Written By Bob Brown
Dry Land Evaluation : Chris Hamlin of Prestige Marine, Aaron Fluent of Absolute Speed and Marine
Photos by : Dusty Wooddell (Primary) / Andrew Ruzek (Secondary) / Bob Brown (Back Up)


Who doesn't remember that unmistakable new car feel and smell when you first drive it off the dealers lot and you're cruising down the highway with a big smile on your face? Well, get ready to smile again if you're fortunate enough to be the owner of a new Nordic 26 Deckboat.

Over the past seven years the economy hasn't been kind to the performance boat building industry and in many instances it put a major crimp in the development of new models. But to Nordic's credit and perseverance, they've been steadfast in their pursuit of tooling up new models which is now paying off with big dividends. The 26 deckboat is just one of many prime examples of their skillful handiwork which has gained them significant advantage in the marketplace.

Lets face it, the 26 Deckboat not only looks cool and very sexy, but it delivers the performance to back it up (more on that later). The styling is hip, fresh, original and modern, and best of all, Nordic has chosen to step up and build the boat with the latest "woodless" construction materials. Granted, boats and wood have gone together since the beginning of time, but if you choose to build a stronger, lighter and longer-lasting hull using newer technology and better materials, customers are going to be ahead of the game.


According to our dry land inspection team, tooling on the Nordic 26 Deck is outstanding. Contours and edges are crisp and clean, hull sides are straight and precise as expected. Gelcoat graphics are great, very tasteful and not soon to be outdated. The pin lines are also sharp and the fades and blends are generally good.


Nordic also received high marks for its exterior hardware and rigging. We liked the elliptical shaped bow rails and grab handles. And the custom high polished aft motor vents were a good custom touch too. It's hard to get excited about deck cleats, but the 26 had six of them, and they were all appropriately placed to make dock tie-up a simple task. And if you're a "details" kind of person, Nordic was generous with their use of button head Allen bolts which tidies-up the look of every install.

Lifting the engine hatch (dual rams), Nordic quality is front and center. First, there's lots of available access space on all sides of the Mercury Racing 565 power plant to accommodate just about any needed service issue should it arise. We can't help but be impressed with the flawless gelcoat finish on all engine compartment surfaces, even on the underside of the hatch. Dual batteries are located on the starboard, neatly secured in place with substantial polished billet holders. What strikes you immediately when you open the hatch is the absence of meandering wiring, snake-like hoses or add-on brackets. Sanitary is the first word that instantly comes to mind for this rigging job.


Since this is a deckboat, its primary function is to carry a large number (at least 12 or possibly more) of passengers in the highest level of comfort and safety as possible. The Nordic 26 Deckboat does precisely that. The interior floor, with full gunnel to gunnel snap-in carpeting, is somewhat unique in that it slopes gently upward as it approaches the bow. Then, just before you're about to access the walk-off bow (nicely finished with non-skid) there's one small step up. This is a much better alternative in our opinion rather than having a multiple-step floor that's a frequent source of passenger tripping.

Nordic upholstery is a class act. We especially appreciated the forward lounges which had padded backrests at both ends. This gives you the option of facing forward or to the rear which comes in handy if you're towing a skier or wakeboarder. Also noted was Nordic's good idea to hinge all the seat cushions. There's nothing more annoying than running down the lake and having a "not-so-velcroed" loose cushion fly out of the boat or while you're trailering.


Nordic also knocked it out of the park with their color matched fiberglass gunnel inserts with integrated drink holders and stereo speaker mounts. We give two thumbs up to the twin built-in beverage coolers with locking lids on the upper port and starboard deck of the forward sponsons, an easy place for passengers to reach for a cold one. If you're concerned about conventional storage space, don't be. Nordic has made a serious effort to best utilize every nook and cranny on-board. The floor has two separate Ski Lockers (wakeboard compatible), and both mid-ship bulkhead consoles have large storage bins and the seating fore and aft is storage friendly too.

As we walked around the interior, the 26 Deck just felt roomier than expected even for a boat with a full trailerable 102" beam. The passageway between the main cockpit and the bow area is particularly spacious for a twin console deckboat. The same can be said for the aft starboard side entryway leading to the over sized integrated swim platform. Both are genuine people-sized.


The Nordic helm and dash is right on point with what is trending in the boating industry today. The digital Vessel View monitor screen is the center of attention since it delivers the majority of important engine vitals and associated data to the driver. Be sure and keep your instruction manual handy, however, just in case you forget how to access all of the functions. Flanking the monitor screen are Livorsi Monster gauges, GPS speedo and tachometer. All are easily visible. The throttle and shifter are also Livorsi (DTS), ergonomically well positioned in the recessed gunnel console and operate as smooth as silk. Thankfully, it looks like the era of corroded, sticky cables are on the way out.


