This Danish deck saloon oozes quality and solidity from every mahogany grain, but how well does she sail? Chris Beeson had 24 hours to find out
What’s she like to sail?
At over 14,000kg (31,000lb), the Nordship 430DS is the heaviest boat I’ve ever tested, but she felt nimble, gambolling along with a surprisingly lively motion. The helm felt wonderfully tight, so much so that we thought she had a direct link with universal joints instead of cable. With the rudder mounted well aft, she responds quickly and exactly. There was no question of losing control.
The stats say she’s a very stately cruiser, similar to a Bowman 42 in performance terms, so in lighter winds you’ll need the big engine, but in the blow we experienced she felt fabulous off the wind, with the big main urging her on. The self-tacker becomes a bit of a liability off the wind, though you could barberhaul it into usefulness, but the sailing itself couldn’t have been simpler. The logic of placing all the sail control lines to the starboard winch seems questionable but in practice it worked well. The only issue, particular to our test boat, was that the yard had mistakenly mounted the clutches in such a way that the jib sheet, from the top clutch, would ride a turn if you didn’t hold it down as you trimmed, and generally fingers and electric winches don’t get on well.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
The deck saloon table provides a perfectly finished mahogany focal point for dining while enjoying your surroundings, though I’d probably ask the yard to fit a window or hatch in the cockpit bulkhead to complete the panoramic view. The galley has plenty of stowage and the linear design works as well at anchor as it does at sea. Once you’ve finished your pudding you can repair to the evening saloon, a cosy, secluded nook, for a coffee and a digestif, and maybe settle down for a movie before retiring to your climate- controlled cabin. With the two en suite cabin layout, two couples can shower, dress and assemble around the saloon table, or, on a fine morning, in the cockpit for breakfast. The bathing platform
is less accessible than it would be with a walk-through transom, but before cursing the design, ask yourself if you’d sacrifice the opulence of the aft cabin for the sake of a step or two. Her 2m draught rules out creek-crawling and a fair few anchorages, but she wouldn’t sail so well with shallower draught.
Would she suit you and your crew?
Yachties divide into two camps: romantics, who believe a boat must look pretty, and pragmatics, who believe a boat must work well. You will often find that those in the latter camp prefer deck saloons because, for them, it’s the space below and the view out that counts. I’m in the latter camp. Comfort and headroom matter to me, and I like to sit down in the warmth of a saloon and watch the sun set. Bent double in the bowels of a boat – however pretty – you could be in Tilbury or Tortola and it wouldn’t matter.
So she’ll suit pragmatists – successful ones, as a well-specified version of this boat is not cheap – who like uncomplicated, non- tweaky, shorthanded cruising, probably in higher latitudes as there are boats better suited to Mediterranean living, perhaps the Moody 45DS or the Bénéteau Sense 43. Stowage down below is abundant (although not quite as generous as on deck) so you could cruise remote areas for extended periods and want for nothing.
If excellent craftsmanship pleases you, you will revel in Nordship’s attention to detail and finish below. You have 380 litres of diesel but a generator, wind or otherwise, might be a useful.