December 9, 2010

Boat Review: Nord West 420 Flybridge

Presentation
A total different flybridge cruiser under the waterline, this is how Nord West set to build its 420 Flybridge model launched in the fall of 2005. The start for the launch of this model could not have been better being awarded Boat of the Show at Stockholm, Scandinavia in 2005, and two years later to this taking Motorboat of the Year Flybridge under 50ft for twice in a row in 2007, and 2008. So far no other boat has managed to take the IPC Awards from Motor Boat and Yachting and Motor Boats Monthly twice since they started them in 2000. The revolution of the 420 Flybridge is its accommodation, handling, economy to run, and very good top speed thanks to efficient Volvo stern drive or IPS pods propulsion. Many will tell you that stern drive are not good for flybridge but thanks to its length, good hull efficiencies, and new technologies Nord West managed to over come this obstacle and create a unique model in this size. This uniqueness in the 420's hull which was also the first flybridge boat to be equipped with IPS pods, and thanks to this also created a three cabin interior with all the berths being non bunk. Something still hard to find today and impossible in 2005 for a boat measuring thirteen meters.
Accommodation
Interior comfort is a big selling point to any motor cruiser, and thanks to its propulsion use Nord West creates unique spaces in the lower deck of the 420 Flybridge. But coziness predominant in all areas here, is also part of the Nordic nature of the 420 Flybridge. Welcoming you with a huge bathing platform aft where is possible to stow a large tender, two steps up lead you to a very cozy cockpit where an L-shaped settee is to be found to port side. To starboard is an integrated stairway which leads to the extended flybridge which has a central helm station with two co-pilot seats at both sides, and a spacious again cozy U-shaped settee aft. Worth of note is the luxurious unusual wood fitting out found in the exterior with the thick teak railing and toe rails aft being a unique feature of the Nord West 420 Flybridge.
Going inside into the main deck living area you find the saloon which is entered via a two part stainless steel patio door. Here natural light is abundant thanks to the all around windscreen windows which makes well for interior driving as well to create a nice atmosphere with the rich selected and varnished mahogany wood finishing. A C-shaped dinette to port, galley opposite with hidden wash basin and hob, entertainment area with flat TV on top, and the lower interior fully equipped helm station to starboard makes for the inside plan of the main deck.
A central corridor with three steps leads from the main to the lower deck, this having the three double cabins, and two heads. Forward is the owners suite; which features a central island double berth and personal shower head. Looking to aft and located to mid ship are two identical double cabins; which impress for the size, headroom and comfort. A guest second shower head with cubicle shower which is identical in size to the owners en-suite completes the spacious cabin sleeping area.
Performance
A big selling point for the Nord West 420 Flybrdge is its performance which is to say the least efficient, fast, and handles like a dream. This is so thanks to a different propulsion choice for what concerns a flybridge motor cruiser, and a lightly narrower to the usual beam. Two engines, and two propulsion choices characterize the 420 Flybridge. You can have it with Volvo D6 370hp in stern drive or IPS pod drives, or D6 435hp in IPS600 version only. Being a flybridge I would prefer the IPS version versus the stern drive especially for what concerns close quarters marina manoeuvring. Although latest generation modern stern drive which feature joysticks giving independent movement, and a powerful bow thruster will surely make things easier with this configuration, with a gain of handling and at the pump. The fastest and most efficient choice is the stern drive twin 370hp which gives a top speed of 36 knots, and a best cruise of 26 knots giving 345 nautical miles of range. My preferred 435hp IPS600 choice with 65hp more horses per engine gives a one digit less 35 knots top speed and a best economy cruise of 24 knots giving a 301 nautical miles range. The IPS500 370hp top speed is still fast giving a 32 knots, and a very efficient best cruise at 26 knots giving 298 nautical miles. Handling of the Nord West 420 Flybridge is impeccable and if you want a sports boat steering on a flybridge its very hard to do better then this.
Positive
Performance and Handling
Three cabins interior
Cozy well protected exterior areas like aft deck and flybridge
Fitting out
Negative
nil
Competition
Surely if I did the review for the Nord West 420 Flybridge in 2006 the list below will be a lot less and will only feature shaft driven cruisers with a third bunk cabin. But in the last two years some builders are following Nord West putting IPS on flybridge models, and this is creating some interesting competition. Criteria here is for a flybridge motor cruiser measuring over all thirteen meters and with three cabins.
Absolute 43 Fly - new in 2010, Med modern minimal looks, fixed hard top on fly
Astondoa 44 Fly - shafts or IPS, spacious main deck, Med looks
Carnevali 130 - shafts, more a two cabin boat, third cabin option is bunk
Dellapasqua DC12 SL - three or two cabin, classic deep Vee hull, feels big
Galeon 440 Fly - shafts or IPS, Tony Castro hull and design, fit out options inside
Intermare 43 - 3 or 2 cabins choice, third cabin bunk, spacious aft deck
Majesty 44 - Middle East offer, bunk third cabin, shafts
Prestige 440 - shafts, two or three cabins, third bunk cabin, Peters hull
Rodman 44 Muse - IPS pods, modern looks by Fulvio De Simoni
Starfisher ST45 Cruiser - flagship from this Portugal builder, IPS
Storebro 435 Commander - 2 or 3 cabin, spacious living, internal stair case, shafts
WILD CARD: Viking 42 Convertible - sportfish, ZF pods, 2 or 3 cabins
Conclusion
When Nord West set to project the 420 Flybridge a lot of input and research was carried out by the Swedish builder in order to present a top of the class flybridge motor boat. The results are for all to see and the Nord West 420 Flybridge apart scoring points for its handling and accommodation layout with the dedicated press and taking three prizes in this feat, also took great care to offer an economic to run flybridge motor cruiser. Considering its performance which translates in less fuel at the pump and the comforts it offers at less length the 420 Flybridge real winner here is the customer who chooses this very clever Benny Martinsson project.
Technical Data
LOA. 13.5 metres (44.2ft)
Hull Length. 12.8 metres Waterline length. 10.5 metres
Beam. 3.90 metres
Draft. 1.20 metres
Displacement. 13 t
Fuel Capacity. 2 x 600 litres
Water Capacity. 500 litres
Max Persons. 15
Accommodation. 6 berths in 3 cabins
Engines. 2 x Volvo D6 370hp, D6 435hp
Propulsion. Volvo DP dual propeller stern drive, IPS 500, and IPS 600 forward looking pods
Speed. 35 knots max, 31 knots cruise with IPS600, 36 knots max with 370hp stern drive
Range. 301 nm at 24 knots with IPS600, 345 nm at 26 knots with 370hp stern drive
Hull Shape. planning Vee shape
Project. Benny Martinsson
Construction. fiberglass sandwich construction with Divinycell core
Certification. CE B
Picture Copyright Nord West. Data Nord West.