When we finally got a chance to fire-up this beast, powered by one of Mercury Racing's new 565 packages, we were in for a surprise as it was uncommonly quiet, especially for a boat with CMI headers. If you check out the transom, however, you'll see a good part of the reason why. Instead of using traditional straight thru-transom exhaust tips, Nordic has fabricated a set of down-turn outlets pointed toward the water. Aiming the noise waves downward instead of straight-out appears to provide a couple of important benefits. First it does a good job of dissipating the normal exhaust rumble, and secondly it helps keep the transom cleaner from residual soot build-up, especially if you?re doing a lot of slow speed idling.


As we slowly motored out of the no wake zone at Bluewater Casino Marina, the 26 had a nice feel to it. Tracking was good and we could talk to each other in the main cockpit without having to raise our voices. As soon as we passed the commitment buoy, it was time to get on the throttle. Trimmed fully under, it was an easy roll up on plane and no hint of prop ventilation. It felt good and the Bravo 4-blade 26 pitch was obviously the right choice. Once on a solid plane (about 26 mph) we brought the drive angle back to just a click above neutral and the bow responded well, feeling even better with a little less hull in the water. At 30-35 mph there was no bow steer and the water was breaking just about even with the driver's helm. The zero to 30 mph acceleration wasn't neck-snapping (7.81 seconds) but certainly not sluggish at all. From 30 mph to 50 mph the 20 mph climb was smooth in less than 8 seconds. To make that happen, a little more positive trim was added to the drive angle and the hull responded predictably as it began to lift and reduce wetted surface.


In order to get to the big number of 77.4 mph @ 5260 rpm (2 on-board plus a near full load of fuel) we were slightly on the plus side of 13 additional seconds. Once you get to 72, the last four to five miles an hour requires a little patience as trim, torque and hull all have to get in sync. Unfortunately water conditions on test day weren't particularly favorable for air-entrapment hulls as it was flat and sticky with only a minimal cross breeze. This encouraged the 26 Deck to lope a little at the very top end as we were squeezing those final WOT numbers to flash on the radar. Given better water and a little lighter fuel load, it's reasonable to expect that the 26 would set, hang, and get even closer to, or achieve, the 80 mph mark with this motor/drive package.

From a purely propulsion efficiency perspective, Nordic's two-step air-entrapment hull design was impressively predictable. If you check out the PEF (propulsion efficiency factor) graph, you'll see a nearly straight line progression of ascending propeller efficiency with an excellent 89% factor at full throttle. The sweet spot for efficient cruising is right where you want it, in the 35 to 55 mph range.

So how did if feel behind the wheel? Like we said earlier, it drives as good as it looks which says a lot. For the driver, it's comfort-city. The bucket seat offers great support and really form- fits itself to your hips and torso. Especially noticeable was the absence of "chipmunk-cheeks" as speed increased thanks to the very functional wrap-around windscreens forward of the twin helm and co-pilot consoles. They do their job minimizing and diverting tiresome facial wind blast, yet don't obstruct driver vision.


One of the other initial impressions we got from the 26 Deck that in spite of its sleek and sexy silhouette appearance, it feels like a deep boat when you've got your backside planted in the seat, especially in the forward and aft lounges. As we rumbled up and down the river, testing different seating locations, the impression was always comfort and security. It felt like you were sitting down in the boat, not up on top where you needed to hang on. That's a consideration family boaters need to put high on their checklist when deckboat shopping.


One of the common knocks against air-entrapment deckboats is their sometimes unsettling turning characteristics. If you're used to the way a vee-bottom leans and carves into a corner, it's not the same with the modified tunnel. At best, it corners flat with consistency throughout the entire arc of the turn. No surprise, this is exactly what the 26 Deck did. Left and right slalom turns at 30, 40 and 50 mph were nice and firm. None of that indecisive, which way does it go, touchy bow grab, stern slide feel. It just settles in and goes where you point it.


Somewhere in this discussion you have to consider price, and Nordic has a reputation for making a good first impression. The base retail on a 26 Deck (with Mercury 8.2 MAG H.O. ECT/430 PSHP) is $98,905 (excluding trailer). The upgrade to the 565/Bravo XR drive similarly equipped to our test model with a few other miscellaneous options, bumps the number an additional $28,000, making it $126,905. Make the comparison and draw your own conclusions...value comes in some very nice packages.


Manufacturer: Nordic Boats
Model: 26 Deckboat
Hull type: Air-entrapment/center pod
Length (centerline w/swim platform): 26' 2"
Beam: 102?
Deadrise at transom: N/A
Weight (approx. total as tested): 5,600 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 80 gal. (2 tanks)
Price (base suggested retail, excluding trailer): $98,905
Price (as tested): $126,905


Full composite construction (no wood), fully finished engine compartment, 3-built-in ice chests, billet seat bases drilled and tapped to aluminum, front shower wash-down, front and rear stereo remotes, dual electric hatch rams, aft swim ladder, IMCO fuel selector valve, billet battery boxes, transom trim switch, in-house molded windshields, Livorsi gauges and controls, all seat cushion hinged (no Velcro), stainless bimini top w/matching canvas, LED lights.


