DON'T STOP BELIEVIN'

The sights and sounds on board the Nordhavn N96 New Journey

New Journey exterior

A love of music and thirst for thrills drove an adventurous owner’s decision to get a Nordhavn N96. Kevin Koenig boards New Journey

NORDHAVN

It’s good to have a friend with a boat. And if you’re into playing live music, it’s even better if the boat comes with custom cabinetry for your guitar amp. It’s a feature on Nordhavn N96 New Journey, whose owner is a drummer.

“The dream is to cross the Pacific into the Marquesas and when we get there, we’ll play Rock and Roll by Led Zeppelin,” he says. The song is a percussion-heavy ripper that reminisces about walking in the moonlight.

Chasing the moon and sun is what New Journey is all about. “I could have gone with a sexier-looking coastal boat,” the owner says. “But I’m 62 now and I’ve done that whole thing for 40 years. I want to go back to French Polynesia; I don’t want to do the San Juans anymore.”

New Journey exterior

NORDHAVN

NORDHAVN

His boat is well suited for these new journeys. Her general specs as a world girdler are impressive, particularly for her size. She carries 7,000 gallons of diesel (plus another 900 gallons of water) and with fuel reserves, she has a transoceanic range – 3,000 nautical miles at nine knots. Her twin 600-horsepower Caterpillar C18 engines spin burly 48-inch props and she has redundant 50kW Northern Lights generators.

It’s uncommon to find these kinds of numbers and this kind of mission on a sub-100ft boat built in fibreglass, but that’s what this owner was looking for. “I didn’t want to go with steel,” he says. “I’m unfamiliar with the ensuing rust and corrosion factors. Fibreglass is what I knew and I decided to stick to it.”

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New Journey flybridge

COURTESY NORDHAVN

COURTESY NORDHAVN

New Journey interior

COURTESY OF NORDHAVN

COURTESY OF NORDHAVN

New Journey jacuzzi

COURTESY OF NORDHAVN

COURTESY OF NORDHAVN

New Journey interior

MARTIN FINE

MARTIN FINE

The owner’s brief to Ardeo Design was to maximize the amount of open deck space on the flybridge deck for entertaining and dancing, while incorporating a custom Jacuzzi, bar and an al fresco dining area. Top right: The pilothouse benefits from a workboat-like, reverse-raked windshield that rinses water off faster than other windshield designs. Bottom right: The custom dining table sits 10 comfortably in a space that can be enclosed and climate-controlled

This decision drove Nordhavn, which builds its fibreglass boats like tanks, to the front of the line. New Journey, hull No. 18 of the N96, has a foam-cored polyester resin superstructure but below the waterline, she is built with solid vinylester. Nordhavn’s Trever Smith, the yacht’s project manager, speaks of her construction credentials with palpable pride. “This boat’s keel has six to eight inches of solid laminate, and at the stem it’s 16 inches thick,” he says. “To penetrate this hull is really tough. People say we are crazy, but it works for safety, and since we are full displacement, we benefit from having all that weight down low.”

And it’s a lot of weight. The N96 displaces 400,000 pounds and owes its beefiness not only to the solid construction but also to a 7-metre beam and the builder’s trademark overbuilt superstructures. The draft is 2.49 metres, a tad deep for many Bahamian anchorages but a godsend when you’re caught in a squall 500 miles west of Chile.

Another consequence of the generous beam is that it gave the owner room to play. Aside from the guitar amp plug, New Journey has customisations that reflect how husband and wife enjoy spending their time at sea. They worked closely with Scott Cole of Seattle’s Ardeo Design to come up with something that fit their laid-back collective spirit. One of the more remarkable of these design choices is seen on the main deck, devoid of a formal dining room.

“The dream is to cross the Pacific Ocean into the Marquesas – and when we get there, we’ll play Rock and Roll by Led Zeppelin”

New Journey interior

MARTIN FINE The yacht’s interior decor is rather restrained, with a focus on comfort and entertaining, as well as an eye for the resale market

MARTIN FINE The yacht’s interior decor is rather restrained, with a focus on comfort and entertaining, as well as an eye for the resale market

Although Cole, an experienced designer, has a 46-metre Delta Marine and a 39.6-metre Northern Marine under his belt, he specialises in boats from 20 to 29 metres and enjoys a laid-back lifestyle, so he was quite comfortable with the owners’ brief.

“My favourite feature on this boat is the bar,” he says. “It’s unusual [for a boat] because it has eight barstools so the owners can cook and entertain like they do at home, with their hanging out at the bar while dinner is being prepared.”

“The bar made sense for us because when we entertain, we like to prepare the drinks and appetizers ourselves. We aren’t very formal; we treat the boat more like an SUV than anything else”

New Journey also has an al fresco, boat-shaped dining table for 10 on the main deck aft, which can be used in all weather conditions thanks to air conditioning and an Isinglass enclosure.

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New Journey interior

COURTESY OF NORDHAVN

COURTESY OF NORDHAVN

New Journey interior

COURTESY OF NORDHAVN

COURTESY OF NORDHAVN

New Journey interior

MARTIN FINE

MARTIN FINE

New Journey interior

MARTIN FINE

MARTIN FINE

The unusual main deck layout is convivial. Located between the open galley and the main salon, the centerpiece is a U-shaped bar with a countertop in durable Fusion granite. Elsewhere, the finishes reflect the owners’ likes for warmer tones and subtle textures

The Nordhavn’s interior has a “transitional” style according to the designer. “It’s not too contemporary or modern and not too traditional or old-fashioned looking,” Cole says. This design decision has the dual purpose of meeting the owner’s taste and will likely help the N96 when and if she hits the resale market.

