Nordic Spirit Capri 58
Barton McGill Marine's second luxury sports cruiser, Nordic Spirit, carries with it the company's hopes of cementing an international reputation as the builders of innovative and stylish motor yachts. Steve Raea was invited on board to share the Nordic Spirit experience.
Nordic Spirit is the second Capri built by Barton McGill Marine of Auckland and is strikingly similar to the Kevin Dibley designed Capri 55, Sapphire, which set hearts a flutter when it was launched in early 2000.
Sapphire was built by Barton McGill Marine for Barton McGill managing director Peter Heald and his wife Vicki. Their philosophy behind the project was to construct a boat that reflected the same quality of workmanship and finish that has made the company a world leader in the construction of quality billiard tables. In doing so, the couple hoped to establish Barton McGill Marine as a premium New Zealand boat builder capable of producing world-class boats for a global market. Sapphire was proof of that and enjoyed critical acclaim, leading to the commission for Nordic Spirit which is currently being shipped to Miami, Florida for delivery to her United States owners next month.
At 58 feet, Nordic Spirit is slightly bigger than her sister ship but, foot for foot, the two boats are similar in terms of layout and design. The most striking exterior difference is the softer tear drop windows in the super structure and the addition of a radar arch across the rear of the upper flybridge. The flybridge windows have also been rounded more in keeping with the overall look of the boat. The design emphasis for Sapphire was to build a boat with an internal volume that belied the boat's exterior dimensions. This was achieved by Dibley's use of long flowing lines throughout the interior and accommodation areas resulting is an air of spaciousness seldom achieved in sports cruisers of similar size. To achieve the look, Dibley elected to put the upper flybridge in a mezzanine setting suspended over the accommodation below and accessed by a spiral stairwell built into the main saloon.
The net effect is stunning, allowing those on the flybridge to feel a part of activities below while adding to the overall feel of grandeur and space. The feeling from upstairs is similar to that of an atrium setting.
The flybridge is open and spacious with an L-shaped soft leather settee running from the double aluminium bi-fold doors on the upper deck to the helm station on the starboard side. The helm station is open and clean with a minimum of instruments set in a moulded dark metallic blue facia.
The fully adjustable leather helm station chair is set on a stainless steel pedestal and provides excellent 180-degree vision through the steeply angled windscreen.
Unlike some custom-built sports cruisers, the electronic engine controls are all built into the facia, and not the helm station chair. Again, instrumentation and alarm systems have been kept to a minimum in terms of size with the GPS, radar, plotter and sounder interfaced through two Simrad multifunction screens, one each side of the helm station.
A small bar and fridge has been built into the flybridge in keeping with the entertainment theme. The upper deck is teak laid and has a bench seat running full width with a custom built teak and holly foldaway table. A second set of engine and bowthruster controls are mounted on the starboard side for easy handling in marina situations.Like her sister ship, Nordic Spirit's interior is handcrafted in American Cherry timbers and finished in soft satin, the exception being the two saloon tables which are finished in a high gloss liquid glass. The saloon is a continuous series of gentle curves and slightly raised from galley to allow headroom in the forward guests' cabins while providing a degree of separation from the galley.
The main dining table is set to port with a U-shaped leather settee providing seating for four guests with a second table and lounger opposite for entertaining larger parties. Access throughout the saloon is open and airy with unrestricted 360-degree views.
The galley is set aft to port and incorporates full sized household appliances including a four-burner hob and oven, microwave, fridge/freezer and dishwasher. Many of the appliances have been built in to the internal joinery.
A breakfast bar-cum-servery provides additional bench space with storage under and overhead. The galley floor is polished teak and holly which extends through to the heavy pile carpet of the saloon and aft to the double cockpit doors.
The galley, like the saloon, was designed to accentuate the feeling of space through the clever use of flowing lines. Opposite the galley, curved cupboards hide the electronic switchboard and monitoring system and the master light switches.
The accommodation areas are forward of the saloon and down, and consist of three cabins providing accommodation for two couples and three singles. The master cabin is forward in the bow and features a queen size island berth with a paneled mirror overhead. Hanging lockers and drawers are built in on each side of the berth with additional lockers overhead.
A television and stereo are hidden in their own cabinet. All three cabins have remote controls for the on board air conditioning system and generous down lighting.
Moving aft, the twin heads are set to port and starboard of the master cabin and each has its own shower, hand basin and toilet. The heads are finished in high gloss lacquer with curved teak and holly floors and curved composite vanity tops. The lockers are faced with mirrors and hatches provide both light and ventilation.
Moving further aft, the double guest cabin is set to starboard and has a double berth set amidships with lockers built in against the hull. Each cabin has its own opening hatch for ventilation. Again, a CD stereo unit is built in for entertainment. The ceiling and walls are finished in imported suedes and vinyls and the timbers are American Cherry.
The third cabin is opposite and has two bunks against the hull and a third opposite. It is similar in every respect except for a watertight door on the aft bulkhead giving access to the onboard laundry.The cockpit is one area where there are differences between Nordic Spirit and Sapphire although they are subtle. The cockpit is one metre longer than Sapphire's and features two full-length exterior cupboards tucked in on the port and starboard side of the folding saloon doors. These are primarily for stowage of larger items including a collapsible custom teak and holly table.
A centre island is set well aft, separating the cockpit from the transom. Twin swing gates are fitted at each end of the island with steps down to the transom. The island encloses a freezer unit, showerhead, BBQ and sink and an electronic telescopic dinghy davit accessed from the transom which, when fully extended, swings clear of the stern.
The transom, like the cockpit, is laid in teak and features recessed fairleads and three large stainless steel barrier rails that can be removed and stowed when at anchor.Access to the twin D12 700HP Volvo electronic diesels, genset and air conditioning plant is via twin hatches built into the cockpit sole with a third central hatch over a ladder dropping between both engines.
A new and clever feature is the addition of electric capstans on both the port and starboard aft combings. Peter Heald says it is one of a number of measures to make the boat more manageable for the US owners who plan to do a lot of their boating as a couple.Nordic Spirit's hull is constructed from solid hand-laid glass to the chine with foam core topsides, deck and superstructure. The boat displaces 22 tonne.
The twin Volvo D12 electronic diesels give a top speed of about 29.5 knots and a comfortable cruising speed of 22 to 25 knots, giving a range of about 500 nautical miles. Nordic Spirit is well set up for extended cruising with a 3000 litre fuel and 1000 litre water capacity. Peter Heald says he's wrapped with the boat's performance, particularly the agility and quietness of the big new Volvo's. He says Nordic Spirit sits flatter in the water than Sapphire with the boat's trim largely unaffected by diesel or water tank levels.Peter says the US owners have agreed to allow the boat to be displayed at the Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach and Annapolis Motor Yacht Shows later in the year which he hopes will result in strong international interest and the possibility of more orders.
He says at a cost of $US1.2 to $US1.4 million, Nordic Spirit will be competitively priced in the international market.
Barton McGill Marine hope to one day be in a position to manufacture moulds for the Capri which would greatly reduce construction costs, build times and help cement Barton McGill as a major player in the luxury sports cruiser market.
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