THE DIFFERENCE IS IN THE CONSTRUCTION
In our considered opinion, the Nor'Sea 27 is one of only a half-dozen American production boats designed and built to spend a lifetime on the ocean, rather than in a marina. Where most boats are built sufficiently strong to avoid warranty claims and Coast Guard recall lists, the Nor'Sea is built to a different philosophy.
We'd like to tell you how the Nor'Sea is built and let you judge for yourself.
The Nor'Sea hull is hand laminated in one piece -- not two halves glued together. The lamination schedule calls for a minimum of seven layers of alternating 1 1/2 oz, mat and 18 oz. roving on the sides, increasing to nine layers at the waterline, 11 layers at the garboard and 22 layers at the stem, keel, and stern. Thicknesses vary from 5/16" on the side to 3/4" at the keel. Chainplate areas are heavily reinforced. This is approximately the same layup schedule as used on much larger "cruising" boats, i.e., Columbia 41, Tartan 50, Valiant 40, etc.
The lapstrake construction requires approximately 40% more labor hours in layup than a smooth hull. The benefits obtained -- much greater rigidity and strength, and a dryer ride in a choppy sea --· are well worth the extra cost and effort.
Nor'Sea owners can take pride and comfort in knowing they are staking their safety on one-of the strongest hulls ever built.
Nor'Sea ballast is all lead, not iron or iron punchings cast in resin as is most common. Lead is much more dense than iron, resulting in a more stable, stiffer sailing boat.
At Nor'Sea, the designers and builders (and most customers) are aware that more than a few cruising boats have come to heavy-weather grief due to weaknesses in the deck and cabin structure. At Nor'Sea, we believe the deck and house must be immensely strong. Using a fiberglass and wood composite construction, the cabin top is 1 1/4" thick; the decks are 1" thick; and the cabin sides are 3/4" thick.
The Nor'Sea's cockpit is expressly designed for offshore safety. It will not hold enough water to cripple the boat's sailing ability. In addition, two 1 1/2" drains are built in. All deck hardware and ports are solid bronze or stainless, NOT plastic or diecast aluminum alloy. All cleats, rails, etc, are through bolted with stainless backing blocks.
THE HULL-DECK JOINT
The hull-deck joint is the most critical area on any fiberglass boat. Most low-cost boats are built with the hull and deck fastened by an aluminum "H" channel into which the fiberglass is secured by pop rivets or self-tapping screws. Some of the better boats use a combination of self-tapping screws with a bolt every 12" (Westsail) or every 24" (Valiant 40). Consistent with our "super heavy duty" philosophy, the Nor'Sea uses a 1/4" stainless steel bolt and an aircraft stainless steel self-locking nut every six inches.
How often have you heard of vessels rescued (or lost) due to a loss of rudder? The frequency of these reports tells us that most rudders and fastenings are just not strong enough to be reliable in heavy weather.
The Nor'Sea rudder is two layers of fiberglass surrounding a very high density (12 Ib.) foam core. It will withstand repeated hammer blows or minor groundings without significant damage.
As important as the rudder itself are the rudder pintles and gudgeons. Comprising nearly 40 IBS. of high tensile manganese bronze, the three massive sets of pintles and gudgeons provide immense security when great stresses are imposed by heavy weather.
To complete the system, Nor'Sea tiller cheeks are mahogany, with a heavy stainless steel rein- forcement. The tiller itself is 16 laminations of ash and mahogany.
Nor'Sea's are designed to sail oceans where steering is a primary essential. Most sailors take steering for granted -- until it is lost. We intend that Nor'Sea owners need not worry about losing theirs.
The Nor'Sea mast is essentially 2 1/2 times "oversized" with moments of inertia (strength) far exceeding requirements.
Rigging is 7/32 x 19 stainless steel wire, having nearly three times the yield strength required. Turnbuckles are 3/8" size with forged bronze bodies and stainless toggles and jaws, giving a 2-1 safety factor. Chainplates are 1/4" x 1 1/2" stainless steel secured by five bolts going through the reinforced hull. A cost-conscious yacht designer would call this kind of over-rigging wasteful and unnecessary. We don't agree. On this kind of ocean-cruising boat it is not a waste -- it's insurance.
THE DIESEL ENGINE
These days, diesel engines are hardly remarkable on cruising boats. What is remarkable is the way we install diesel engines in our Nor'Sea's. We spend nearly as much on the installation and associated parts: shaft, muffler, tank, hoses, etc, as we do on the engine itself.
There is a great deal of difference between, say, a Yanmar diesel installed in a cheap boat and the same engine installed in a Nor'Sea. We install the engine on massive, heavily reinforced beds to dampen vibration and prolong life. A fiberglass water lift muffler, custom made for Nor'Sea, reduces the exhaust noise to a whisper. The fuel tank is marine series aluminum, making it lightweight and very long lived -- but expensive. Fuel lines are Aeroquip type. All hoses are approved type and of highest quality (many builders cut corners with cheap hose, figuring the boat will be out of warranty if the hoses fail prematurely). The propeller shaft, shaft log, and shaft bearing are greatly oversized for prolonged life. Since the shaft is oversized, the possibility of a bent shaft from water-borne debris being pulled into the propeller is minimal.
We do not consider the engine to be only an "auxiliary" to get you in and out of the harbor. There will be Nor'Sea's powering for thousands of miles, and the engine is installed with extended service in mind. The result of all this extra effort is an amazingly quiet, vibration-free installation that will require a minimum of service and repair.
THE INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR JOINERWORK
The interior of a boat is the easiest place for a builder to cut corners. It is nearly impossible to evaluate interior construction under "boat show" conditions. That is why we encourage prospective Nor'Sea owners to visit the factory and examine boats in progress -- to see for themselves that the Nor'Sea does NOT have shoddy construction covered by a facade of fabrics, veneers and carpeting. Nor'Sea interior work is done to yesteryear's standards. All fasteners are stainless or bronze. Joints are compression glued. Screw holes are plugged with matching wood. Plywood is marine grade. All structural plywood bulkheads have the teak surfaces removed in the fiberglass bond area (many builders will bond directly over the oily teak resulting in possible failure.)
The exterior joinerwork is first rate. Joints are compression glued and screwed. All wood is properly bedded in marine compounds (each Nor'Sea requires a full case of bedding and sealing compounds).
Perhaps the best indication of the Nor'Sea's quality construction is the amount of labor hours spent on each boat. For example, building a Nor'Sea requires nearly the same labor hours as a Westsail 32, twice as many labor hours as an Ericson 27, 50 percent more labor hours than an Islander 28, etc., etc.
When you visit the Nor'Sea plant, you will see a group of boats in varying stages of construction - not an assembly line. A small group of craftsmen is responsible for each phase of a Nor'Sea's construction. The boat does not leave their hands until it is inspected and their work approved. From all the above it is easy to see that the Nor'Sea 27 is more boat than most sailors will ever need. But then, the Nor'Sea is not for everyone. The Nor'Sea is built for those who plan to spend a life on the oceans of the world and want the safest, strongest boat their money can buy. That's Nor'Sea -- the finest small voyaging vessel ever built.