Fishing palace king of the water

By Mike Rose

When it comes to stylish sportfishing, there is almost nothing that compares with the new Nordhavn 75 Expedition Yachtfisher.

As a general rule, big game sportfishing is an insular activity.

It often happens a long way from land, a long way from any other vessels and with a relatively small crew to witness the action.

It is not generally considered much of a spectator sport (the rare exception being when the warm waters of the tropics occasionally flow close to the Taranaki coast and the lucky folk of New Plymouth can stand on the breakwater and watch the fish being fought).

Yet, if one owned the recently launched and undeniably spectacular Nordhavn 75 Expedition Yachtfisher, that would not necessarily be the case. Instead of heading away with just a hardened bunch of gamefishers, one could take a crew of spectators - and guarantee them a stadium-like view of the action while knowing they were also safely out of the way.

Although, at first glance, the Nordhavn 75 Expedition Yachtfisher may appear similar to a traditional sportfisher (if somewhat more substantial), it is actually a different creation.

As its name and Nordhavn pedigree suggest, this is a vessel capable of long passages and designed and built to cope with the rigours of offshore boating.

This is, therefore, no go-fast lightweight; its hull is neither deep-vee nor semi-displacement. Based on a North Sea fishing trawler, the Nordhavn instead moves through the water like any other full-displacement trawler.

It is therefore able to cruise comfortably at 9 to 10 knots and, perhaps more importantly and thanks to an impressive tankage of 16,689 litres, can cruise for a long way.

For example, at 9 knots (a more than acceptable offshore cruising speed), it boasts a range of 3950 nautical miles. Even at a considerably quicker 12.5 knots, the range is still a very respectable 1850 miles.

And, in the unlikely event one really needs to boogie, this 118-tonne fishing palace will reach a top speed of 14.5 knots - courtesy of a brace of 740hp MTU diesels.

That term "fishing palace" is actually a pretty apt description for the Nordhavn 75 Expedition Yachtfisher. With an LOA of 22.68m, a waterline length in excess of 20m and a beam of 6.81m, this must surely be among the world's largest and most luxurious pleasure fishing vessels.

For a start, the cockpit is pure battlewagon. There is just a tiny boarding platform protected by a trio of upright pushpits, the latter easily removable while fishing. Once up the small port companionway and into the cockpit, there is little in the way of distraction: there are rod holders around the coamings and across the transom, half a dozen or so more at the front of the cockpit (in a pair of stylish stainless-steel racks) and large sets of scuppers on both sides.

And that's it: no modules, no clutter, nothing but clear cockpit space in which to work. Move a little further forward, however, and it is quite a different story. Up three steps, one reaches what Nordhavn co-founder and principal designer Jim Leishman calls the California deck. A shaded outdoor area on the level of the main saloon, this is, as he explains, a massive advance on the standard two-tier cockpit sometimes found on other large sportfishers.

"Big exotic sportfish boats might have a bench seat going across the back of the saloon," he says. "However, on the 75 you can have 10 people up on that California deck with beverages and hors d'oeuvres."

What's more, all 10 will have a ringside view of the action while not being in anybody's way - and while staying safe from the gaffs and other sharp objects used when fighting fish.

This California deck is not the only viewing platform overlooking the cockpit. Just above, an observation deck to the rear of the raised pilothouse provides another uninterrupted view down to the action.

With integral bench seats on the deck below and free-standing ones above, the Nordhavn therefore offers stadium-like viewing (of the corporate box variety) of a sporting action usually seen only by those taking part. How those doing the actual fishing, tracing, tagging and the rest feel about this one can only surmise: no pressure, lads.

As one would expect of a vessel of this type and size, the interior is as sumptuous as the exterior is practical. Unlike on many of the smaller sportfishers, there has been no suggestion of enclosing the for'ard part of the saloon. Instead, there are forward-facing ports of 160mm tempered glass to complement the larger windows along the side and at the rear.

Leishman has also used his experience in designing ocean-going passagemakers to ensure that the galley and its granite benchtop have been positioned aft of the 75's pitch axis, ensuring a smoother ride for the chef, especially in a seaway.

One would expect the standard of appointment and finish to be exceptionally high on a vessel of this calibre, and the latest Nordhavn does not disappoint.

Among its special features is a deck hatch just ahead of the main saloon. Open this, walk down a short flight of stairs and you come face-to-face with the yachtfisher's own wine cellar.

Capable of holding a capacious collection of fine vintages, it has been designed so each bottle lies in its own individual compartment, keeping it steady and safe regardless of the sea conditions.

The man or woman responsible for ensuring the 75's safe passage has not been forgotten, either. The helm station overlooks the cockpit and there are remote controls on both sides of the Portuguese bridge for docking.

In addition to the big Detroit diesels, the 75 Yachtfisher also boasts heavy-duty 38-horsepower bow and stern thrusters. These can be called into service when fighting an energetic gamefish, too; making the large 75 at least as manoeuvrable as a typical light-displacement sportfisher.

And for those keen to watch the action but not wanting the hassle of actually being outside, this "stadium gamefisher" has the answer again: there is plenty of good viewing space up on the bridge, alongside the skipper. And one doesn't even have to stand to watch.

Nordhavn 75
LOA: 22.68m
LWL: 20.32m
Beam: 6.81m
Draft: 2.11m
Displacement (dry): 117.93 tonnes
Ballast: 9072kg
Construction: GRP
Fuel capacity: 16689 litres
Water capacity: 2271 litres
Maximum speed: 14.5 knots
Cruising speed: 9-10 knots

- NZ Herald

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