Nauticat 441

Uncharted waters part 1: Going forward

  • Posted on: 14 January 2011
  • By: Andrus

Here starts our five part trilogy about searching for new Suwena.
Suwena anchored on Archipelago Sea
When we started the boating in 2008 we really fell into it at once. We have been travelling across the globe for our work several times a year, but still the boating brings a new angle to destinations. On our voyages we have been visiting in the places which are already known to us beforehand by a car, by a train or by an airplane but arriving by the boat feels totally something different.

The living aboard in a harbor several days we get to see the place much more by the eyes of local people. We look around for food stores, use public transportation and interact with other people about what and how to do. This gives us much more deep experience than only being in tourist traps. We have been fascinated by the exploration of local culture.
Suwena is visitting friend's summerhouse
The boating has many faces. For some it is day sailing trips to nearby destinations, for the others the boat is more like a moving villa, still others become fascinated by competitions and regattas and for some it's exploration of the new places. We certainly belong to the latter class of cruisers.

During the winter our job is very intensive and possibility to have long summer cruises is an amazing thing for us. Our relationship contains a lot of co-working and spending free time together so last summers 8 week cruise felt very natural to us. We noticed that we both really like boating with all the challenges. So very typical to us we started planning long term targets for our cruising grounds as well.

So far we've been cruising for three seasons, behind us is more than 3000 nautical miles and 64 different harbors in Finland, Estonia and Russia. We are very eager to explore by the boat also the rest of the Baltic Sea countries.
Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Pattaya Thailand
Active boaters in Ocean Marina Yacht Club
It is not a surprise that our trips into Europe and Asia we have found ourselves from exploring local marinas whenever possible. In Thailand we searched for sailing course ads from bulletin board on marina wall. In Hong Kong we arranged ourselves as guests into Hong Kong Royal Yacht Club where we can now visit for one week each year. Barcelona Port Olimpic was a place of study about med mooring techniques. We planed for a long time how to med moor Suwena taking into account the visual impairment of Eve.
Hong Kong Royal Yacht Club
Marina service dinghy of HKRYC
On our honeymoon we did a Mediterranean cruise. Our total trip was more than 2500 nautical miles and we stopped in the places like Venice, Santorini, Piraeus, Istanbul, Napoli, Civitavecchia, Livorno, Marseille and Barcelona. Luxury cruise was very fabulous. However we did miss the opportunity to study these beautiful cities as the ship stopped in each location for one day only. So our target is that we can one day explore Mediterranean by Suwena in our own pace.
Yachts moored in Mediterranean way in Italy
Med mooring in Orbetello

Uncharted waters part 2: The ocean going motorboat

  • Posted on: 16 January 2011
  • By: Eve

After making our target we started to think about what kind of a boat we need to fulfill our dream.

For exploring the Baltic Sea our boat Skorgenes 335 Fly would be good enough. Her technical capabilities and living quarters are suitable for small scale cruising, but she has only one engine. Full tanks get her to 200 nautical miles distance, therefore passage planning must mainly be done according to refuel possibilities. Thus we started to look for next Suwena.

We set to ourselves a target to find a boat that is capable to cross the oceans. Also a livability is important to us so we could enjoy ourselves on ocean crossings and in harbors for longer time periods as well. New Suwena will be our floating home indeed.

The boating fairs are a good place to start searching for a new cruising boat and so we went to several fairs as Helsingin venemessut, Düsseldorf Boot and Southampton Boat Show. In Germany and UK the variety of presented boats were larger than in Finland and it was a lot of walking and note taking to make comparisons and understand the choices. As motor boaters we started with motor boats.
Southampton Boat Show

Swedish Nord West 420 is a planing boat and it's bigger than Suwena, but in many ways Nord West very similar to her. There is space to live on board for longer time and plenty of options, even including the washing machine. The boat was very nice both inside and outside as well. We also received an excellent service on stand. The 42 feet Nord West is equipped with two engines but as a planing boat very long voyages can't be achieved. Therefore she does not become our new Suwena.

» Nord West Yachts

Trader 42 Signature from UK looked intriguing. The boat was built very well and a livability was excellent. There were several options for changing the layout of cabins, both helm stations and deck space as well. We think that livability in Trader was one of the best we saw in these shows. Also Trader was the only motorboat to feature the winches on back deck to assist with mooring lines. Overall the boat was built very strongly. If we would have been looking for planing boat, Trader would have been in very strong position as new Suwena.
Trader 42
Trader 42 flybridge

» Trader Yachts

We also visited numerous other similar boats but planing and semi displacement boats weren't suitable for us because of fuel consumption. Thereafter we narrowed our search to full displacement boats only.

The choice of motorboats with displacement hulls was limited. We only found boats from USA and Netherlands.

From Dutch boats only Elling was interesting to us. Others were more or less designed as canal boats that are marketed for sea areas as well but we were not convinced. For example on the Linssen the helmsman's chair wasn't fixed to the deck. We just wonder what good that might do in open sea :-? Of course if the trips are mainly done in Finnish archipelago or Saimaa lakes the Linssen is a viable option. We also looked at the other Dutch boats and all of them had something we really didn't like. The first impression from these boats is: the floating caravan.

