In the last few decades there’s been a rise in the popularity of trawlers as more boaters commit to a lifestyle of adventure cruising. And many of those trawler owners are former sailors who crossed over to powerboats. “I think it’s fair to say that the majority of people I know who have trawlers were sailboat owners first,” says Marc Mittelman, a former sailor who bought a Nordhavn 43 five years ago. “Some owned cruising sailboats that were faster than many trawlers. I had sailboats for 20-plus years, aboard which I cruised off Southern California and in Lake Ontario when I lived in Canada. But I spent most of my time sailing in New England, where I ran a Sabre 36.”
In February of 2018, Mittelman and his wife, Jayshree, bought their Nordhavn Wanderer because Jayshree was not completely comfortable with the sailboat. “There are days I miss our Sabre, but my wife and I are very fortunate to have Wanderer. For Jayshree, as well as some friends who occasionally join us aboard, the destination is more interesting than the journey.”
Their home port is Safe Harbor Sakonnet, on the river by the same name, just south of Mount Hope Bay in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. When the Atlantic Ocean is rough and uncomfortable, Narrangansett Bay is close by, with its island destinations and good anchorages.
The Mittelmans decided on a Nordhavn because everyone they talked with about boats designed for long-distance cruising said they trusted the brand. “We were originally looking at the N40, but my wife reminded me that we needed two heads, one for guests,” he says. “Who was I to argue when she said we needed to get a bigger boat?”
They made some upgrades the first year of ownership, correcting issues that were identified on the survey. “The hydraulic stabilizers required a refit, which was more significant and costly than I imagined,” Mittelman says. The genset was in fine shape, as was the 130-hp John Deere-based Lugger diesel. The couple redid the upholstery and made a sun shade for the boat deck. “And we did a major electronics upgrade, adding redundancy with a second radar and autopilot,” he says.
The boat’s top speed is 8.4 knots, but Mittelman usually runs at 7 knots. “You pay a big fuel penalty when you exceed 7 knots, costing you nearly three times the amount of fuel burned to achieve that extra knot at wide-open throttle,” he says.
Wanderer also has a 30-hp Yanmar auxiliary engine, which Mittelman routinely exercises each time he takes the boat away from the dock. Wanderer has electric bow and stern thrusters, which he says are perfect for fine-tuning position when docking the 30-ton vessel. When anchoring out, the Mittelmans keep a 350-pound, 10-foot RIB with a 20-hp Yamaha outboard on the boat deck abaft the flybridge.
The first year they owned Wanderer, they cruised locally to destinations like Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. They learned how to handle the boat in close quarters and adapt to a new style of living aboard. The increased comfort they found on the trawler was one of their favorite discoveries. “We’ve made one long cruise up to Nova Scotia, as far as Halifax,” Mittleman says. “We’ve also made trips to Casco Bay and Penobscot Bay in Maine. In the future, I’d really like to explore the southern coast of Newfoundland. I’ve read Farley Mowat’s travelogs on sailing this area, and they’re just inspiring.”
The N43 is a raised pilothouse trawler with a displacement hull, high freeboard forward, Portuguese bridge and an offset cabin structure that creates a safe, walkable sidedeck to starboard. Entrance to the main cabin is through a
waterproof door in the aft bulkhead. There are L-shaped lounges flanking the centerline. Paneling is matched teak planking. A large U-shaped galley is to port and positioned to serve diners in the main cabin or the raised pilothouse up a four-step stairway.
In the pilothouse, a bench seat with table is a good place for the off-watch crew to sit. From the helm seat, there is excellent visibility through about 270 degrees. Two Dutch-style waterproof doors make it easy to pop out of the pilothouse on either side. The accommodations plan includes an amidships owners’ cabin with en suite head. The guest cabin is forward.
Displ.: 60,000 lbs.
Power: (1) 160-hp diesel
Fuel: 1,200 gals.
Water: 300 gals.
If you’re shopping for a pre-owned boat, search Boatquest.com, operated by Active Interest Media, parent company of Soundings.
This article was originally published in the May 2022 issue.