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A Tale of Two Tugs

We love our Nordic Tug. And we love boating way more than we thought we would. Since the end of September 2014 when we bought Airship, we’ve spent 118 nights onboard, traveled almost 1800 nautical miles, and run almost 300 engine hours, and we’re about to roughly double that with this trip up the Inside Passage to Alaska here in a few weeks. It’s pretty clear to us that this “phase” is not a phase.

In all the time spent on our Nordic 34, we’ve learned that there are two things we’d really like to have in the next boat: a bit more storage space, and an extra stateroom for guests.

A few weeks ago we went for another visit to the Nordic Tug factory over in Burlington, WA. They’ve got a new model coming out this year (the Nordic Tug 40…basically the Nordic 39 with some additional secret features). We weren’t able to actually see one of these (they’re still building the first one), but we’ve toured several Nordic 39s and while at the factory, we got to hear about a few of the NT40’s future features (which are very cool, but we can’t tell you about any of them yet).

The NT39, from the Nordic Tugs website:

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Here’s the plan/layout of the NT39/40, roughly:


The NT39/40 still has the main stateroom in the bow, like ours, but the NT40 stateroom has quite a bit more room (and headroom). The head is on the port side (and has a larger, enclosed shower stall), and across from that there’s a small guest stateroom with a full-sized bed, nightstand, and closet space. The bed can be configured as a sofa that converts, or as an all-the-time bed.

The salon is larger and has a U-shaped settee and a spacious galley with larger fridge/freezer and generous counter space. The salon and galley feel really open and bright. Overall the NT40 is 40 ft long, and 12’11” wide. (Our 34 is 34′ long and 10’3″ wide, so that’s more than 2′ wider and 6′ longer than what we have now.) The NT39/40 holds 320 gallons of fuel (compared to our current 205 gallons) and 144 gallons of fresh water (compared to our current 100 gallons).

Yesterday, we went over to LaConner for another tour of the American Tug factory, and to look at some boats. Originally when looking to buy a boat, we’d narrowed it down to both Americans and Nordics, and we just happened to find a used Nordic that suited us best at the time. We’re not all “Oh, I’ll never shoot Canon, Nikon ’til the end!” or anything like that. Both boats are very well made and we know we’d probably be happy being in either camp.

The American Tug 395 is the closest to the NT40, so we started there. The AT395, from the American Tugs website:

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The layout is very similar to the NT40, but there was just something that felt a little bit…I dunno…”clunky” is the only word I can think of…in the transition from the salon up to the pilothouse. The space just feels odd (at least in the particular AT we looked at). It’s not symmetric, but it’s not just that…it feels like there’s a bit of wasted space and too much variety in the height of things…hard to explain.


We decided to check out the next size up, the AT435. It’s 43’7″ long and 15’10” wide. That’s a LOT more space, and more boat than we thought we’d want….until we went inside. It’s gorgeous, and has none of the “non feng shui ness” that we were feeling in the 395.

There are a couple of good shots on the American Tugs blog “Steve’s American Tug News” that show the 395 and 435 side by side. That’s the 395 on the left, and the 435 on the right.

American Tug 395 vs 435-018

Here’s the plan/layout view. Main level with salon, galley, and pilothouse:


The salon has a U-shaped galley and an L-shaped settee, with some great custom options for what happens on the back of the galley counter (additional raised bar/counter with barstools, etc.). The fridge/freezer is huge, and the open feel of this area is great. The pilothouse has a central helm chair (which we didn’t think we wanted, since we like to pilot together) but on the port side of the pilothouse there’s another large seating area with a little table that would be a perfect place to be working while underway. The space on the right of the helm chair is customizable as well. We’ve seen it with a desk, or more seating, or with a closet and stairs that open out to the upper deck.

Here’s the lower level with master stateroom, guest stateroom, and master and guest heads:


The AT435 has an extra stateroom that can be configured with a queen sized bed with bunk over (for an extra person or kid, or for a couple to store their luggage and stuff). There’s a guest head with shower, and a combination washer/dryer that comes standard with the boat.

The master stateroom is midship, has a queen walk around bed and plenty of closet space, as well as a spacious master head with separate (large) shower stall. It’s a pretty fabulous boat that feels great to be in. It feels MUCH larger than our NT34…but unlike when we were first looking, it doesn’t feel like anything we couldn’t handle. It holds 640 gallons of fuel and 210 gallons of fresh water. Compared to our 205 gallons of fuel and 100 gallons of fresh water, that’s a pretty significant increase in range.

So here we are right back where we started as we think about what our next boat will be. Pepsi or Coke? Canon or Nikon? Mac or Windows? Hatfields or McCoys? Nordic Tug or American Tug?