John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Nordic Tug 42
Length overall  46' 3"

LWL  40' 2"
Beam13' 10"

Draft 4' 7"
Displacement 31,500 lb (Dry)
Fuel Capacity  600 gals
Water Capacity  200 gals  
Base Price  $625,500  
Price as Tested $725,000

At the height of the 1970's fuel crisis, as powerboat usage and sales were plummeting, Jerry Husted, president of Blue Water Boats (builder of offshore sailboats), saw the need for a fuel-efficient powerboat that would appeal to cruisers. Husted joined forces with Seattle boat designer Lynn Senour to develop what would become the Nordic Tug 26. Capitalizing on the idea that tugboats look good going slow, and they hold macho appeal for men and a cuteness that appeals to women, Husted started Nordic Tugs Inc. With a fuel burn rate of only a half gallon per hour, the revolutionary little tug took the 1980 Seattle International Boat Show by storm and spawned a whole new genre of "tugboat yachts." Today, more than 25 years later, Nordic Tugs has a solid reputation for building high quality boats, which has garnered a loyal following.

Although the Nordic Tug 42 has been around for more than ten years, several changes from the earlier models have made this salty cruiser more versatile and user friendly. The most significant change came in 2003 when the access to the accommodation area moved to a center stairwell. In 2005 Nordic added a flybridge. We took a close look at a new 42 provided by Ben Wilde from Wilde Yacht Sales in Essex, Conn.

Entering the saloon from the aft deck, there is a general impression of openness. An entertainment center is immediately to port and aft. To starboard is an L-shaped dinette with an icemaker fitted neatly into an end table. Forward and to port, there is a well equipped U-shaped galley. I took particular notice of the deep galley sink—a nice feature. Forward, the central stairwell leads up to the pilothouse and down to the accommodations area.

The pilothouse also feels very large and has a 360-degree view. There is an aft-facing seat just to starboard of the wheel—this is a unique feature, which puts the occupant in a position to easily talk to the helmsman or anyone sitting on the settee (aft and to port). A small table at the settee is just big enough for a few drinks and some munchies. The wheel is on center; the helm console is large enough for three large electronic displays. Two doors lead from the pilothouse to the side decks (which are wide enough to comfortably walk fore and aft).

Down below there are two staterooms. The guest stateroom, to port, can also serve as an office/study and laundry room. The full length settee converts to a double bunk for overnight guests. To starboard is the guest head. The master stateroom is forward with an island queen and private head with separate stall shower.

The Nordic 42 is powered by a single 540-hp Cummins QSC 8.3 HO. The engine room is beneath the saloon sole and offers good access for servicing the mechanical systems. Fuel and water tanks are fitted with sight gauges and there is a remote vacuum gauge for the fuel filter. Access to steering gear is made via a lazarette hatch on the aft deck.

Under way, I found the cabin to be quiet and comfortable. An electronic glitch prevented the engine from coming up to speed fully, but Nordic Tugs did provide us with the results of comprehensive performance testing. In our test we were able to achieve an average of 8.3 knots at a cruising rpm of 1300 burning 3.2 gallons per hour. At full throttle the 42 should be capable of reaching 17 knots at 2670 rpm and burn about 26.6 gph.