SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE
As status symbols go, few rival owning a yacht. But while some companies make boats designed to be shown off in marinas, Nordhavn make their yachts for people to actually use. The company was founded by Jim Leishman, Dan Streech and Joe Meglen – three former yacht brokers. Initially, the trio imported and modified boats, but that changed when Jim’s brother Jeff, a naval architect, came onboard.
“They had a long history of boating and an extensive knowledge of boats, so they decided to create their own line,” says Jennifer Stern, Nordhavn’s Director of Marketing. “Jim had the idea that there had to be a way of achieving ocean crossings and world cruising via power. He read the book Voyaging Under Power, and he and Jeff took those concepts and applied it to this long-range cruiser they called the Nordhavn.”
Since that first model, Nordhavn has become a true pioneer in long-distance displacement trawlers, combining sleek design and luxurious interiors with practical technology and engineering knowledge that allows for travel around the world. And that’s not to mention the company’s keen eye for quality construction.
“All of our yachts are ocean rated and built of bullet-proof fibreglass,” says Jennifer. “All you need to do is shut a door on a Nordhavn to feel the difference in heft. Our boats displace more than all others in their class, so our owners aren’t afraid to go places with them. They’ve been through the Northwest Passage and to Antarctica and around Cape Horn.”
Nordhavn’s yachts are sold only by dedicated salespeople, rather than dealers. Not only does this ensure a direct and personal relationship with the company itself, but it means that the person selling the boat knows absolutely everything about it, and has hands-on cruising experience. “Some of the salesmen started out as dock crew and really know the insides of these boats,” says Jennifer. “It makes more sense to buy through someone who has been here for decades, sold umpteen Nordhavns, and who has also learned from past customers. We have total trust in the people who work for us.”
There are currently around 14 Nordhavn models in production, and the company is always looking to enhance and improve the sailing experience for its customers. Sleek aesthetics have caught up with the brand’s reputation for ocean-ready durability, which means a shift in the people buying its yachts: those who not only demand seaworthiness but also first-class interiors. Nordhavn prides itself on making vessels that people will actually use and, to this end, enjoyment is imperative. You don’t necessarily have to travel to Antarctica, but should you wish to, you can make the trip in luxury and comfort. And an increasing number of people seem to be doing just that.
“Our demographic has evolved,” says Jennifer. “In the beginning it was pretty standard – the retired couple who had been sailors their whole lives and wanted to keep doing so from the comfort of an enclosed pilot house. But now it’s getting younger and younger. I think people are re-evaluating what it means to have a fulfilled life and are placing less emphasis on the rat race. They’re deciding they want to quit their jobs and go cruising. These boats are meant to go places and that’s exactly how they’re being used.”