Everything on this boat was standard, except for the Merc Racing 565 Motor Upgrade. Nordic includes Full Hydraulic steering as standard with the engine upgrade. Merc Vessel View, or Traditional gauges are an option at Nordic, but there is no price difference between the two so it is considered "standard."


Manufacturer (engine):
Mercury Racing 565
Number of engines: one
Cylinder type: V-8
Cubic inch displacement: 533 c.i.
Max rated PSHP @ RPM: 565 @ 5400
Propulsion type: Bravo XR
Fuel: 89 octane
Gear ratio: 1.50:1
Propeller make: Mercury Bravo I
Propeller blades: 4 blades
Propeller diameter x pitch: 15.25? x 26?


Top speed @ Max RPM (radar):
77.4 mph
Top speed @ Max RPM (GPS): 77.1 mph


0-30 mph: 7.81 seconds
30-50mph: 7.91 seconds
50- WOT: 13.88 seconds

acceleration-graph nordic-26.jpg

RPM @ Speed and PEF (propeller efficiency factor)

1000rpm @ 5.5 mph = 34%
2000rpm @ 14.3 mph = 43%
3000rpm @ 27.7 mph = 56%
3500rpm @ 33.9 mph = 60%
4000rpm @ 46.8 mph = 72%
4500rpm @ 57.8 mph = 78%
5000rpm @ 71.1 mph = 82%
WOT: 5260 rpm @ 77.4 mph = 89%

boat test-graph nordic-26.jpg

SCORE CARD (subjective ratings/opinions by test team)

LEVEL 1 (rating scale, 1=least, 10=best)

Hull/mold: 9.5 -great styling, excellent workmanship, need a magnifying glass to find a flaw.
Construction: 10.0 - on top of latest industry technology, somebody knows their composites.
Rigging/installation: 9.5 - less is more. Definitely working a well thought-out plan.
Interior/upholstery: 9.5 -kudos to the in-house Nordic upholstery team.
Innovations/unique features: 9.0 -fabulous interior, sponson storage lockers forward, great overall concept on making a deckboat sporty and functional.
Driveability: 9.0 -comfort personified, always a confident feeling of in-control
Attitude/set: 8.0 -great in the medium cruise range, mild lope appeared at 70+ mph
Turning/slalom/handling: 9.0 -Nordic has it down, no pucker-factor for this deckboat in the corners.
Acceleration (low speed): 9.0 -plenty of low end and easy on-plane, bust out the water toys.
Acceleration (mid-range): 9.0 - 533 cubic inches and an efficient bottom design works magic.
Acceleration (high end): 8.5 -strong and steady, then a climb to full speed.
Performance (low speed): 9.0 -stable platform, easy to maneuver.
Performance (mid-range): 9.0 -enjoy the ride, responsive steering, turns on a dime, lots to like.
Performance (high end): 8.5 - the more power the better. Likes a little chop to show-off its full potential.
Suitable purpose/function: 9.0 -might just be the best combination of ?sporty? and ?practical? in the deckboat genre.

LEVEL 2 (rating scale, 1=least, 5=best)

Gelcoat/graphics: 4.0 - great graphics, straight lines, watch the blends.
Helm/instrumentation: 4.5 - digital engine monitoring and DTS controls, best of the best.
Comfort/ergonomics: 5.0 -no, you can?t live-aboard, but you might want to.
Amenities/storage: 5.0 -making use of available space the way it was meant to.
Engine serviceability: 5.0 -nothing to improve on here.
Cockpit noise level: 4.5 -exhaust tip direction makes a different, outlets pointing to the water instead of straight out help.
Cockpit wind factor: 4.0 -driver and co-pilot protected by windscreens, breezy for everyone else on-board.
Appropriate power: 4.5 -top of the naturally aspirated engine line from Mercury Racing delivers the goods.
Tracking: 4.5 -just point it and go.
Lateral stability: 5.0 -not a hint of wobble or bobble ? it gets a five.

SCORECARD TALLY: 181.5 of a possible 200 max
VALUE VS POINTS SYSTEM : $699.20 per point


To read more and hear what people think of Nordic's 26' Deckboat please visit our forums and read the discussion thread HERE

Nordic Boats
770 N. Lake Havasu Ave.
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403

Written By Bob Brown
Dry Land Evaluation : Chris Hamlin of Prestige Marine, Aaron Fluent of Absolute Speed and Marine
Photos by : Dusty Wooddell (Primary) / Andrew Ruzek (Secondary) / Bob Brown (Back Up)