On the 10th anniversary of the founding of North Pacific Yachts, at the Seattle Boat Show, the builder’s CEO Trevor Brice introduced me to the North Pacific 49, representing the “next generation” of design and build quality for the Vancouver, British Columbia, company. What started as a father-son partnership to build their own cruising yacht has turned into a successful builder of more than 100 boats, ranging in size from 28 to 52 feet.
We arranged for a sea trial as the NP49 was being moved from the show up to Everett. I met the captain, a North Pacific owner himself, on the frosty docks of Lake Union. The day was beautiful, clear, no wind, but cold, with the temperature in the low 30s. Maneuvering off the dock was simple—cast off the lines, a few taps on the thrusters, and we were off. As we motored out through the ship canal from Lake Union, I was immediately struck by how quiet the boat was.
The pilothouse is really well designed for operating the boat. Access to controls is very good, and visibility is terrific, whether one is standing or sitting. Maneuvering through the large lock at the Hiram Chittenden locks was also quite easy. I noticed, when paying out line as we descended, that the hawsepipe was small for a 49-footer. I’d like to see larger ones on a boat of this size.
Once through the locks, we were out in Puget Sound with 5-knot winds and very little chop. We were clearly not going to be able to see how the NP49 handled adverse conditions. A couple of speed runs really told the story on this boat. At the sweet spot of 1750rpm, we were making 7.9 knots over the ground, burning 3.9 gph and reading just 68dB(A). The highest readings on the sound meter were the result of our own conversation. I asked the captain to put her hard over at cruise speed. The NP49 made a full turn in 2 to 3 boat lengths, with a few degrees of lean to the outside of the turn. She pushed through her own wake with minimal pitch and a little bit of roll as the waves hit her beam.
SALOON AND GALLEY
You step aboard the NP49 via doors on either side of the cockpit, which is covered by the boat deck and offers access to a generous swim platform through a centerline transom door. Entering the full-beam saloon, I was impressed by the finish quality. Walls and joinery are handcrafted teak, and the sole is teak and holly.
I am ambivalent about full-beam saloon designs, but the spaciousness of the NP49’s saloon gives me reason to reconsider my prejudice. The beam on the NP49 is 15.5 feet, the same as on my Ocean Alexander Mark I, but the saloon is several feet wider. Hull No. 1 features a dinette to port and a pair of freestanding chairs to starboard, with a cabinet between them. Hull No. 2 has an L-shaped settee to port, and North Pacific offers a variety of layouts at no extra charge to suit individual taste.
The galley is forward and to port, with space for a full-size household refrigerator; a Nova Kool marine unit is standard on the forward bulkhead. Beside the refrigerator are a Seward electric range with a microwave oven mounted above. I’d go with the optional Seward propane range, particularly after seeing that the locker on the flybridge can easily accommodate three 20lb. tanks. The galley is separated from the saloon by a large bar/prep area with plenty of drawers below and cabinets above. There is room for an optional dishwasher here, and plenty of room for a couple to work on meal preparation.
The pilothouse is four steps up from the saloon, and is the centerpiece of the boat, featuring dual adjustable helm seats and excellent sight lines all around. The helm panel is about as wide as the center of the three forward windows, leaving the view out the port and starboard windows unobstructed. The panel can accommodate dual 15-inch multifunctional displays (MFDs).
Engine gauges are mounted on the almost horizontal dash section forward of the helm, making them a bit difficult to see, especially when seated. When I pointed this out to Brice, he acknowledged it and indicated that future builds would have a wider panel, accommodating the engine gauges while minimizing impact on forward visibility. There is more than adequate horizontal working surface for charts and plenty of room in the panel above the helm for additional instrumentation.
I liked seeing windlass controls and rode counters at both helm stations. One oversight, in my opinion, is the lack of a rudder-angle indicator. This is an option available with the Garmin autopilot, but I would like to see analog indicators at both helm stations. The AC and DC panels are down low on the port side of the pilothouse. I would move the Magnum remote from the DC panel up to the panel above the helm for at-a-glance viewing of the load and battery status.