Smith also fancies the layout choice on the main deck. “It’s a huge open concept inside,” he says. “You can stand at one end of the boat and see the other end. And with that big bar in the middle, it creates a country kitchen like you might see on a classic Westport.”

New Journey interior

MARTIN FINE The owner’s cabin has a table and couches that double as a work desk. The owner swapped spaces with two guest staterooms on the lower deck to snag the most stable position on board for his stateroom

MARTIN FINE The owner’s cabin has a table and couches that double as a work desk. The owner swapped spaces with two guest staterooms on the lower deck to snag the most stable position on board for his stateroom

“The bar made sense for us because when we entertain, we like to prepare the drinks and appetizers ourselves,” the owner says. “We aren’t very formal; we treat the boat more like an SUV than anything else.”

And they come along for the ride. The owner says that while they enjoy hosting, it’s usually just him, his wife and crew who do the long-range cruising and that their guests tend to meet them wherever they may land.

New Journey interior

MARTIN FINE A dayhead is conveniently placed at the aft entrance to the main salon

MARTIN FINE A dayhead is conveniently placed at the aft entrance to the main salon

This necessitated the N96’s next big customisation, an amidships owner’s suite. “The master on this model would typically be on the main deck or on the skybridge,” the owner says, “but I wanted to do those longer crossings myself – that’s a major reason why I got this boat – so I put the master on the lower level.” Situating the stateroom as low as possible helps keep the owner’s berth more stable while underway, mitigating motion.

New Journey interior

MARTIN FINE

MARTIN FINE

“The master on this model would typically be on the main deck or the skybridge, but I wanted to do these longer crossings myself”

As for the skybridge, or upper deck, that’s where the fun really happens. During the design phase, the owner made clear his desire for this space to be his own personal lounge. Both the guitar amp and the owner’s electronic drum kit can be stowed in a specially made leather-upholstered ottoman, while the amplifier for the drum kit fits snugly into a custom end table. Recessed LED light strips overhead frame an impromptu dance floor in the centre of the deck, for when the party gets going.

If you’re not into dancing, you can enjoy the show from the Jacuzzi aft or from the curved bar with four barstools on the starboard side. But, of course, you can’t party all the time. The skybridge also serves as a gym, which required yet another customisation in the form of a six-inch recess in the sole to make space for an elliptical machine. There is also dedicated stowage for free weights as well as a weight bench. This exercise space was critical. “For long durations, my experience is the more you are on a boat the easier it is to be inactive,” he says, “and being active is critical for keeping friends and family happy.”

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New Journey interior

MARTIN FINE

MARTIN FINE

New Journey interior

MARTIN FINE

MARTIN FINE

New Journey interior

MARTIN FINE

MARTIN FINE

New Journey interior

MARTIN FINE

MARTIN FINE

Bottom left: the ship’s office adjacent to the pilothouse. Top left: The skybridge’s clever melding of outside and in makes it a unique place to take in an impromptu concert. The owner’s guitar amp and electronic drum kit stow in the ottoman

One final customisation that project manager Smith is quite smitten with is not on board New Journey but rides along behind her. “The owner chose a 5-metre Life Proof tender with a somewhat unusual 150-horsepower diesel outboard by OXE; the tender is indestructible,” he says. “Diesel is safer than gasoline, and he can only hold about 125 gallons of gas on board anyway, whereas he has 7,000 gallons of diesel. So we actually have it set up where he can fill up the tender from the main tanks. That way if he is in the Marquesas or somewhere and can’t find any gas, it’s not a problem because he has lots of fuel on board.”

And New Journey will need every drop of it. The owner has an aggressive six-year plan in place that he says will see the yacht going from the Sea of Cortez to Alaska to Costa Rica to New Zealand to Palau to Japan back to Alaska all the way to the Med, down the coast of Africa and culminating in the Caribbean. Got all that? In the immortal words of Robert Plant: “Ramble on, and now’s the time, the time is now.”

First published in the January 2024 issue of BOAT International U.S. Edition. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

A Jacuzzi is a star feature up top

The large bridge and ship’s office befit a yacht of world cruising capability

An elliptical machine is recessed into the sole

The main deck forward is split between two guest staterooms

A sit-down bar takes the place of formal interior dining

The crew quarters lie behind the engine room

LOA 29.63m

Gross tonnage
199GT

LWL 26.24m

Engines
2 x 600hp
Caterpillar C18

Beam 7.3m

Generators
2 x 50kW
Northern Lights

Draft 2.4m

Speed (max/cruise)
12/10 knots

Range at 9 knots
3,000nm+

Owners/guests 10

Fuel capacity
7,000 gallons

Crew 4

Freshwater capacity
900 gallons

Construction
FRP hull and
superstructure

Naval architecture
Jeff Leishman

Tender
18' Life Proof Boats

Exterior design
Jeff Leishman

Builder/year
Pacific Asian
Enterprises/2023
Dana Point, California

Interior design
Ardeo Design

(949) 496-4848
nordhavn.com