The Nordic Tug was designed for extensive cruising, providing fuel efficiency, safety and relative comfort even in inclement weather. Here are just a few key reasons why:
THE KEEL: The full-length keel accomplishes several things. In addition to its main purpose of tracking it protects the propeller and rudder from floating debris and also offers some protection from accidental groundings. It provides comfort when cruising by resisting side-to-side rolling motion. To achieve this level of comfort, other boats often have additional stabilizing equipment but with the Nordic Tug hull the keel is always in place and provides stability full time.
HARD CHINES: The Nordic Tug was designed with a semi-displacement hull, with full keel and extremely wide, Hard Chines. Extensive testing has proven it was the perfect answer for speed, comfort and stability.
FINE ENTRY: The fine entry of the bow parts waves head-on, minimizing the abrupt lifting of the bow. In bigger waves the forward section of the boat does occasionally lift and dip down into solid water, but it does so without the pounding action so familiar in planing-hulled boats.
These hull design features add up to a level of comfort that allows you to cruise longer hours without fatigue and discomfort.
The following pictures are from previously built Nordic Tugs. Please note that most of these pictures were taken pre Covid-19 therefore there wont be many pictures with our folks wearing a mask.
Here is a picture showing the port hull bottom. Nordic Tug uses a split hull mold design not only due to the angles and certain feature lines but also adds easier access for our lamination crew for a higher quality roll out for the hand laid laminate process. Once we confirm the color choices from our customer we will proceed with preparing the mold for the gel coat application
The gel coat is sprayed onto the mold surface using a spray gun. The thickness of the gel coat material is typically 18 to 20 mils thick which is about as thick as 2 to 3 standard business cards. In this case (as pictured) the white was sprayed on first than the prep paper removed and the darker blue was sprayed overlapping the white. This is what you will see once the hull is removed from the mold.
The top deck is prepped similar to the hull except we add inserts into place before the gel coat is applied to provide a sealed edge around the openings of the windows and doors that are later installed in the assembly process. You will see what the deck looks like later when it is removed from the mold.
Top deck gel coat application
The Skin Coat: The skin coat is the first layer of fiberglass to be applied over the gel coat. For the skin coat, Nordic Tug uses a vinyl-ester resin, which has been proven effective at blister prevention to the hulls structural laminates. The skin coat also serves as a barrier against “print through” from succeeding layers of fiberglass.
Structural Lamination: Structural lamination’s strengthen the hull and consist of multiple layers of “knitted fiberglass”. Each layer adds roughly .07″ to the structure. There are more layers in the keel and the hull bottom than in the hull sides for added strength. The number of layers in each boat is determined by the size/model. It should also be noted that between each layer of knitted fiberglass we apply “chop strand” continuous strand for additional bonding strength.
Here is a look at the port hull bottom just before the two halves are coupled together.
Both hull bottoms have been gel coated, skin coated, structurally laminated and now bolted together and ready to continue the process.
Once the two halves are coupled together we will add multiple layers of knitted fiberglass to the keel of the hull that structurally ties the two parts together. Once completed the keel will end up being the thickest part of the hull.
The black water and gray water tanks built right into the keel. The keel is the first line of defense against grounding damage. Using keel sections as tanks provides watertight compartments; where there are no tanks, the keel is filled with closed-cell foam and glassed over for added protection.
Jigs are used to locate and set the resin coated 3/4″ plywood or composite bulkheads into place for structural strength and rigidity.
The stringer material is rigid foam and Bluewater Coosa and are set into placed and encapsulated in laminate fiberglass. Stringers are tied into each bulkhead at each end and limber holes are added to allow any water to drain towards the keel. We have reduced the amount of wood used for structural purposes in the hull stiffening process and replaced it with Bluewater Coosa material which is made of high density, closed-cell polyurethane foam reinforced with woven roving and continuous strand fiberglass. Coosa material is also 40%-45% lighter than wood therefore offers a lighter boat made with a better quality and durable material.
Once the hull bottom is completed it needs to be removed from the mold. We uncouple the two halves (molds) and spread them apart that exposes the birth of a new Nordic Tug hull.
The top deck process is similar to the hull. We start off with a skin coat that provides a hard shell between the gel coat and structural laminates that follow.