Exception in yachts from Holland is the Elling that we considered as one of the alternatives for us. Elling E3 was presented in water in Southampton Boat Show. Her layout is very similar to sailboat without the mast even thou it is full featured motor boat. Elling's specialty is self righting hull in other words, it is designed to work the same way as a lifeboat.
Elling E3
Elling's salon is designed to be a very charming and modern. We felt like being in a design villa by all positive meanings. Oval shaped settee gave a really open feeling. It also has an impression that even a larger party could spend a good long evening there. Elling E3's kitchen was not any more a small pentry but a full kitchen, including a wine cellar as well. She had three cabins and one of them can be equipped as an office.
Elling E3 salon
Elling boats have usually one engine only but they can be ordered with a small get-home engine. Elling has rather low profile and she can pass through the most European canals, the Paris center is fully reachable. The range is quite good and full tanks take her 1500 nautical miles. Elling E4 has crossed the Atlantic Ocean by using extra fuel strapped in canisters on deck.

We think Elling E3's weaknesses are the poor helm station ergonomics and the access to engine room. By building excellent living quarters the space for technical equipments is clearly too small considering easy maintenance accessibility. Elling yacht would be a very good alternative as a new Suwena should we have no desire to cross the oceans one day.

» Elling Yachts

Nordhavn was the love at first sight when we had the opportunity to explore the yachts. Nordhavn 47 would be a perfect boat for our needs. She is a full displacement ocean going motorboat with the range of 3000 nautical miles. She has the both main engine and an auxiliary get-home engine. The fuel system is very well designed, the day tank is filled through additional fuel filter and therefore the fuel to engine is always clean and engine's reliability grows.
Nordhavn 47
Nordhavn's layout was in different league compared to the others. Living quarters are just like in a private house and an engine room is made for continious use. For example a guy as tall as Andrus (180 cm) can stand beside the engine with his back straight. Similar technical spaces we have not seen in any other pleasure boat.
Nordhavn 47 engine room
Nordhavn 43 fuel system
Nordhavn has really been succeeded to create a large boat that a couple can handle and maintain by themselves. Several Nordhavns travel at present on circumnavigation with the couple as a crew.

Norhavn 47 has two decent size cabins with own heads and showers and a big salon. Kitchen is not anymore a pentry by any mean but rather a full chef's kitchen. There are plenty of cold spaces: separate cooler and refrigerator in addition to two freezers. Galley even includes garbage press and the boat has a tremendous amount of storage space.

The helm station is at amidships with a lot of space for navigation equipment and not forgetting a separate bunk for a captain. The Nordhavn is like a miniature ship. A dinghy can be stored on upper deck from where also can be climbed to the flybridge. The second helm station is also located on flybridge.
Nordhavn 47 command bridge
Nordhavn 43 is a little sister to Nordhavn 47. She has same layout but everything is a little bit smaller even thou she is still a very huge boat. Despite of her length being only 13 meters she weights over 27 metric tons. The same numbers of Nordhavn 47 are 14.5 meters for length and 39 metric tons for weight.

We started negotiation about the both of 43 and 47 and reserved a sea trial. Already beforehand we followed the blogs of Nordhavn owners. Nordhavns have circumnavigated many times and have been in very demanding places. For example in 2009 Norhavn 59 passed through the north east passage.

We were served by Philip Roach from Nordhavn Southampton office. Co-operation with Philip was very good and we got an excellent idea what it means to own and use a Nordhavn yacht. As time passed we also negotiated with the Nordhavn owner Dan Streech.
Philip Roach

» Nordhavn Yachts

After running through the fairs and searching the net, the only real option for motorboat was Nordhavn, because she is the only ocean crossing capable motorboat in serial production today. We also decided to search for sailboats before the final decision and started to wait for Nordhavn seatrial.

Uncharted waters part 3: Sailboat, home at sea

  • Posted on: 19 January 2011
  • By: Eve

Would a sailboat be an option for us? Sailboats are used routinely to do circumnavigations and there are a plenty of choices. So we started to look at sailboat options. We used a similar list of requirements that we did for motorboats. Helsinki, Düsseldorf and Southampton boat shows all featured plenty of different sailboats and we took a lot of notes and made comparisons.

After running around the boat shows and exploring different brand sailboats we noticed that yachts made in serial production in France and Germany are rather similar. In large series boats are made cost effectively but on the other hand their personality and even comfortability suffer. But their price of course is much more reasonable.

We studied among the others the yachts with a length approx. 40 feet from the following brands: Bavaria, Beneteau, Jeanneau, X-Yachts, Saare, Hanse and Moody. All of them had theirs own charm but for one or another reason they did not felt our boat. In most of the production boats the main problem was that there was very little or not at all any possibilities to make changes into the layout so we could be comfortable with her.
Beneteau sailboats in Southampton Boat Show
We got more acquainted with Bavaria during our sailing course in 2009 December in Tenerife. We had Bavaria 51 cruiser as our training boat and our instructor was Erkki Salonen from Wilhelmina Sailing Ltd. During the week we had a lot of discussions with Erkki about what we should consider in our new Suwena. We thought about requirements what our cruising area brings and about limitations of our crew size. We pondered about options in rigging, possible sail combinations, number of winches and other equipments.
On sailing course in Tenerife
At the same time with theory we got used to work on sailboat deck both in harbours and on ocean swell as well. During this we found for example that handling a spinnaker with so small crew may not be successful.

