In early summer 2018, Nordhavn delivered a highly customized expedition-style yacht based on the company’s 96-foot hull. Christened Serenity and painted in eye-catching Stars and Stripes blue, she is a handsome addition to the Nordhavn lineup and the first of what is now being marketed as the Nordhavn 100, or N100.
As he recounted the events that led to the project, Serenity’s owner noted that the path to the final delivery had a few twists and turns, starting in Key Biscayne, Florida, where neighbors had gotten him hooked on fishing.
“I couldn’t wait for someone to invite me to get out for sailfish or wahoo, or deep-drop for snapper or grouper,” he said. “I just couldn’t wait for the next invitation. Finally, I said, ‘Enough waiting. I am just going to buy a boat.’ So, I bought a 65-foot Rybovich that was called Cacique. And that started my boating adventure, if you will.”
Despite her high quality and excellent fishing capabilities, the Rybovich came with a challenge for the father of four.
“No matter how calm the seas are, when you’re doing 30 knots, it’s just not comfortable,” he said. “It’s not easy to have a conversation, it’s not easy to play a board game, it’s not easy to make yourself a cocktail—there’s just a lot going on when you’re [going that fast].”
As it happened, a neighbor who owned a sportfisherman built by American Custom Yachts had ordered a 63-foot Nordhavn and introduced him to the builder. The next step came during a trip to New Zealand, where the owner visited a 75-foot Nordhavn yachtfisherman, a tour organized by James Leishman, a company sales representative and member of the second generation of Nordhavn’s founding family. Another tour followed, this time on an N86 that was berthed in Seattle.
“After that,” Leishman recalled, “he became interested in a larger boat, which, at the time, was the 96. That then turned into a 100-footer.”
The location of Nordhavn’s facility in Dana Point, California, was also an attractive consideration.
“The Nordhavn guys are only 55 minutes from my house in Southern California,” the owner explained. “So, I went down there, and we started talking and designing and drawing, and [began] looking at the different models that might fit my requirements. And, lo and behold, we ended up with a 96 that they customized and put a fishing cockpit on the back of. That’s what led me to Nordhavn.”
Yet, even before this introduction was made, the owner had been prospecting along another trail, the head of which was marked by a legendary 65-foot Rybovich yachtfisherman called Margaret. “When I decided to buy a new boat or have a new boat built, I of course went to Mike Rybovich, who I always thought would build me a boat. Margaret was the foundation for the boat that they drew up for me.
“Unfortunately, that boat was too fast. In South Florida, nobody wants a boat that goes 10 knots,” he said with a laugh. “Everyone wants a yachtfisherman going 100 miles an hour. So to keep the value of that boat, everyone simply had to do at least 20 knots.
“We’re not going fast, and I don’t want any limits as to where I can go or can’t go,” he added. “So, a Nordhavn afforded me an opportunity to fish and to spend time with my family anywhere in the world that I so choose.”
Although Serenity has a number of systems and stowage upgrades, it is the yacht’s arrangement that differentiates her from an N96. The principal difference is her cockpit and its adjacent California deck, a West Coast term for what some East Coast builders now call a covered aft deck mezzanine.
Other structural differences are reflected in the general arrangement. Chief among them is the replacement of the bridge deck lounge and captain’s cabin with a master suite that provides exceptional views for a yacht of this size. By reconfiguring this space, the wheelhouse gains a larger settee for guests, and the space normally dedicated to the master becomes a VIP suite.
Another area that was customized is the galley, which was enlarged to provide more space for food preparation. The resulting footprint stole a small amount of room from the dining salon but still allowed for a dining table that seats 12.
For readers familiar with the hull lines of the early Nordhavn models, the N86 and its subsequent iterations, the N96 and N100 have a relatively deeper draft and greater displacement that enhance comfort in a seaway. The other benefit is that the more voluminous hulls also afford quite a bit more interior space. For example, in addition to the interior and exterior public spaces and the aforementioned master and VIP staterooms, Serenity has three additional guest staterooms and crew quarters for four, as well as day heads on the main and bridge decks.
“The owner made it very clear to our team that he wanted the yacht to be a haven for family; he wanted large spaces for them to enjoy time together comfortably,” interior designer Destry Darr stated in a Nordhavn press release. “After visiting the owner’s home and discussing his overall wishes for the design, it was clear he appreciates modern, clean lines, rich deep-grained woods contrasted with light accents, luxurious spa-like finishes, and splashes of color. He wished for a yacht that was unique and differentiated, and he gave us the creative license to bring his vision for Serenity to fruition.”
Having cruised Baja, California, for a week at the beginning of the summer, Serenity headed north to British Columbia for 10 days before moving on to Alaska for another 10.
LOA: 99ft. 10in. (30.43m) / LWL: 88ft. 6in. (26.97m) / Beam: 24ft. (7.32m) / Draft: 8ft. 2in. (2.49m) / Construction: FRP composite / Displacement: 200.4 tons / Engines: 2 x 600-hp Caterpillar C18 Acert / Fuel: 7,000 gal. (26,497L) / Water: 900 gal. (3,407L) / Speed (max.): 12 knots / Speed (cruise): 10 knots / Range: 3,500 nm at 10 knots / Generators: 2 x 44kW Caterpillar / Stabilizers: ABT-Trac at-rest / Bow thrusters: 2 x 50-hp ABT / Naval architecture: Jeff Leishman / Engineering: Phil Arnold / Exterior design: Jeff Leishman / Interior design: Destry Darr Designs / Guests: 10 in 5 staterooms / Crew: 4 in 2 cabins / Builder: Nordhavn/Pacific Asian Enterprises / Year: 2018
“That was magnificent,” the owner said, adding that after the yacht finished her commissioning work in Dana Point this past fall, she was expected to head south.
“We will fish and vacation aboard as she makes her way through Mexico,” he said. “I suspect by Christmas she will be in Mexico, and we will decide which destination we want to vacation at. Ixtapa, perhaps.… From there, she’ll head down to Costa Rica, and I suspect we will spend the entire spring in Costa Rica. And that’s as far as I’ve gotten. Maybe in the summer we will do Cartagena and the Galapagos. Or Panama.
“The time aboard the vessel has been fantastic,” he added. “My family and I have just enjoyed the heck out of the experience so far. It’s exceeded all of my expectations.”
For more information: nordhavn.com
Have a closer look at the Nordhavn 100 Serenity in the gallery below: