Shaking down the Nordhavn 59 Coastal Pilot


Like most boat manufacturers, Nordhavn looks to adjust its product line to meet the needs of its customers. Nordhavn has developed the 59 Coastal Pilot to serve two different customer groups. On the one hand are the owners who have owned large power voyaging boats and used them for cross-ocean passages. Some of that group may want to downsize for less ambitious power voyaging needs. Another group Nordhavn is targeting are the folks just getting into the long-range voyaging game who may need a starter boat like the 59 CP.

Recently, Nordhavn showcased its new 59 CP for myself and other journalists at an event at the headquarters of Nordhavn’s parent company, Pacific Asian Enterprises (PAE), in Dana Point, Calif. We saw the recently arrived Hull No. 1 of the Nordhavn 59 CP series. It was receiving its final detailing and sea trials. 

Jim Leishman talks with author Greg Rudzinski and Hewitt Schlereth in the 59 CP’s engine room.

Courtesy Nordhavn

The 59’s 1-inch-thick Category A fiberglass semi-displacement hull was carefully laid up at the Xiamen factory in China with meticulous attention focused on total weight and weight distribution during each phase of construction. The idea was to match computer model targets for overall displacement, stability and trim. The benefit of this process resulted in few technical surprises during preliminary tank tests and sea trials. Vice President Jim Leishman, naval architect Jeff Leishman and engineer Phil Arnold did a good job of designing this new semi-displacement hull, which is sure to impress the coastal power cruising community. Future owners and crew of the N59 CP will be getting impressive underway comfort, efficient performance, ease of operation and engine room access.

The interior of the 59 CP, looking aft.

Courtesy Nordhavn

The editors’ sea trial was conducted offshore of Dana Point in fair weather: sea and swell about 2 feet, with 6 to 8 knots of wind, an overcast sky and good visibility. They really were perfect conditions for verifying performance, ride and handling characteristics. With Dana Point on our starboard, the throttles were increased to the maximum continuous rpm of 2,400 on both 715-hp Cummins QSM11 turbo-charged diesels. The average speed over ground, as measured by GPS, was observed at 20.5 knots. This confirmed the design’s targeted maximum speed. The ride was level and steady with the assistance of automatic hydraulic fin stabilizers counteracting roll moments. Rudders were then put hard over to execute a tight turn radius followed by an rpm reduction to an efficient cruising speed of 10 knots. At this speed, fuel consumption is 10 gallons per hour, with a range of 1,100 nautical miles on a full tank. 

During maneuvers, the helmsman has nearly a 360-degree field of view through extra-large, impact-tested, tempered glass windows. In front of the wheel is an exceptional pair of flat Furuno touch screens for radar and chart display. Other controls and instruments appear in an uncluttered clean arrangement. Engine noise at the 10-knot cruising speed is relatively quiet, allowing for normal conversation. Dockside maneuvers were smoothly done using minimal engine rpm with bow thruster assist.

Helm station equipped with twin multifunction displays. 

Courtesy Nordhavn

The N59 CP engine room has headroom of more than 6 feet, with complete walk-around access to both engines. Transmission configuration allows the engines to be moved further back in the hull and enables a separate engine room. Fuel management requires only a quick glance at an external centerline tank gauge sight glass. A single baffled transverse fuel tank doubles as a thermal and sound barrier bulkhead between the main cabin and engine room. Port and starboard fuel fills have unrestricted rates of fuel fill flow. Manhole access on the fuel tank top provides entry into the tank for cleaning. Engine specs for the Cummins QSM11 main engine are: 2,620 pounds, 715 horsepower, 10.8 liters, six cylinders with four valves per cylinder, turbo charged and smoke-free.

In all this is a very capable and comfortable sea boat through the full operational rpm range. Cabin design and layout is first-class. Special thanks to the professional PAE staff.

Greg Rudzinski lives aboard his ketch Nightcap at Channel Islands Harbor.

By Ocean Navigator