We also had some rough conditions when the wind picked up and rose to 18 m/s with the waves being almost 4 meters at the time. It made us to think about what kind of equipment we need for surviving in storm by two of us only. The course boat had traditional mainsail. We noticed that in good conditions the handling was not a problem but in more windy situations mainsail with furling system would be better for us.
Andrus at the helm of Bavaria 51
Eve at the helm of course boat
It looks like electricity and electrical systems are a headache in most of the boats. As an entrepreneurs we are very tied to our companies. Even during our summer cruise we have to do some work. At worst this means that two laptops are being run full time. Therefore one big requirement for a new Suwena is the electric system. We have followed many sailors and their sailboats. The electrical problems seem to be more rule than the exception. Batteries are empty and there are not enough power for chartplotter or radar. Our future boat's electrical system must be designed to handle large continuous loads and that is not very typical for a sailboat.

We would like to get a boat with the length of at least 40 feet, so she will be our home also on our longer voyages in the future. But the bigger boats tend to have more cabins than we really need and most sailboat manufacturers do not allow any changes in boat’s layout. We understand the need for cabins in case the boats are used in competitions and there are a plenty of crew to fine tune the sails. These boats are also used as charter yachts and then bigger number of cabins are needed. However we plan to travel with just two of us as a crew. In addition Eve's blindness reduces our operating possibilities and the boat should be safe and fully handleable with the crew of "one and a half" persons.

As there is a limited crew we need to make many things in a different way and thus we think that inside helm station gives us more opportunities to operate the boat. However inside helms are not common among the sailboats. We did not like the lifelines that most sailboats use as a railings. Maybe that is because our current Suwena has really good and strong stainless steel tube railings that also gives additional safety element to Eve.

On the boat shows we were visiting in several sailboats which had squeaks and groans in their hulls when children run on a deck. Even if these boats are designed for blue water sailing we are not willing to take our souls in this kind of a boat into the middle of the ocean. Our current Suwena's hull is very strong, bottom thickness is 20 mm of solid laminate and there have never been any creepy sounds. We would like also our new boat to feature the hull made of solid laminate. Whenever we found the yacht made with the sold laminate hull she had a layout not pleasing us and no possibility to make customizations.

At some point we thought about catamaran as one option and went to see the Lagoons in Southampton Boat Show. Additionally in Merikarvia we had a Lagoon catamaran Kaljuska as our neighbour. Kaljuska's owners were happy to present their boat to us and we learned about differences, benefits and disadvantages between catamarans and monohulls. However catamaran's width limits its usage and therefore catamaran did not feel like our boat.
Catamaran Kaljuska in Merikarvia
It looked like we do not find a sailboat for us until we run into Nauticat yachts. In discussions with the boatyard we found immediately solutions to all our requirements. Their range included several options that could be potentionally customized as our boat. Nauticat's philosophy is that for each customer they will build a boat to his needs. Each Nauticat is built fully with one-off principle and therefore there are no two same looking Nauticats in the world.

We got so exited about Nauticats in Helsinki floating boat show that we spend one complete day aboard one of their yachts, being a "troublemaker" and asking all kind of questions. We studied Nauticat yacht options thoroughly both in the boat show and later in the boatyard after which we chose the pilothouse sailboat 42 and traditional motorsailer 441 as options to continue the negotiations.

Stop the press!

Nauticat 441 is the CE B-category boat and we have a dream to cross the oceans one day. Nauticat Yachts Ltd managing director Kaj Gustafsson told that "CE B-classification is due to EU certification requirements that count side doors as the downflood opening. Even thou the 441's aluminium frame doors are watertight enough EU officials speculate that a crew member may forget the door open and the doorstep will be thus counted as a downflood opening. The whole yacht is however designed and built fully according to the CE category A requirements. In other countries like Japan, Nauticat 441 is approved as an ocean capable yacht."
Nauticat 441 deck
From the first sight we were fascinated by how comfortable and liveable Nauticat interior feels. Plastic moulded surfaces are not visible from anywhere. Interior is designed and made with good taste and professionalism. The hull is solid laminate and it made absolutely no sound even the other customers went in and out all the day in the fair. And as a last thing, Nauticats are made here in Finland and Finnish quality craftsmanship is very well known all around the world.

We got strongly interested in Nauticats and asked for an offer for the both of 42 and 441 models and agreed upon a seatrial.

» Nauticat Yachts

Nauticat 441
We noticed that we found two yachts made with very different idealogical principle: Nordhavn and Nauticat. However the both of them shared a good deal of similarities. Nordhavn is like a miniature ship and Nauticat, especially as a ketch, is like a small sail ship. Other similarities are:

  • hull made from solid laminte
  • the both yachts are customized for customer needs
  • all around the boat the very strong parts are used even starting from door hinges
  • the both yachts have internal and external helmstation and the both helms can actually be used
  • similar level of comfort: full kitchen with plenty of cold space, 2 cabins, 2 heads, separate shower, very nice full teak interior and tremendous amount of storage space
  • two separate power sources
    Nordhavn: main engine and get-home wing engine
    Nauticat: sails and engine
  • similar size engine power
  • well designed electric system that can handle large continuous loads
  • generator is placed in a way that a maintenance is possible
  • despite the big size and mass of the boat, both of them can be handled by a couple
  • the boats of the both boatyard's have circumnavigated and sailed in demanding conditions like Northwest Passage and Cape Horn
  • being in either one of the boats make us smiling all the time

After eager search for the choices of new Suwena we laughed we have the N and the N as an option but whichever N? It took a lot of sweat to make a comparison and consider all possible and impossible things. We decided however we need to have a seatrial of both boats. Of course we have looked behind every panel and searched thoroughly through the both boats, but Suwena will be bought for a cruising, not for standing in marinas and therefore we think the both boats will tell us a lot about their soul on seatrial.

