The Nordic Tug 32 pulls on the heart strings.
By Matt Gurnsey
July 28, 2002
Tugboat. There are few other words in the English language that conjure up such clear images in the mind.
From childhood on, we know the role of the tugboat, through books read to us by our mothers and today’s television shows for youngsters featuring tugboats with faces and rolling eyes. Tugboats are important and heroic. Even in science fiction fantasy literature, the futuristic star fleet still requires the tugboat for the moving of vessels and working around the docks in outer space.
The romance of the traditional tugboat was firmly planted in the mind of Lynn Senour when he penned the design for the first Nordic Tug 26, in 1980. The huge success of this model, which made its debut at the Seattle Boat Show, led to the introduction of the even more popular Nordic Tug 32 five years later.
Building on the experienced labor pool available from its sailboat-building parent company, Blue Water Boats Inc., Nordic Tug soon took over the facilities and staff as production of the double-ended ocean ketch “Ingrid” design came to an end. After building one ketch a month for almost 10 years, the assembly line was needed for the 54 initial Nordic Tug 26 orders.
The introduction of the Nordic Tug 32, also designed by Lynn Senour, was again built on the classic tugboat profile. With its nearly plumb bow, rounded stern and false smokestack (hiding a radar reflector), the design went against most of the then-current trends in boat design. While everyone else was rounding off their boat shapes, and finding room for as many staterooms as possible, the Nordic Tug 32 quietly and successfully went in another direction.
Nordic Tug 32+: After 17 years of success, a stalwart undergoes a design transfusion.
By John Shinnick
December 2, 2002
It was an overcast Pacific Northwest summer day, with layers of gray clouds that made Mount Baker only a hazy memory.
In Anacortes, Washington’s small Seafarer’s Memorial Park clubhouse, Jerry Husted — the affable elder statesman and founder of Nordic Tugs — was entertaining a group of marine journalists with a story about the 1980 Seattle Boat Show. The OPEC oil embargo had crippled the power boat market seven years before, and he, a sailboat builder, was about to launch an economical power boat.
“We were advised by our marketing people to set a goal for the 10-day show,” he remembered. “We decided three boats would be a good sales target.
When the show opened, we sold a boat in the first hour. Taking refundable $1,000 deposits, we sold 50 boats over the course of the 10 days.”
The next year, two other tug builders exhibited in the show, but Nordic Tugs’ timing had put the company in the right place at the right time. Today, Nordic Tugs builds 45 boats a year and is adding a new 52-footer to the mix for 2003.
In 1985, Nordic Tugs had perceived a demand for a larger boat — and production efficiencies favor larger boats — so they launched the 32. By 1989, the 32 accounted for 50 percent of Nordic’s sales. By 1994, that figure approached 90 percent.
By 2001, Nordic’s management team realized they were building the “17th annual 1985 model Nordic Tug 32,” according to Jim Cress, the company’s president. “Our customers wanted something different — and the easiest way to get in trouble in the boat building business is to not listen to your customers.”
Nordic Tugs, which now employs a staff of 120, went back to the drawing board to rethink the most successful boat in its line. Its designers tweaked the interior, shifted the engine and played with everything but the profile.
NORDIC TUGS CALLS THEM NEW BOATS. THE 32+ AND the convertible 37.
From the dock, they look the same. The classic tug-yacht design first introduced by Seattle naval architect Lynn Senour more than 20 years ago hasn’t been altered. The tug-like pilothouse is unchanged and the salty faux smokestack still is there.
Dramatic and extensive structural and design changes on the inside, however, make them new and different.
Major examples: The 32 Nordic stateroom has been enlarged and now has space for an island berth. On the 37, the guest stateroom has been tossed out to provide additional space for the master stateroom and the head and for a bonus room that can be adapted to fit the buyers’ needs. On the first convertible 37, that space contained a washer-dryer combo, a small freezer and storage spaces.
You can’t get much closer to the water than you do in a kayak. That kind of one-on-one feeling is what got Vickie Silvia started on boats.
“I started out kayaking as an adult, with a friend who was an avid kayaker,” the 54-year-old from Old Lyme, Connecticut, says. “She took me out and showed me the [Connecticut] river, and that was it. I kayaked for 10 years. It’s so basic — you’re so close to the water — and I fell in love with the river.”
Then she went out on Long Island Sound aboard a friend’s sailboat. “That was it, that was all it took,” Silvia says. She and her partner, Laurie, went from kayakers to boaters, finding themselves the owners of a Catalina 30, a classic cruising sloop with an auxiliary engine. “We had no idea how to sail, but were determined to figure it out.”
Author: BoatingWorld Staff
For the first time since Nordic Tugs were introduced to the public in 1980, major changes have been made to the design of a Nordic Tugs hull. The Burlington, Washington builder has made a design change to the smallest boat in its line: the 32-footer. It has gone from a traditional semi-displacement hull, with a shallow V at the transom, to a tunnel hull. Nordic’s original designer, the late Lynn Senour of Seattle, melded a modern, semi-displacement hull to a tug-like upper works. According to the company, the change to a tunnel hull represents the first input from Nordic’s new naval architect, Howard Apollonio of Bellingham, Washington.
The first reason for the change to a tunnel hull was to allow the bow of the vessel to float slightly higher. The tunnel hull removes some of the buoyancy from the stern of the vessel. The second reason for the change, and one that is in keeping with Nordic’s ongoing quest for fuel efficiency, is to allow for a more horizontal shaft angle and the installation of a larger, more efficient propeller. Our test boat was the second tunnel hull produced, and the factory had not changed the shaft angle or installed a larger prop. Apparently those changes â “ a 1-inch rise in the prop end of the shaft and a 2-inch increase in prop diameter â “ will be made on the next 32 built. The glass hull is predominantly hand-laid, with continuous foam-cored glass stringers. Hull guards are UV-stabilized PVC. All exterior fastenings are stainless steel. The common bonding system leads to a single zinc at the transom, with separate zincs fixed to the rudder, shoe and thruster.