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Finnish trawler can ‘outrun a storm’

New England-based Nord Star USA will introduce ‘any-season boats’ at the Newport and Norwalk shows

New England-based Nord Star USA will introduce ‘any-season boats’ at the Newport and Norwalk shows

It was a pretty convincing test ride.

John Uljens and Ceasar Anquillare found themselves aboard a 31-foot Finnish-built fast trawler on the Gulf of Bothnia, in the northern arm of the rough-and-tumble Baltic Sea.

The cold and already turbulent waters were stirred up by a winter squall, a dervish bringing sub-freezing temperatures, swirling snow, and crosswise and contrary seas. It wasn’t quite white-knuckle time, but it was getting close.

“The wind was gusting, and we were getting hit by everything,” recalls Uljens, a 36-year veteran of the marine industry. “Yet, we were comfortable inside, and the ride was amazing.”

It was a defining moment, and ended the two boater’s four-year quest for a safe, dependable, affordable, all-weather vessel they could import to New England waters.

Now they have it. The boat that’s caught their attention is the Nord Star Patrol 31, a single-engine “fast” pilothouse trawler from Finland’s Linex-Oy. It’s one of six Patrol models the family-owned builder produces, and they’re already well-known to Europeans.

Now, Uljens and Anquillare through their company, WinMarine Ventures LLC, have established Nord Star USA to introduce the boats to the U.S. and Canada. The Patrol 31 and its smaller sister, the 26, will be shown Sept. 11-14 at the Newport International Boat Show in Newport, R.I., and Sept. 18-21 at the Norwalk International In-Water Boat Show in Norwalk, Conn. Other Patrol models, 24-, 28- and 40 feet, will follow. The Nord Star 31 will list for about$375,000, the 26 for about $225,000, including transport from Finland.

The boats are certainly well-seasoned. Sweden and Norway have used Patrol models as all-weather coastal boats, and they’ve been rated as Category Offshore “B” under the standards of the International Maritime Certification Institute, able to withstand sustained 13-foot waves and Force 8 winds (40-46 mph.) “We like to stress their reliability and dependability,” says Uljens.

Both the 31 and 26 ride modified-vee, fiberglass hulls, with about 18 degrees deadrise. The soft, stable ride comes from the flare of the bow, the hull-lifting strakes and flare of the chines, says Uljens. The sheer is nearly flat, the beam develops quickly and holds well aft. The high freeboard extends to the straight transom.

The Nord Stars are powered by single Volvo diesels (the 40-footer can carry twins and also offers IPS) with Duoprop. The 31 is rated for a 6-cylinder engine, 260-570 hp; the 26 for a 4-cylinder (200-370 hp) engine. The 31 cruises in the 25-30 mph range, with a top speed of 40-plus mph, and fuel consumption at cruising speed is about 10 gallons an hour, according to the builder.

“Unlike a true trawler, this is a fast trawler that can outrun a storm,” says Anquillare. “It not only has the ability to maintain some speed in getting to your destination, but some fuel efficiency, too. It is bound to increase a boater’s season and time on the water because of weather uncertainty and a greater sense of comfort in changing conditions.

The sturdy, upright pilothouse with its helm station to starboard, is set just forward of amidships, and has the forward-slanting windscreen of a true trawler. Sliding doors on either side lead to deep, wraparound decks topped by hand rails. It’s not only a salty look, but a practical one. A flybridge helm is available on the 31.

Both boats sleep at least four. The 31 has an island berth forward and a lower cabin under the pilothouse aft, along with a small, but full galley; a dinette with an adjustable hideaway table; and an enclosed head with sink and shower.

The 31’s ample cockpit can be turned into a true all-weather “extra cabin” with a canvas canopy that fully encloses the area; it can be heated using the pilothouse diesel heating system.

“There’s really a lot of space on this boat; a master cabin forward, a cabin in the pilothouse and even more room with the cockpit,” says Uljens. “The pilothouse design affords protection from inclement weather and the wide walkaround decks make access to all parts of the boat safer.”

The boats are being turned out at Linex-Oy’s new factory in a longtime boatbuilding region of Finland. The family-owned company, headed by Olli Lindkvist, has produced some 3,000 boats over the years, and markets its vessels in a dozen countries, including Greenland and Japan.

“We think these boats are ideally suited not only to New England waters, but the Chesapeake, the Great Lakes and the Pacific Northwest, too,” says Uljens. “It’s really an any-weather, any-season boat.”

The twin-engine Nord Star Patrol 40, which sleeps up to seven and comes in a flybridge version, will be coming to the U.S. soon. Other available models are the Patrol 24 and Patrol 28.

Nord Star USA, Birbarie Marina, 7 Indian Neck Dr., Branford, Conn., 06405. (203) 415-0696.