Uncharted waters part 4: Seatrials of Nordhavn and Nauticat

  • Posted on: 27 January 2011
  • By: Eve

The search of a new Suwena is advanced to the point that we had two very different boats based on different technology: Nordhavn and Nauticat. We had arranged a seatrial of both boats to understand their soul better and highlight theirs traits.

First we had a seatrial of Nordhavn where we had a pleasure to test the both Nordhavn 43 and 47 boats as we still had both of them as an options for new Suwena. On a Nordhavn 43 we made a short trip from Hamble Point Marina to Solent. On Nordhavn 47 we motored from Hamble Point Marina to Southampton Boat Show docks.

Seatrials on both Nordhavns went very well. Our perception on how stable Nordhavn boats are underway only increased. The engine sound was barely noticeable in pilothouse and cabins as the sound insulation is well done. The crew can easily take a rest and sleep in Nordhavns underway.
Noise level inside Nordhavns are very quiet compared to other motorboats and sailboats that use engine underway.
Soundproof door to engine room of Nordhavn 43
Because the engine noise was almost non-existent inside the boat we were surprised about its noise level outside on the flybridge. On both boats which we tested had a dry exhaust that is implemented by running the funnel vertically to the top of the boat. We like to spend time on a flybridge a lot and therefore the noise was a disappointment for us.

Here are a little background information about exhaust systems. Nordhavn yachts are supplied with either a dry or a wet exhaust. The dry exhaust means that the exhaust gases are run from engine through a silencer to the funnel. The funnel runs through the entire boat and ends on the top of the boat. This solution is used e.g. in all ships. It has a benefit that there is no need for an impeller and seawater is not circulated in the engine. This again reduces the possibility of clogging the engine cooling system because the engine coolant is circulated in a separate cooler plate, usually mounted on the bottom of the hull. Wet exhaust contains the heat exchanger. By using the water pump which is made from impeller the seawater is pumped into the heat exchanger. Inside the heat exchanger the engine coolant is cooled down. The exhaust gases are mixed with the water leaving the heat exchanger and run through the exhaust pipe into the sea.

We were interested in a wet exhaust because the huge funnel running through the boat takes a lot of space and we would like to get a quiet flybridge. It would be much nicer to drive long legs from outside helm without the exhaust noise. Nordhavn 47 is manufactured with both exhaust systems but Nordhavn 43 is only made with dry stack, and therefore 43 got some negative points from us.

For us the new thing in Nordhavn was its way to float and run in water compared to our planing hull Suwena. Full displacement boats roll much more softly compared to planing boats. Both Nordhavns had hydraulic stabilizers that worked well.
Keel, skeg and stabilizers of Nordhavn 43
We made a throughout comparison between the 47 and the 43 to find out which Nordhavn would be better suited for us. The 43 is Nordhavn 47's little sister where everything is a little bit smaller but the layout is pretty much same. In Nordhavn 47 the feeling is like in a private house and at the same time in the 43 all same spaces are compressed into smaller space making compromises in usability. Full ocean going motorboat needs a lot of equipment. We think that the Nordhavn 43 is stuffed full of too many things, because behind many panels and doors are technical installations consuming room from storage space. The 43 is extremely nice boat but with all our additional options it becomes too full.

For example in Nordhavn 43 the flybridge is fully filled by two seats alone and this was bothering us a lot compared to the 47's flybridge. We like the flybridge a lot as a helmstation and as a lounging space. Another example is the 47's side deck which is super safe underway and in harbour manoeuvres as well. In the 43 it is only a narrow rim with a railing on starboard side. Also the guest cabin is much smaller in the 43. We were interested in possibility to use the 47's guest cabin as an office. Of course the 43's guest cabin is smaller because it still includes separate head and shower.
Nordhavn 47 side deck
Eve on the portuguese bridge of Nordhavn 47
Crane on the upper deck of Nordhavn 47
The Nordhavn 47 felt like an ideal boat to us layout wise but its size started to feel challenging. Could we manage her just by two of us? The 43 again would be size wise (boats length is 13.1 m) more suitable but we felt that too many compromises are made in her design. After balancing all things we decided that the 47 is the only option for us from Nordhavn.
Salon of Nordhavn 47
Eve in the galley of Nordhavn 43
Nordhavn 47 is just a magnificent boat. All compromises between different spaces have succeeded very well. However she is a huge boat. Her length is 14.5 meters and weight about 39 metric tons. We started to have a suspicion inside if we can manage her in all possible situations. Also we need to consider our near term sailing area, the Baltic Sea. With Nordhavn 47 would not fit into smaller harbours any more.

Also the price stated to reach the threshold. The CEO of PAE, manufacturer of Nordhavns, Mr Dan Streech made very competitive offer about one of the show boats, so we started to ponder about Nordhavn offer and waited for a Nauticat seatrial.

