It Now and again there are boats worthy of revisiting, and the Nordic Tug 37 is one such vessel. Though I had the chance to run this trawler a couple of years ago on the Chesapeake Bay through the local dealer, Annapolis Sailyard, still I jumped at a chance to run the Connecticut River on the 2004 model with Ben Wilde of Wilde Yacht Sales in Essex. I met Ben in his lighthouse-shaped office and we headed out onto that beautiful river on a brilliant early fall day. The water was running pretty high, with all the recent rains and a falling tide.
We headed upstream against the current with the single 330 Cummins, got about 16 knots at full throttle of 2800 rpm, and at about 2400 rpm, a cruising speed of about 12 knots. After enjoying the exquisite fall scenery and admiring one particularly beautifully restored wooden catboat lazing up the river under its huge main, we reluctantly turned around and came downstream, doing about 19.3 knots wide open and about 15.4 knots at 2400 rpm. The big rudder provided quick, tight turns with very little banking, and the electronic Morse controls were smooth as latte. Acceleration was surprising for such a big craft, displacing 22,000 pounds.
If you look at one of these semi-displacement hulls out of the water, you'll notice the qualities that provide all that performance, responsiveness and stability: a sharp entry, hard chines, a long, deep skeg that protects the shaft and prop, and that massive rudder.
Standing at the wheel or sitting in the big bench seat, the visibility was pretty good, though the view off the aft port quarter left a little to the imagination. There are opening ports at eye level looking back over the cabin top, which is good for straight back, but not to port.
The 22-inch wide integral swim platform extends the waterline length to nearly 39 feet.
The cabin top deck measures a full 12 and a half feet long and 11 feet wide, protected by a sturdy stainless-steel rail all around and accessible by a stainless ladder. It's a perfect space to throw a party. It extends back to protect the five-foot wide aft deck.
The aft deck itself is a comfortable five feet long, enough space to spread out a couple of folding chairs. A molded bench seat hides the propane tank. An alcove molded into the transom provides handy space for stowing four big fenders, and a hatch in the sole provides access to a lazarette for stowing additional bulky items.
You enter the main saloon through a sturdy gasketed door. Once inside, you're impressed by the openness of the space. There's no bulkhead between the saloon and the raised pilothouse. Large opening windows occupy the port and starboard sides, and the headroom is a full six-and-a-half feet.
The galley takes up the whole starboard side, with a three-burner propane stove and oven, an exceptionally large stainless-steel sink that's a full foot deep, and an expanse of Corian countertop connecting the two. Corian countertops are one of the several upgrades over previous models. A large over/under refrigerator/freezer is built into a cabinet that has additional counter space on top. While all those windows preclude a lot of cupboards -- there's only one cupboard in the corner -- there's plenty of storage space in cabinets and drawers underneath the counter.
The L-shaped settee behind a folding dining table on the port side pulls out to form a six-and-a-half-foot-long double berth. The cabinet in the aft corner ingeniously hides a combination washer/dryer unit.
Take three steps up to the pilothouse, where there are generous sized bench seats port and starboard with storage areas underneath. Another of the upgrades is the use of Blue Seas distribution panels and their placement. The AC distribution panel is under the port bench for shore power and the DC is under the helm seat to starboard, cutting down on any potential confusion between the two.
Forward of the port seat is a huge chart table measuring a full 34 by 56 inches, raised to a good height for plotting and pondering while standing. It's also an excellent stand-up workstation for other tasks, like typing up boat reviews on a laptop.
There are sliding doors on either side to provide ready access to the side decks. The helm is to starboard, with a handsome teak wheel and a broad teak dash for mounting electronic display units. An overhead dash provides additional room for VHF and other accessories.
A large hatch in the teak-and-holly sole reveals the cavernous engine room housing the standard 330 hp Cummins Diesel. There's loads of room all around the engine to attend to any level of service, and plenty of room left over for the Onan generator. This area is so well insulated, you can carry on a normal conversation in the pilothouse with the engine going full-throttle.
Take three steps down the slightly off-center companionway to the accommodations deck. The 37 is now available in two different configurations. One has a single stateroom down there, with a large enclosed head. The model we saw was a more conventional layout, with a master stateroom forward featuring a centerline island double berth braced by hanging lockers and cupboards, and a guest cabin amidships to port with over/under berths, a large hanging locker and a built-in three-drawer bureau. The head is fairly roomy and features a separate shower stall with a molded seat, a vanity with a good amount of counter space and a VacuFlush toilet.
Also new is the availability of an optional flybridge. When one becomes available, I'll be sure to take yet another boat ride and tell you all about it.