Nordic Tug 32 Cruises and Fishes in Remote Waters

Peter and Roma Shaughnessy and Pahokee the dog cruise the remote waters of British Columbia aboard their 1997 Nordic Tug 32 named Invictus. She's not like the others.

“The BC Central Coast is wild and remote. No cell coverage, VHF reception can be spotty at best in the fjords, few other vessels in the area and often none in the off season. We rarely have to share an anchorage with another vessel,” writes Roma Shaughnessy. She says the boat's main engine is very well maintained, "but sometimes things can go having the kicker provides a higher level of safety for us."

It happens that her husband is a journeyman boatbuilder, she says, and he figured out a way to add redundancy to a single-screw diesel boat with a trick that is oft discussed but rarely implemented. He strapped an outboard motor onto Invictus’ transom with a honking bracket and installed a control station in the cockpit. 

The question is: Can a 9.9 outboard really push a 20,000 pound trawler?

Peter Shaughnessy describes the installation and performance:

Our kicker is a reasonable backup in our view. It's dual purpose - it's great for trolling, which is it's primary purpose. But it is also a "get out of trouble" motor (note I did not say "get home" motor).

It's a 9.9 Yamaha with kicker gear ratio, long leg and four bladed prop. It pushes Invictus along at 5.5 knots at full throttle. If we find ourselves in a bad situation, we think this is enough power to get us to a safe anchorage or to keep the bow into the wind. It may not be enough to get all the way home although if conditions are good then it would be just fine for that.

The primary use of the kicker is for trolling for salmon, and it is perfect for this purpose. Even at idle the 5.9 Cummins pushes Invictus too fast to troll for salmon and in any case it's not good to operate at idle for long periods.

The kicker is very efficient in terms of fuel consumption. We use around 5 imperial gallons for all of our trolling during a two-week trip! We store a total of 10 imperial gallons on board as back-up.

We built an aft console specifically for trolling. It has the engine start/stop/shift along with tilt; there's a small chart plotter and a control for the Panther electric steering; there's a switch for a raw water wash-down pump with the hose stored inside the console.

The console tips open at the top to access interior wiring and other components. We installed a Lexan drip edge above the console to direct rainwater runoff to drain overboard. There's also a remote instrument fed from the helm plotter that we use to monitor our speed through the water--handy to set speed for Springs vs Cohos. There is a RAM mic on the side of the console.

Installation of the outboard was a bit tricky and required removing part of our swim step. The tilted and curved contour of our transom was challenging to adapt the outboard bracket.

Peter and Roma get it. When a fish net wraps the prop or a plastic bag clogs the raw water intake, they won't be totally at the mercy of wind, waves and current. They can head for refuge to sort things out. They have the Propulsion Plan B, which I recently wrote about. And, of course, they can fish more effectively.

The Shaughnessys future cruising plans include Haida Gwaii and Alaska. Good luck, you three!