The phone has been ringing off the hook over at Nordic Boats. All the major media players wanted first crack at this 43' Enforcer with the 1350's. It's an extremely rare boat, It's got great power in it, and to put it to you straight it's drop dead sexy. It's not just the media that was curious about this build, ever since the Lugo trailer was parked where it was visible to the public it has been the talk of the town. About twice a week I'd go to lunch with friends and invariably they would say "Dave what's the story on the Lugo over at Nordic?"
When we arrived at Windsor the first thing that I noticed is how user friendly this boat is to get in and out of. Quite a few of these large cats you'd be better off auditioning for Cirque Du Soleil than trying to get in them. I can't tell you how many times just trying to get into a boat and I find myself hanging on for dear life to not plummet to the ground below, or gently leaning on the windshield, but being careful not to put too much pressure on it, because if you crack it, you could've just as easily went out and bought a pretty decent around town car. To just walk up onto the deck, around to the back of the boat and step into the cockpit is huge.
To keep with that theme after we loaded everyone into the boat I noticed that everyone was standing, and they weren't cramped and trading elbows with the guy next to them. The Nordic cockpit is "limousine" size compared to most of it's counterparts in this genre of boat. You can see that Nordic opened up the gunnels on the side for a huge amount of storage, and two integrated "yeti" soft sided coolers as well!
It really frees up the cabin space by eliminating the need for coolers on the floor and other related items.
Every boat gives off a sense of purpose, and regardless of power plants they all have some kind of attitude to them. I haven't been in this boat five minutes yet, but it's becoming increasingly apparent that this boat is setup for hanging out on all day, and obviously with the 1350's breaking off all, but the Ultra Exotics whenever you feel like it. The interior is first class and most importantly comfortable. The installation in the cockpit is "clean." A lot of manufacturers will have switches on top of switches, with a switch to activate a switch to make it look like there's more going on then there really is. The Nordic had one simple row of buttons to activate the basic functions of the boat. Some of the other less pertinent functions like the stereo were controlled through the giant touch screens on the dash. (Surprisingly simple to use by the way!)
Shown here is the switch panel, and the center screen set on the back up camera.
The three large touch screens in the middle can display a multitude of functions from GPS Charts, speed, engine functions, stereo controls, on board cameras, diagnostics and more! While that may sound complicated, you can swipe from screen to screen, and the main menus were very intuitive.
Everybody in the boat was getting pretty giddy at this point as things were about to happen. I asked Mike Smith if he had ever been in it before, and he said "Just once". This was literally the third time the boat was in the water. As I settled into the passenger seat I scanned the switches on the dash just to see what they were and I saw one that said "Cameras". I couldn't help myself, you have to push that button right? Of course a front camera and rear camera raise up out of the deck of the boat. What boat wouldn't be complete with out automated on board cameras with data logging?
I had multiple cameras on the boat, so there's no need for these, so I push the button again, and they disappeared right back into the hull.
We Rolled out of the no wake zone, and Robbie gently laid into the throttles, and I couldn't help but notice yet another thing that was unique to the Nordic. It didn't struggle to come on plane. Normally these things have to break the props loose, the RPM's go to the moon and there's a ton of prop vibration before everything hooks up again and they go. The Nordic just simply started moving a little faster at a time. I'd tell you it came on plane at "X" mph, but the transition was so smooth I'm not really sure I could put a number on it. There's virtually no bow rise, it just goes from idling to cruising. As with anything though I'll tell you don't take my word for it. This is the video of the ride.
The video sums up the ride, the boat finds itself cruising anywhere from 105 - 140 quite comfortably with the 38's it was spinning. Our objective on this day was to go out and run the boat, but as we were instructed by Thane, under zero circumstances are we to break it.
What he was referring too was potentially throwing a blade on a prop or something of that nature, which can happen fairly randomly with these monster horsepower high speed cats. (Note the inward rotation of the props)
In short we didn't run the boat to it's potential, but we did buzz it up to just shy of 150 (with throttle left) just to punch her dance ticket once. She didn't disappoint with an extremely smooth and predictable ride, and for her size was amazingly responsive, yet docile in the turns. This was Robbie's first time driving the boat, and you could tell it didn't take a lot of "getting to know each other." It wasn't overly sensitive in any area, and honestly never did anything weird, it was about as perfect of a morning cruise as we could ask for. For Mike coming out of a 35' Flame and into this 43' I think Nordic absolutely nailed the setup on the boat.
