|Thursday, 07 October 2010 19:56|
There are not too many boats in this size category that truly work as cruisers, but the Nord Star 26 is the kind of marine SUV (Sport Utility Vessel) that can take a small family for nice summer cruises and be wildly entertaining in between. It’s all made possible by the mad-crazy efficient layout of the boat and its powerful yet fuel-sipping Volvo diesel. The fit and finish are equal to the best of old-world craftsmanship and the total package is the perfect way for a young family to get into cruising.
A little bit about the company, from our July, 2009 feature on the Nord Star 31:
As I mentioned, the 26 reviewed here is probably the smallest cruising boat that can comfortably take a couple or young family on long weekend cruises. But it’s also the kind of boat that you will use not just for cruising but for fishing and regular day trips to your favorite gunkhole. There’s a vee berth for two, along with a separate head compartment and a small but functional galley below. Ingenious layout in the main cabin includes convertible seating and hi-lo tables — all with a magnificent view. You can see in the photos here that the company has devised a cool Bimini for the aft cockpit that shades but doesn’t get in the way.
I tested the boat over a couple of hours out of Mattituck Inlet on Long Island, New York. The head of Nord Star USA, John Uljens, brought the boat over from its base in Connecticut and we ran her through a series of test runs. The Nord Star boats look like a cross between a pocket tug and a government patrol boat. It’s a unique look that draws attention at the dock. But don’t be misled — it’s all about form following function. The reverse rake to the windshield minimizes sun glare from outside and instrument glare from inside at night. The tall house and large windows open things up and make the cabin feel larger than it is.
The boat has a functional aft cockpit and an amazing swim platform that feels like it could host an entire picnic while on the hook. There are wide side decks to make transiting forward and aft safe.
The performance of the boat is nothing short of impressive. The modified-vee planing hull comes up out of the water quickly and with minimal bow rise. The Volvo diesel supplies fantastic torque all the way up the RPM curve, unlike a gas engine and within seconds you are skimming along the water in the mid-20 knot range. There really isn’t any major noise at the helm. Decibel readings (A-levels) stayed below 80, which means low fatigue on longer transits. A look at the photo below shows the insulated engine compartment hatch, and the roominess of the compartment itself.
Nord Star 26
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