Join Date: Jul 2012
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Re: Is bigger always better? Nordica 20
With the recent post, I noticed a question was put to me which I never answered.
I still have the Nordica 20, just finishing my fourth season. I've invested a fair bit of time, effort and money: a new motor, mainsail, cushions, halyards and lazy jacks, replaced thru hulls & cockpit drains, new halyards run back to the cockpit, re-bedded all deck hardware and made some mods to the interior. At this point, she is a real pleasure to own.
Any thoughts of going bigger (or better--a Flicka might be a nice upgrade) are not driven by a compensatory mechanism, as was suggested, I assume tongue-in-cheek, but primarily by the idea of gaining cockpit and cabin space, making the boat a little closer to a cottage than a tent. These thoughts are, however, tempered by not wanting to lose any of the handling ease which I now enjoy. I'm single handed almost all the time, and am very comfortable handling her by myself, both on the water and at the dock. With both boat and motor tillers right at hand, she's more maneuverable in close quarters than a lot of the other boats I see.
I've been out in rough but not ferocious conditions. Despite the short length, the broad beam and low freeboard combined with full keel create a lot of stability. I sailed the first season with an old mainsail with no reef points; combined with my inexperience that made for a few hairy moments. Being able to reef removed any nagging fears about staying upright.
I tend to backwind the jib as a matter of course; the bow appreciates the extra shove, and I am not going to set any speed records for tacking (or anything else). I've yet to encounter the situation where I can't bring the bow around.
The biggest issue with weather is that even with an extra long shaft and a new motor mount the prop comes out of the water pretty easily when motoring against chop. If I were forced to motor any distance in unfavourable conditions it would be a tough slog. I think this is common to most outboards hung off the transom, but it's probably worse with a double ender. I know the best solution is an inboard, but that has its own drawbacks. I wonder about outboard wells, though I understand they create drag.
I get a lot of compliments on the Nordica from those who appreciate the salty stance. She is built like a tank and willing to withstand a lot from the captain and the weather.