Draft Dodger

Nord­lund’s 108-foot ex­pe­di­tion yacht Rush­more is de­signed to go the dis­tance with­out scrub­bing coral.

Yachts International - - Contents - BY JERRY STANS­FIELD

Nord­lund’s 108-foot ex­pe­di­tion yacht Rush­more is de­signed to go the dis­tance with­out scrub­bing coral.

For all its nat­u­ral gifts, the Com­mon­wealth of the Ba­hamas en­joys a well-earned rep­u­ta­tion as a fa­vorite among the world’s pre­mier cruis­ing venues. One chal­lenge, though, is the re­gion’s preva­lence of shoals, fats and banks that deny ac­cess to own­ers of deep­er­draft ves­sels. For one such cou­ple, years of ex­plor­ing the Ba­hamian hin­ter­lands led to con­sid­er­able frus­tra­tion and the re­solve to seek an al­ter­na­tive de­sign. While con­form­ing to their man­date for an off­shore-ca­pa­ble, long-range ves­sel, the cou­ple launched an ex­haus­tive search that ul­ti­mately brought them to fam­ily-owned, Ta­coma, Wash­ing­ton-based Nord­lund Boat Com­pany.

Con­cur­rent with their choice of builder for what would—tech­ni­cally—be­come 108-foot (32.92-me­ter) Rush­more was the se­lec­tion of R. Ed­win Monk naval ar­chi­tec­ture, it­self a fam­ily op­er­a­tion span­ning two gen­er­a­tions and au­thor of nearly ev­ery de­sign to emerge from the Nord­lund yard. Tim Nolan Marine De­sign, an­other vet­eran of mul­ti­ple Nord­lund projects, was re­cruited for struc­tural and marine en­gi­neer­ing. The Monk-Nolan al­liance of­fered a con­sor­tium of ex­perts in proven de­sign and con­struc­tion meth­ods, but also ea­ger adapters of ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies, and there­fore was an ap­pro­pri­ate re­source to meet the mul­ti­fac­eted de­sign brief.

The own­ers con­sid­ered a va­ri­ety of hull forms, ul­ti­mately set­tling on a slightly rounded shal­low-V dis­place­ment mono­hull con­fgu­ra­tion with hard chines, a bow bulb and a nearly full-length keel. Dual foil rud­ders were kept rel­a­tively short so as not to ex­tend be­low the keel’s depth. Sim­i­larly, the yacht was ft­ted with an ABT ac­tive sta­bi­lizer sys­tem whose four fns are shorter—and there­fore shal­lower—than those a dual-vane sys­tem would re­quire. (Pro­pel­lers turn within the protective confnes of pock­ets re­cessed well into the bot­tom.) To­gether, th­ese fea­tures and com­po­nents limit Rush­more’s draft to a scant 5 feet 3 inches, more than 3 feet shal­lower than that of the own­ers’ pre­vi­ous yacht, a sub-80 footer.

Aug­ment­ing the hy­draulic sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem and specifed pri­mar­ily for at-rest roll at­ten­u­a­tion are twin Frahm tanks built into the tran­som just be­low the wa­ter­line. This ar­cane piece of hy­dro­dy­nam­ics was in­tro­duced in the early 20th cen­tury and ap­plied in a

va­ri­ety of forms, pri­mar­ily in larger com­mer­cial ves­sels. For Rush­more, Nolan de­vel­oped a vari­ant com­pris­ing the two in­ter­nal com­part­ments. Each opens to the sea in a man­ner that lets it fll and drain out of sync with the rolling mo­tion of the hull. The al­ter­nat­ing load and buoy­ancy di­min­ish roll. “As a com­pletely pas­sive sys­tem,” the owner said, “there’s no power re­quire­ment, so we don’t have to run gen­er­a­tors or drain bat­ter­ies in or­der to ride com­fort­ably at an­chor.”