From Nauticat we asked for an offer from two yachts: pilothouse sailing yacht 42 and traditional motorsailor 441. Already in the early phases after studying the specifications of the both boats we leaned towards the 441 model.

Nauticat 441 is an updated version of Nauticat 44 model. Her hull shape has been developed further and pilothouse roof has lowered for a better sailing performance. The 441's hull is also about 30 centimetres longer than previous the 44. Side doors are aluminium framed and watertight in new 441. On the deck the decent size cockpit is nowadays part of the deck and coming from the mould. Beneath the cockpit benches are integrated storage space. In addition there are a huge amount of smaller improvements.

The internal space of Nauticat 441 is much larger than compared to the sailboat model 42. This is due to different hull shapes. The 441 has a full keel and she benefits from an excellent directional stability. On the other hand she is not as agile as sailboats with fin keel. However during the seatrial we noticed that she is quite nimble in turns as she must be because of her huge rudder. In addition the rudder is supported by a skeg. Full keel and skeg together make it less likely that any ropes or wires floating in a water will get stuck in propeller because there are no separate fins. The full keel is also an advantage in possible grounding because there will be no torque to applied to keel unlike in a fin keeled boats. The full keel was to our liking considering our future sailing area.

One of our requirements for a sailboat is an internal steering station that is not commonly available on sailboats. Nauticat 42's internal helm is for sure workable solution but the boat can only be steered by standing in helm to have a sufficient visibility. however in the 441 the visibility from helm is good even when sitting.

We think that a liveability in the 441 is much better compared to traditional sailboats and this is a benefit of the side doors. It is easier to enter and exit the boat by side doors than to use a companionway. Mostly the cruising time is spent being moored and living aboard. Every Nauticat is an unique and built as one-off boat according to the customers requirements. The boatyard proposed to us a layout made to our needs. Actually we had four different versions, revisioned until all spaces have found theirs locations. During this process we visitted over 10 different Nauticats to see different things customers have chosen and the yard has built into their yachts. Of course in addition of layout the complete rig and all equipment is fully customizable.
Nauticat 441 salon and galley
Nauticat 441 aft cabin
Nauticat 441 washing machine is located in shower
We spent several days in the show boat in Helsinki. In many other yachts of other brands we started to find little mistakes, annoyances and design flaws the longer we opened all the hatches and panels. The Nauticat was different, the more we studied her, the more we understood how well its design and manufacturing is done.

We were also fascinated by a ketch rig. Naturally the sloop rig should have a better performance by using the same sail area. In a ketch the sail area is divided between several sails and there are more sail trimming options, especially in strong wind. In the ketch the stress of sail is less and thus the ketch rig should handle unexpected situations involving strong wind better. Also a mizzen gives an option to achieve better sail trim in strong wind. And last but not least the ketch rig with the full sails are stunningly beautiful.
Nauticat 441
We had a seatrial of Nauticat 441 in two different occasions. First we were in Italy, where we mostly were motoring and studying the boat. On the day of seatrial the weather turned against us and there was no wind (wind was only 1 m/s), and we agreed for another day in Finland. Second seatrial was in Airisto when we sailed from Turku to Nauvo. The wind was 10 m/s and we sailed most of our leg. In the beginning we motored out from Turku directly into headwind. We were happy about how the 441 took the waves. Because of her pointy bow she just cut through them like nothing.
Nauticat 441 in Orbetello
Starting of Nauticat 441 seatrial
Andrus at  helm of Nauticat 441
Nauticat 441 aft cabin
Eve in Nauticat aft cabin during the seatrial
We also sailed with all three sails. We think she sailed very nicely with the speed 7.5 knots in the beam reaching wind of 10 m/s. From dimensions the Nauticat 441 is a long and narrow boat. Even length of boat is 14.8 meters, her beam is only 3.75 meters. This should be a good trait also in an ocean conditions.

Different from other sailboats the Nauticat 441 has side doors instead of traditional companionway. One of the few things that we were worried about was the usability of side doors when sailing and the boat is heeled. After the sails were up and the boat was nicely heeled on beam reach on Airisto we used windward doors in comfort and there were no problems in using them at all.

To make a choise of new Suwena was a tight place for us and putting everything together took plenty of time and a lot of pondering. The decision started to form after all seatrials when we had an experience of the both boats underway. We started to shift towards the Nauticat as her size was better suited for us than Nordhavn 47. Some part of the decision was on the boat price and also on unbelievable customer service. We've been helped to solve countless amount of details by Kaj Gustafsson, Tuula Gustafsson and the complete sales team of Nauticat Yachts. It did not matter whatever we asked, we always had a response on a same or at latest the next day. And it was regarding to the layout drawings, technical details, offer details or any other point as well.
Nauticat 441 in test pool
One selection criteria was the backup power source. This was fulfilled in the both boats. We must also not forget about an ecological aspect. The sailboat does not need fuel when underway. Accordingly the cost of fuel increases all the time and it may not be easily available in all corners of the world so regarding the running costs, insurance etc. the Nauticat is cheaper to maintain.

Because our new Suwena's layout is a customized we were very confident that Nauticat boatyard can build a boat that we will really love. We have also received a positive feedback from other Nauticat owners that the yard will take good care of their customers also after the yacht delivery.