Abaft the helm is a large L-shaped settee and table. The table can be lowered, and the settee can be converted into a watch berth or a place for the kids to sleep. Heavy-duty sliding doors (built at the factory) open to side decks with steps aft on either side up to the flybridge and access to the bow. The rails are sturdy and plenty high. Bringing the boat into the slip from this pilothouse would be a snap, with great visibility to the dock out the side doors, good visibility astern to the starboard side through the salon or via a camera mounted aft and displayed on one of the two Garmin MFDs.
A centerline companionway four steps down from the salon leads to the accommodations. To starboard is the guest/day head, to port is the guest stateroom, and forward is the master stateroom with en suite head. The heads are reasonably sized and well finished, with Tecma toilets, high-quality fixtures, portlights, and large showers. The shower doors are frosted, with the North Pacific logo etched into them. The ceilings are mirrored to enhance the sense of space and to eliminate potential mildew issues with standard headliners.
The guest stateroom is equipped with two single berths (which slide together to make a queen berth) and a fold-down bunk along the inboard wall. Its high overhead, large hanging locker, two portlights, built-in shelving, a cabinet and a pair of reading lamps for the lower berths make this cabin highly functional. The master stateroom forward features a centerline queen berth surrounded by generous storage, including two hanging lockers and a stack of large drawers to starboard. The berth has drawers underneath and is on a lift to easily access storage below. The overhead skylight and four portlights provide good natural lighting.
The engine room can be entered though a hatch behind the companionway steps or by a hatch in the saloon sole. The space is well organized and insulated and has aluminum nonskid flooring all the way around. There is adequate clearance above and easy access all around the single Cummins QSB 5.9 engine. Water tanks are against the forward bulkhead, with a capacity of 200 gallons per side and equipped with sight gauges, as well as Weema sensors for display at the helm. Fuel tanks of 250 gallons each are outboard on either side of the engine.
Fuel capacity of up to 960 gallons is an option but involves trading off water capacity. I would stick with the standard tanks, since they provide an 800nm range at 8 knots and up to a 1,350nm range at 7 knots (assuming a 10 percent reserve). An Onan 6kw generator in a sound shield is abaft the engine and transmission. This is standard for the West Coast model, which includes hydronic heating. The East Coast option has a 9kw generator and reverse cycle heating/cooling. Dual Racor fuel filters for the main are on the after bulkhead, as is a single spin-on Racor for the generator. My only quibble with the engine room was with the old-style dome lights—the same model as in the engine room of my 35-year-old boat. I mentioned this to Brice, who said that they would likely be replaced by LED fixtures in future builds.
The large lazarette is accessed by a single hatch from the cockpit, just abaft the saloon door. It contains the battery banks outboard, a Magnum 2,800-watt inverter charger, and a well-organized clear-plastic-covered battery switch panel mounted to the front bulkhead. There is a tremendous amount of storage available back here, but access would be easier with dual hatches placed farther aft in the cockpit.
The flybridge is reached by steps up from either pilothouse door or by a ladder from the cockpit. I liked the optional hardtop, which provides overhead protection while leaving the bridge open. The centerline helm has a double-wide seat, which sits high enough that it really needs a footrest. The helm features a 12-inch MFD on the centerline, flanked to port by the autopilot and VHF radio. The chariot-style flybridge design limits visibility to the bow, so North Pacific mounted a camera on the brow of the pilothouse for display on the Garmin MFD. This setup provides a clear view of the foredeck and bow area.
There is ample seating on the bridge, with an L-shaped settee surrounding a table to starboard aft, and bench seating across to port and forward, starboard of the helm. The seat backs consist of tubular pads around the stainless steel rails. I was told that they are more comfortable than they look. The boat deck abaft the bridge is expansive, with room for an optional davit to port and a large tender. With the tender deployed, assuming removable chocks, there would be plenty of room for a large table and set of chairs.
Overall, the North Pacific 49 is a sweet package, well-suited to its mission as a long-range coastal trawler. Its spacious, well-designed interior, combined with a solid build and quiet, fuel-efficient ride, would make this a great boat for a cruising couple or family.