As promi­nently as Ba­hamas cruis­ing may have fgured in the own­ers’ brief, they also an­tic­i­pated the need for un­lim­ited ac­cess to the In­tra­coastal Wa­ter­way.

“In our pre­vi­ous boat, we of­ten had to de­tour out­side the ICW to avoid shal­lower stretches, which at times meant we’d have to put up with a rough ride or wait for a weather sys­tem to clear,” the owner said. “Now we can stick to the in­shore route when we’re head­ing north or south, with no de­lays and no need to put up with dis­com­fort in heavy seas.”

Notwith­stand­ing Rush­more’s shal­low-wa­ter cre­den­tials, the yacht’s de­sign, ro­bust scant­lings and cored com­pos­ite con­struc­tion ren­der her equally at home off­shore; her range at 9 knots (cal­cu­lated us­ing on­board speed and fuel-fow read­ings with a 10 per­cent fuel re­serve) ex­ceeds 4,000 nau­ti­cal miles, plenty for am­bi­tious pas­sage­mak­ing.

Alone or in the com­pany of fam­ily and friends, the own­ers are equally happy act­ing as a short-handed crew of two to their cap­tain, so while defn­ing their pref­er­ences, they re­mained mind­ful of the con­sid­er­able at­tribute of sim­plic­ity. Rush­more has an easy-to­op­er­ate dual an­chor­ing sys­tem, port and star­board dock­ing sta­tions and a tank­age sys­tem ft­ted with a 3-inch cross­over line to al­low fu­el­ing from ei­ther side with­out los­ing trim. Built into the af­ter bul­wark of the cov­ered Cal­i­for­nia deck is a cabi­net for stow­ing docklines and fend­ers ex­actly where they’re needed.

Iron­i­cally, the price of sim­ple op­er­a­tion may be a lit­tle com­plex­ity in de­sign. In the case of Rush­more’s on­board data sys­tems, the Nord­lund team in­stalled an ar­ray of NUCs (Next Unit of Com­put­ing) by In­tel, on the the­ory that mul­ti­ple smaller com­put­ers are less vul­ner­a­ble to a sys­tem-wide fail­ure than a sin­gle, larger unit. As part of an in­ter­con­nected net­work, each NUC per­forms one or more dis­crete func­tions while re­tain­ing the abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate data and share tasks with each of the oth­ers. Rush­more has no fewer than 17 ac­tive units (plus two spares) man­ag­ing a va­ri­ety of ves­sel op­er­a­tions in­clud­ing nav­i­ga­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, weather, en­ter­tain­ment, mon­i­tor­ing, light­ing and fve In­ter­net sources.

Even among ex­pe­di­tion yacht af­ciona­dos—a sub­set widely re­puted to use their ves­sels more of­ten than oth­ers—the own­ers of Rush­more plan an am­bi­tious agenda that ul­ti­mately may in­clude a north­bound odyssey to the Canadian Mar­itimes, a re­turn trip south­ward to the Greater and Lesser An­tilles, and thence to Mex­ico and Alaska, with pos­si­bly a length­ier cross­ing to the South Pacifc. Given their dili­gence in plan­ning their yacht’s de­sign and con­struc­tion, they should meet few ob­sta­cles to the clos­est of en­coun­ters at any des­ti­na­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion: 253 627 0605, nord­lund­boat.com

BE­LOW: Rush­more’s own­ers specifed an open ar­range­ment of main-deck com­mon spa­ces—liken­ing the in­te­rior de­sign and con­vivial dé­cor to that of a home, not a ho­tel—while owner and guest ac­com­mo­da­tions of­fer more pri­vacy.

Right: Large win­dows and an over­head hatch il­lu­mi­nate the mas­ter state­room, which is for­ward on the main deck. be­low Right: Rush­more’s con­trol and nav­i­ga­tion suite in­cludes an in­te­grated data net­work and a Maretron mon­i­tor­ing, alarm and no­tifca­tion sys­tem.

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