So we signed the contract to build a new Nauticat 441 Suwena during the summer of 2010 and now we are eagerly waiting for next summer and our new Suwena.

Uncharted waters part 5: New Suwena

  • Posted on: 5 February 2011
  • By: Eve

New Suwena is being built right now at full speed in Nauticat Yachts boatyard in Pöytyä, Finland. In the mean time we are waiting very impatiently for the next May. The Suwena will be launched into water then.
Suwena in Nauticat Yachts boatyard
Here is a small teaser about our upcoming boat. The new Suwena is a sailboat Nauticat 441, hull number 181. The yacht's length including the bowspirit and swimming platform is 14.58 meters.

Suwena has a ketch rigging. She has two masts: main and mizzen mast. The sail plan includes a total of five different sails: main and mizzen sails, genoa, gennaker and storm jib. The primary sails are all fitted with a furling systems. The gennaker is fitted with the sock and there is a separate forestay for rising the storm jib.

For an engine we chose a low speed diesel engine M225Ti from Perkins Sabre. The engine power output is 148 hp. Considering our future sailing area the engine must be as simple as possible and also mechanical. Therefore we have opted out the latest technology like common rail fuel system and electronic controls. This engine can be repaired in emergency by local mechanic anywhere in the world and spare parts might be available from the tractor on the nearby field.
Perkins Sabre M225 engine
A big enough ground tackle is a safety factor on long voyages. Our main anchor will be a jumbo size 33 kg Rocna anchor that can be easily raised with electric windlass. The 10 mm anchor chain is made of steel. Totally 100 meters of chain will be stored in anchor locker.

Every Nauticat boat has a different layout because all boats are build with one-off principle and customized to customer needs. Our Suwena's interior has designed to function for mainly the two crew members.
The layout of Suwena
The salon with big panoramic view is located in the midships. The salon can be entered from the both starboard and port side doors. On the left side of salon is a U-shape settee. A part of the settee is removable for making the passage easier through the port side door.

An internal helm station is on the starboard side. It is designed to keep all the controls ergonomically next to the helmsman. In addition there is a storage for all kinds of electronic gadgets in the starboard side cupboard. This has a benefit that devices are not spread around the boat during the charging. In conjunction with the salon is also a wet locker for draining the clothes into the bilge.

Few steps down from the salon is a spacious aft cabin. Both sides of the queen size bed can be easily used to access numerous cupboards and drawers. We wanted all cabinets to have doors so our stuff will not fly around in heavy seas and also there will be less places to gather the dust. On the starboard side of the aft cabin is the toilet and at the same place on port side is a separate shower. A washing machine is located in the shower as well.

When going forward from the salon, few steps below is a galley and a dinette. The cozy dinette is comfortable place for eating and working. Correspondingly the left side is designated for making a delicious foods. U-shaped galley is a full chefs kitchen with the gimbaled electrical oven and cooktop, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, cold box and a plenty of storage space. The Seagull water purification system delivers fresh drinking water.

A small hallway leads from dinette to a forecabin. On the left side there is the boats second head and next to it is a cabinet for storing out folding tandem bike on sea. On the starboard side there is more storage space and a dishwasher. In the forecabin is a V-shaped bed and cupboards for our guests.

A lot of time was used for designing an electrical system. Boats navigation electronics and refrigerators run from 24 volt system. Convenience appliances from mobile phone charger to blow dryer on the hand use 230 volt voltage. Suwena has 10 domestic electrical sockets spread around the yacht and we do not need to compromise from home comforts. An electricity source can be selected by switches into either generator, shore-power or batteries. We have 4 x 225 Ah batteries and this means the domestic home appliances can be used through the 2500 watt inverter with some limitations without the generator.

We've been thrilled to follow up the building of new Suwena and visiting the yard almost monthly. It is amazing to follow the project lasting almost nine months and in every visit there have been a huge progress in completion. Most people do not see inside the "belly" of the boat because usually the boat is delivered complete and many places are already sealed up. To see everything is really impressing.
Suwena in Nauticat Yachts boatyard

And so it begins

  • Posted on: 9 February 2011
  • By: Eve

The Nauticat 441 Suwena's construction began when at the end of successful negotiations we signed a boat contract. More than a year of negotiations resulted that we had in hand a tall pile of papers, which described all Suwena's structural details. Already at this point was seen Nauticat's unique method to build the yachts. Although the standard specification list in itself is already really long, the customization increased the list of details significantly.
Contract signing of Suwena
After having a champagne toast we had a first touch with new Suwena. The boatyard had taken a jump start, and there was a brand-new Nauticat 441's deck just coming out from the mould. Next to the deck there were the moulds which will be used to manufacture the hull. Moulds seemed deceptively large compared to the seatrial boat. We probably had our eye-perspective fooled because the moulds were stored indoors.
Kaj Gustafsson presents the Nauticat 441 hull mould
Nauticat 441 deck
We were so excited about the boat that we felt how on earth we can wait a full long winter for the completion of our Suwena. The whole seven hours drive from the boatyard to our home we were chatting about Suwena.

Hull and deck

  • Posted on: 21 February 2011
  • By: Eve

The manufacturing of the Nauticat 441 boat starts with the lamination of the hull and the deck. All Nauticat boats are made of solid single skin laminate by hand laminating.