I know everyone is chomping at the bit for some final "top speed number." We are all performance junkies at heart. I'm not trying to withhold that information from you guys believe me. We just honestly didn't run it that hard, and the second portion of that is the boat is setup to be a good nature'd fast cruiser. I don't care how much experience in cats the readers of this article think they have, when you get into these big exotics it's a whole different ball game. It's far wiser to learn the boat, and get seat time in it, before going out and trying to put up #'s. Even small setup changes and make huge differences to the handling of a boat at 150+.
For what Mike, his son Travis, and daughter Megan plan on using the boat for, I'm not sure that any setup changes are needed in the near future. Mike is the polar opposite of a lot of the guys that build these big boats. You're not going to see him and his family in team Jersey's, touting speed #'s at the bar, or talking about the last guy they smoked on the water.
Mike's extremely approachable, always with a smile on his face, and is far more concerned with him and his guests having fun, than to get wrapped up into some kind of ego driven contest or conversation. Although one could certainly make the argument on sheer size and girth alone he's got most the West Coast covered.
(pic courtesy of Travis Smith)
Mike is just a normal boater that wanted a boat that could cruise fast and actually be usable for the day. He's quick to point out that his favorite feature on the boat is the exceptionally large swim step that everyone can hang out on. His second favorite part is the interior that is aggressive enough to make you feel secure while running at speed, but not suffocating like some of the performance interiors can be. The two yeti ice chests integrated into the interior of the boat coupled with the two large storage areas / ice chests on the rear of the boat coupled with an incredible stereo will ensure that good times will be had on the water with him and his friends.
I have always privately said that even given the opportunity I wouldn't own one of these big cats. They are just too much work, to cramped inside, and generally aren't that great for anything other than hauling ass up and down the lake. This big Nordic is the first big cat that I said "I can see myself owning that". The ease of use to get in and out of it, the storage containers, and built in coolers, the amount of room inside of it. Six people can absolutely go out for a full day in this boat and have a blast all day without having to deal with any of the drama that's usually associated with this genre of boat. It is a perfect blend of East Coast true tunnel performance, with the styling and functionality that makes a Nordic, well a Nordic!
There's so much that goes into a boat like this, and I have to pick my battles as to how in depth we can get just because of the sheer length of the articles. I will just mention that everywhere you look there are cool little "tricks" in the boat. There's blue tooth headsets cleverly hidden up behind the center console that are still easy to reach from the seat. If you are in the back of the boat the vertical seat cushion will come off and there are headsets sitting in integrated hangers with charging ports in there as well! In the center of the transom of the boat you won't notice it, but there's a frenched in door that when you are at speed will blow open to allow air to escape from the engine bay. Tucked up into the transom as well there's a switch so you can turn on all the interior lights without having to climb in the boat if it's titled on the trailer. Next to that switch there's also a charging port so you can charge the batteries as well!
The last part relating to the boat that I'm going to talk about is the rigging. Nordic has become one of the premier boat builders on the West Coast since Randy bought the company. When you look in the engine bay of this 43, it is "simply beautiful". There's nothing unnecessary in here, and no "bling for the sake of bling." The finished bulkheads, floors and hatches give it an aura of class and integrity, and they let the 1350 speak for itself. All of the engine bay lighting is hidden so the boat still can give a good showing at night, but it's indirect lighting to keep in the theme.
To wrap the article up, about the only thing more sexy than the 43' Nordic, is the 43' Nordic on a Lugo. Lugo trailers are pretty rare as far as trailers go. The company literally redefined what a tilt trailer can be. Typically tilt trailers are large utilitarian style beasts that don't have a lot of aesthetics built into them. Lugo changed the game, when their tilt trailers came on the scene, not only were they functional, but they offered a level of industrial design and class that just hadn't been seen before in the tilt trailer market. To make things even more exclusive, while I haven't confirmed it, I have heard that they no longer build boat trailers. This was a trailer that was Randy Davis's personal trailer and somehow Mike managed to talk him out of it. I would've loved to have been a fly on the wall during that conversation, as it must have been one hell of a pitch!
If you see Mike and family out on the water make sure you wave hello. If you get the opportunity to talk to him on the beach, I think you will find he's one hell of a nice guy, and I'm sure you will enjoy meeting him as much as I did.
To learn more about the 43' Nordic or to schedule a demo call Thane at 928-855-7420 or visit www.nordicboatsusa.com