Nordhavn’s newest launch, Aurora, is clearly the company’s most ambitious project to date. With four decks and at 120 feet overall, it dwarfs the rest of the Nordhavn fleet and opens new possibilities for those intent on long distance, global power cruising — in luxury.
After nearly five years of planning and construction, Aurora was launched in the test tank at South Coast Marine in Xiamen, China, in April 2013. The superyacht is now the flagship of the company’s fleet of 18 oceangoing trawler models beginning at a modest length of 40 feet.
Nordhavn, whose parent company Pacific Asian Enterprises (PAE) of Dana Point, Calif., was created in 1974 by Dan Streech, Jim Leishman, and Joe Meglen. PAE originally built offshore sailboats, but transitioned to trawlers in 1988 in response to market demand. Today the name Nordhavn is well known for its rugged, global cruising yachts.
The Nordhavn 120, Aurora, was designed by Jeff Leishman who along with his brother, Jim, and Streech own and operate the company from Dana Point. (Meglen left the company in 2008.)
The new boat is clearly the most luxurious and sophisticated Nordhavn has built to date. Like the other Nordhavns, the 120 is constructed of fiberglass to ABS A-1 yacht service standards. From the keel to 18 inches above the waterline the hull structure is a solid laminate of fiberglass using vinylester resin with a network of full-length, longitudinal and transverse stringers. PAE believes a series of solid laminates in the hull bottom is superior to cored construction, especially because reduced weight is not a requirement with full-displacement designs. The heavier scantlings to which Nordhavns are built not only enhance the overall quality and feel of the boat, they also contribute to its long life and, according to Nordhavn, improve the vessels’ resale value.
The topsides have a Corecell core and the vertical cabin sides are Klegecell R75. Cabin tops and decks are Baltec.
The yacht has four decks, four king-sized guest suites, and a spacious owner’s suite. There are numerous amenities including cedar lined lockers, custom cabin furniture, bookcases, granite counters and floors, wet bars, and variously equipped entertainment centers. Like all Nordhavns the 120 can be customized and equipped to suit the owner’s wishes. Much of the hardware used is custom made to PAE specifications, and is of the highest-grade stainless steel.
The main saloon opens to the stern deck and is complete with a wet bar and comfortable seating areas.
The Nordhavn 120 bridge is all business and features exceptional visibility.
Unlike many yachts that barely handle four diners, the Nordhavn 120 can seat 10 in comfort.
But despite the elegance and luxury appointments, Aurora shares the rugged North Sea trawler looks and pedigree of its sister trawlers.
Beginning on the bridge deck, the ship is all business with two Stidd 500N-2X2 Low Back Slimline helm seats, all system controls and a state-of-the-art electronics package for navigation and global communications. The pilothouse is large and features private captain’s quarters complete with head, shower, and office space. For in-port maneuvering there are port and starboard bridge wing control stations with full engine, steering, rudder angle and thruster controls. Also on the bridge deck aft of the pilothouse there is an enclosed “sky lounge” with settee, dining table, custom inlaid teak coffe table, and wet bar complete with icemaker, dishwasher and wine cooler; beyond that an open sun deck for lounging. There is also a flybridge with an additional wet bar with four stools, two barbeques, and a four-person jacuzzi.
Deck equipment includes two Maxwell VC400 hydraulic stern capstans to port and starboard and dual matched set of Maxwell VWC 11000 hydraulic windlasses with four control stations. For ground tackle Aurora carries 800 feet of three-quarter-inch stud link chain and two Aritex stainless steel Pool anchors. For handling the yacht’s two tenders there is a 3,500-pound capacity hydraulic davit with an extendable boom mounted on the centerline of the foredeck.
A hydraulically-operated Opacmare passerelle with rotation, in/out, up/down and remote control operation is installed to ease Mediterranean mooring situations.
Other deck gear includes hatches, doors, windows, deck boxes, storage bins and lazarettes that are all built to take decades of strenuous use.
Below the bridge is the main deck. The owner’s suite and lounge are forward followed by professionally-equipped, stainless steel-lined galley with stone counter tops, elegant main dining area, and a spacious saloon as you move aft. The interior woodwork is all teak, including the cabin sole in the pilothouse.
Crew quarters, crew lounge, and guest cabins are all located below the main deck along with the ship’s laundry with two washers and two dryers, crew laundry with a single washer/dryer, and A/V equipment room. The ship’s air conditioning system is an MTD three-stage, 450,000-BTU unit. The overall living space on Aurora is about 3,200 square feet.
For power Aurora is equipped with twin MTU 2000 M72, 965-hp (2,250 rpm) marine diesels, ZF3310 5.0:1 marine gears turning Hung Shen 60-inch, five-bladed props equipped with Spurs line cutters. There is heat exchanger cooling and a wet exhaust system. Total fuel capacity is 17,500 gallons and cruising speed is roughly 13 knots.
Auxilary power is provided by twin 99-kW Onan model 99MDDCE gensets. The main AC power system is 208 volts, 60 Hz. The system is 24 volts with 12-volt DC for navigation and communication electronics when 24-volt electronic equipment is not available. There is a 24-volt emergency lighting system and two 100-amp shore connections with Glendinning Cablemaster CM-8 cable reels at the transom. A 75-kVA Atlas SPA frequency converter allows the vessel to connect to shore power from 180 to 520 volts AC, single or three-phase, 40 to 70 Hz, and convert the ship’s voltage to 120/208 and 60 Hz.
Aurora is equipped with a Jastram hydraulic steering system and a TRAC 20-inch, 100-hp bow and stern thruster for maneuverability in close quarters.
Like the other Nordhavns, Aurora has a displacement hull designed for ocean voyaging in all conditions. There is one collision bulkhead forward and six watertight bulkheads. The hull is rigid thanks to 24 longitudinal stringers and a heavy laminate schedule.
Aurora’s naval architect designed her waterline length to hit a wave period sweet spot. This length allows Aurora to handle a variety of wavelengths and thus makes long passages more comfortable. For additional stability there is a TRAC stabilizer system with four 370 actuators and fins which work at anchor and underway. Stability is further enhanced with the addition of 60,000 pounds of lead ballast.
Following delivery in China, Aurora made the passage across the North Pacific to its homeport of Vancouver on it’s own bottom. It was a fitting testimony of Nordhavn’s confidence in Aurora’s designer, engineers and builders.