The manufacturing process starts by laminating two half hulls into their own molds. Nauticat paints the waterline into the gelcoat and therefore we had to choose the hull's decoration's colour already before the start of the lamination. Suwena will have a white hull with black waterline and decorations. At the same time we also decided to rise up the waterline level a few centimeters as our boat will be heavily loaded for long distance cruising.
Nauticat 441 hull
On two outer layers Nauticat uses powder mat. In construction layers Nauticat uses directional mat for maximum material strength. Mats are laminated by using polyester resin. Finished laminate’s thickness is depending on a location but in hull it is between 15 mm and 30 mm.

Both hull sides are laminated together when the resin is still tacky. The final result looks like the hull was made from single piece. Next step is to laminate the hull stiffeners and main bulkheads. Also the iron ballast is added to the hull. Nauticat 441's ballast weight is 5.5 metric tons. As the resin dries the styrene evaporates and the polyester shrinks just a little. Therefore the mold is easier to separate from the hull.
The place of Nauticat 441 forecabin
Upcoming Nauticat 441 master cabin
Nauticat 441 bulkheads in fitting
Before a fixing the deck with the hull all bulky parts like engine, fuel tanks, shower and toilet modules are installed.
Perkins M225Ti engine installed
Starboard side fuel tank
Parallel with the hull the deck is made in its own mold. When deck is separated from the mold places of windows, doors and other hatches are cut open. Then the teak is fastened and deck hardware and winches are installed as well. To build the full yacht there are needed many other molds in addition than the hull and deck molds. E.g. in Nauticat 441 shower and toilets are made as separate molded parts.
Installation of winches into Nauticat 441 deck
The rudder of Nauticat 441
Foreman of lamination operations Veikko
The finished deck is lifted on the top of the hull and then fixed together with epoxy glue and bolts every 10 cm.

The full curing process of the polyester resin takes several months. It’s depending on a yachts size and model curing times varies, however storage in warm location for 4 to 5 months is absolute minimum to achieve a good result. Our boats hull will be inside for eight months before she is taken to test pool outside. When we visited aboard in many yachts on different fairs the smell was one thing we noticed. Nauticat yachts do not have the stink of the resin, instead they have a smell of the clean wood.

Aft and fore

  • Posted on: 1 March 2011
  • By: Eve

Metal and woodwork started after the joining of the deck and the hull. For average boater the visible metalworks are swimming platform, railings and bowspirit. Here are few remarks from our yacht.

The dinghy has been a major factor in swimming platform design. At first we had a plan to equip Suwena with davits. We like to moor our boat stern-to and the dinghy hanging from the davits would be on our way when mooring the boat. We also did not like to rise the davits so high that we could do the mooring under the dinghy. All things considered we decided to keep the dinghy as we did on our old boat.
Kaj and Teijo designing the swimming platform
The dinghy will be stored on the swimming platform standing vertically during the shorter legs. During the open sea voyages the dinghy will be emptied and stored on a foredeck. Traditionally 441's ladder from swimming platform to the aft deck is in the middle of the boat. We moved the ladder to starboard side, so the dinghy can be in the middle of the swimming platform. Now there are plenty of space to handle the mooring stern-to.
Fitting the dinghy on swimming platform
Aft deck railing
Another detail we like very much in Nauticat is the railing. When we visited in the Nauticat yard next time our Suwena had got a nice steel railing with teak cover. Nauticat 441 has side doors on the both sides of the salon. We also chose an optional gate into the port side of the railing to make bunkering and mooring easier.
Nauticat 441 railings
Choosing the ground tackle was a big decision. Nauticat 441 comes default with 35 kg CQR anchor. CQR has been decades the most popular anchor among boaters. However we decided to choose a Rocna anchor, because its ability to reset itself. During the few last years Rocna has become up as another popular choice for cruising yachts because of its good holding power and resetting ability. In a situation where the anchor breaks loose either because of the wind or the current Rocna's quick resetting makes it a good choice and crew aboard will get a better sleep. Andrus commented here that the anchor is sized about the right when everybody in marina laughs at you. Our Suwena will have a huge 33 kg Rocna anchor. If you are interested more in anchors we recommend to read the story behind Rocna anchors and their knowledge base about anchoring.
Fitting the Rocna anchor
Suwena's bowsprit
Nauticat's standard bowsprit is designed for Delta and CRQ -type anchors. The place for the anchor is below the bowsprit. Rocna anchor features the rollbar and needs a different bowsprit for its storage. The yard proposed a solution where bowsprit would be a little shorter and the anchor would be stored on the top of it. The anchor will be lowered and raised by rolling the chain over the front of the bowsprit.

Shortening the bowsprit decreases the area of the headsail. 441's number 1 genoa area is 53.5 square meters and our headsail area will be 48.5 sq m. This means that our jenny will be between number 1 and number 2 genoa. The final performance of sails will be seen and we will write more after Suwena is sailing on the sea.