Additional laminates are used in certain areas after the skin coat process which adds thickness and strength to the part
Most of the coring material we use is 5-6 lb PVC core. Depending on the location will determine the thickness of the material used. What’s unique in how we install the core material is we use a core bond putty that the material is embedded in unlike the laminated method where the core material is set on top of wet laminate leaving a possibility of voids between the laminate and the core material.
Once the core material is in place we will bull-nose the edges prior to the final layer which leaves a nice edge with no gaps or bridges between the laminate material.
We have removed all structural wood used for the top deck and replaced it with Bluewater Coosa. This took place sometime in the 2015 model year. Notice the darker coosa material around the pilot house door way. Not only do you have a sealed edge around the opening the material the mounting fasteners are going into a composite material in lieu of wood. Again, it makes for a higher quality product with a lighter weighted material.
Top deck ready to be removed from the mold
Top deck is removed from the mold. Note the inserts where there is a sealed molded opening for the doors and windows. Once the inserts are removed there are no exposed edges.
Every laminated part goes through the grinding process. This is where we remove any extra chop hairs or rough surfaces and prep the surface for any secondary base coating. These are typically areas that will be visible in the end product by the customer. Instead of looking at raw glass you see a nice colored surface.
Once the parts go through the grinding process they will be moved to our patch and detail station (P&D). This means exactly what is states. This station we address any flaws in the gel coat surface and clean the parts and prepare them to be moved into our assembly building. This deck was ground then had to be flipped and set onto a cart first prior to being moved into this station. Notice the tops are not on at this stage. Once the part is detailed we will mount the pilot house and sundeck tops into place.
Pilot house top and sundeck top now in place
Once the parts are protected they move out of our lamination shop and into our assembly shop where hardware begins to be installed. This picture not only shows the surface coating and the protective film we use during the build process but also shows the beginning of open hull. All Nordic Tugs and their Engine compartments are completely insulated for sound.
Fuel tanks, wiring, through-hulls, batteries and other components are installed inside the hull before bonding the top deck to the hull bottom.
Sub assemblies and other larger bulkheads, stairwells, and components are built outside of the hull and set in later to avoid debris, unnecessary labor and possible damage by doing the work after the deck is bonded to the hull.
The module being lifted and set inside the hull.
Another view of the open hull
This is the sole of a Nordic Tug 44′. Once the module is set we build the sole which is installed before the deck is bonded to the hull.
The soul once set into place and is tied in to the module with fiberglass. This is a NT 44′ salon floor and galley area.
The modules and souls are all tied into the hull and deck (once the deck is bonded to the hull) with fiberglass for long lasting strength and durability. This is a picture of a NT 34′ master stateroom bunk base and forward module.
The top deck is outfitted with windows, hardware and some interior ceiling and wall vinyl. We strive to install as much of the hardware and components inside the hull and to the deck before the parts are bonded together.
The deck-to-hull joint is another important structural part of the boat. Use of stainless steel fasteners and 3-M’s 5200 bedding compound assures that this joint is in accordance with best marine practices.
When the deck is firmly in position, it is laminated to the inside of the hull to complete a strong hull-to-deck bond. Note: This is a picture of a NT 44′ and the bond process requires us to remove the bow rails so that is why you are seeing this deck without it’s bow rails. They will be reattached after the joint is set and glassed together.
Hard to talk about a Nordic Tug without mentioning all the beautiful woodwork that is inside. There are a few in process pictures of misc. wood work being built. All hand crafted here at the factory.
As production progresses more and more of the interior begins to take shape. A few pictures showing different stages of the carpenter process.
Note that the hanging lockers are tied into the hull sides with laminate.
Another part of a Nordic Tug that our customers talk about is the wiring that we manufacture here at the factory. Each harness is custom built to match the options chosen by the customer. This allows us the flexibility to accommodate any special request from our customers. Relocating light switches and adding outlets is not a problem as we control the process right here at Nordic Tugs. Attached are a few pictures showing some of the wiring.
Once we are finished with the build process each Nordic Tug is taken to the water for Sea Trial. This is where we check all the systems onboard and get to take our last look at it before it is cleaned up and shipped to the customer.
After the sea trial and once we know all the systems are working and we feel good about the quality of the build it is packaged up and shipped to the customer.
There are so many things that make up a Nordic Tug it is impossible to show and list everything. This gives you an idea of the process here at the factory. If you have questions or would like to keep up with the Nordic Tug factory please visit our Nordic Tug Factory Facebook Page. We appreciated sharing this information with you.