the starboard side also under the open hatch.
Walking forward through the saloon on the starboard side, you have two choices; it’s either three steps up to the pilothouse or four steps down to the accommodation deck. At the foot of the steps to starboard is the office/nav station, a nice touch for serious cruising. It has a desk, a leather seat, file drawer, a Raymarine screen, and a Blue Sea AC/DC panel. This is a great place to plan a trip, check on progress in the middle of the night without having to go up to the pilothouse, or simply relax with a good book.
Opposite the office, to port, the guest cabin has an upper single and lower double berth, drawers for storage, and a cabinet for a washer/dryer. This is an inviting, private area for guests, or a perfect spot for children. Forward, one step down the companionway, the guest/day head with separate shower, is to starboard. It’s large enough for me, and I’m almost 6’ 2” tall. The pièce de resistance on the 44, however, is the master stateroom forward. This master is one of the largest I’ve seen short of a megayacht. It has queen-size berth on a raised island and there are enough drawers, cabinets, and hanging lockers for months of cruising to the Bahamas or Alaska. Just as an example, there are three cabinets overhead on each side of the bed, a hanging locker with four drawers on each side of the foot of the bed, and four drawers under the bed. The sense of space is overwhelming. At the foot of the bed I measured the headroom as 7 feet, 3 inches. The master head is on the port side and is an upgrade from the 42—larger and more upscale—with a vanity, a stall shower with a café style door, and a linen locker.
Up top, the boat deck aft has a 1,000-pound Steelhead crane and a 10.5-foot IAB RIB with a 20-horsepower Tohatsu outboard. Walking forward, you go up two steps to the flybridge. There’s a single helm seat, a stainless wheel, a Raymarine display, and an L-shape settee on the port side.
All in all, the Nordic Tugs 44 is built for comfortable and extended cruising. It’s a sturdy, seaworthy cruiser that’s responsive for its size. And there are enough separate spaces throughout the boat for a month of easy living for a family or a couple with occasional guests. The master is huge by any standard; then there’s the second stateroom, the saloon, the pilothouse settee, the small office/nav station, the cockpit, and the flybridge. That’s a lot to pack into a 44-foot boat.
NORDIC TUGS 44
RPM KNOTS GPH SOUND dB(A) RANGE (nm)
600 5.0 0.8 61 3,375
1000 7.5 2.8 66 1,446
1500 9.6 8.7 69 596
2000 13.7 19.0 73 389
2250 17.0 24.0 78 382
DISPL: 31,400 lbs.
FUEL: 600 gal.
WATER: 175 gal.
BLACK WATER: 45 gal.
GRAY WATER: 20 gal.
POWER: 1X 510hp Volvo D11
SLOW CRUISE: 7.5. knots
MAX SPEED: 17 knots
RANGE @ SLOW CRUISE: 1,446 nm
PRICE: Base price $844,688 Price as tested: $966,850