Wooden ships and iron men

  • Posted on: 19 March 2011
  • By: Eve

In the past the boats were built from the wood. Nowadays the wood have been largely superseded by GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic). The Nauticat however holds on the wood craftsmanship as the yachts interior is built by using the traditional woodworking techniques. The manual building process enables that every Nauticat can be manufactured according to buyers wishes.
Nauticat 441 interior nearing completion
Eve's grandfather was a real old time carpenter. When grandpa built houses, Eve's playhouse or dollhouse complete with miniature furniture he always said that “workmanship must be done in a way that I dear to say its done by me and that corners and joints must always be fully aligned”.
So it was a pleasure to watch the work of Nauticat carpenters. Yachts interior is built from floor upwards maintaining the horizontal and vertical alignment. This makes that corners of cabinets and all joints are always straight. In addition the craftsmanship can be seen in good visual design in all wooden parts. After all it is quite a challenge in boat-building to connect the curvy three-dimensional boat lines into sleek outcome. A good example of this is when we were wondering about wide margin space on upper part of the kitchen cupboard. We received a prompt answer that if the margin would be narrower it would not be on line with port side ceiling and other cabinets because of rooftop curving.

The boatyard gives free hands to customers and of course the customers ask for all kind of things. We enjoyed working with master carpenter Perttu. We told him what we are looking for and Perttu's implementation usually exceeded our expectations. For example during our visit to the yard we discussed about the location of TV. We did not want to locate the TV inside the wall of the cabinet as it is done usually. We proposed a simple fixture on the wall. However during next visit Perttu had made a mockup of the TV and a rotating fixture that can be turned against the wall and fixed there when on sea. This is only one example where the yard made more than we expected.
TV waiting for the fitting
Because of hand made woodworking the customer can choose the boats interior layout as the locations of the cabin walls can be moved around. E.g. some customers have opted for a Finnish sauna in aft. We wanted a separate head and shower with the spacious aft cabin. Also the size and location of cabinets can be decided by customer. We will have large cabinets on both side of the bed with a lot of storage space.
Nauticat 441 aft cabin under work
Accordingly a location and size of the galley can be tailored according to intended use. We have seen both U- and L-shaped kitchens in different sizes and locations onboard. Our boat is built in a way that galley can be used for cooking also on sea and the boat is suitable for living aboard for longer times.

We will have doors on all cupboards because we did not want to have any open shelfs to gather the dust. Also heavy seas can make things to fall out from open shelfs. The carpenters built all cabinets according to the measurements we wished for. Even the number and height of the shelves in the cabinets can be decided depending on the needs of the customer. We have one special cabinet between forward head and guest cabin on the port side for our foldable tandem. The cabinet is built according to the measurement of the bike.

Woodwork lasted several weeks during which all the floors, walls, cabinets, tables, beds and other things are built. When everything was ready all teak surfaces inside were varnished. After the varnish was dry all surfaces and edges were protected with plywood and carton as the next phase is the equipment installation and after that the boat will be fully rigged and tested in test pool before the delivery.
Suwena's helmstation under work
Suwena's helmstation under work
Suwena's helmstaton after varnishing
Suwena's helmstation protected for equipment installations

Choosing the boat interior

  • Posted on: 6 April 2011
  • By: Eve

The yacht manufacturing is a multidimensional project where many craftsmanships disciplines are integrated. Usually nobody thinks about this because the boat is seen as the complete yacht. Now we have followed the complete boat construction we really can appreciate how different things are made in parallel and integrated together according to a production plan.

Many people only think about technical features when comparing the boats. However a livability and comfort are both important as well. Already in our first boat we did some real cruising trips lasting between 8 to 9 weeks in every season. Our target for a second boat is to build a yacht where we can live aboard for longer periods.

Many brands offer for a customer to choose salon and dinette fabrics and colors together with the color world of carpets and curtains too. Nauticat boatyard has its own sewing shop for making upholsteries, mattresses, curtains and carpets. We had a multitude of selections about interior elements like for example we were able to select the shape of salon couch back rest and we selected the design with a good support in lumbar region.
The sewing shop of  Nauticat Yachts
We are big fans of the black color and our Skorgenes Suwena had a black interior upholstery. For Nauticat Suwena we however thought that black might not be the best option. Our target is to travel
in the future to more southern latitudes where the black color would make the interior gloomy looking during the evenings and very hot during the daytime sunshine. Nauticat uses a lot of teak wood in the interior so we selected warm red colors for the upholstery.

All other fabrics beside the curtains were easily found from the yard's selection. We looked around in many decoration shops to find blackout curtains that would fit Suwena. However all found options were always only one sided and we did not want to have the curtain outside in only plain white. Additional challenge was that the fabrics must be fire resistant. Of course the fire resistant treatment can be added separately for any fabric but it increases the price per meter a lot. Tuula listened to our wishes and searched more alternatives for us, from where we found our curtains. Suwena has many windows so sewers will have a plenty of work to make all according to the measurements.

The yard also has several mattress choices that we were able to test in sewing shop. Suwena's forecabin V-shaped bunk will have a removable piece to make it a double bed. Also dinette's table can be lowered to make an additional bunk. In addition to aft cabin bed the second storm bunk will be in dinette bed. Dinette’ss bed is in midships and we think it will be the best place to sleep in sea swell.
Kaj presents the forecabin matresses
The quality and the comfort of our own bed is important for keeping our backs in good shape. We are planning to spend two continuous months aboard this season and more in the future. Therefore we are willing to invest a little more in the mattress and we chose the body conforming Familon Aeroflex mattress. Now we are waiting eagerly for new Suwena and next summer sailing experiences and beautiful dreams when water plays on Suwena's hull.