For me personally the Nordic Star project is all about fulfilling dreams. As a schoolboy I doodled with drawings of boats – more like little ships really. As a younger man I owned and sailed in functional yachts. Then one day I saw my schoolboy dream, there as I had drawn her, “For Sale” when I wasn’t even shopping; the ideal little ship in every detail save for the odd few hundred grand she needed to restore her to past glory. The T Nielsen experience begins…
In my doodles real ships are wooden, they are “sea kind” in shape (fat and heavy), and they glide through the water distancing those on board from the worst of the weather. Inside they warm the crew with timber surroundings, big reliable mechanics and fine, functional fittings.
To complete any little ship I need a powerful, air driven horn so when the skipper (me) stands on his grand, paneled bridge he can masterly helm his vessel in and out of port, always calm and confident, with a steaming mug of tea by his side.
My real little ship doesn’t come in standard packages. To build one we need certain key ingredients. The first is a 1944, Admiralty built, heavy wooden (larch on oak) hull complete with Gardiner engine. Then one needs a boat yard that is capable of first understanding the dream, then creating it, both aesthetically and technically. These demanding elements call for the T. Nielsen experience…
The crucial phrase here is “understanding the dream”. This is about many meetings – as often as required – chatting through plans, ideas, drawings and possibilities. It’s about engaging directly with the men who build the boats combining my dream with their vast experience of boat building. The result is very individual because without ever picking up a chisel I am hands on engaged in building my boat the way I want it.
Every little detail is important. We need to know that it will work. We need to be sure it will look and feel right. We need to be confident that when it is finished the yard will want to be as proud of her as the owner.
You won’t find a bow thruster because Tommi feels it offends the MFV tradition. T. Nielsen only does things the right way, the nautical way and the traditional way because anything less clashes with the philosophy of the business. This philosophy comes through in every meeting. Add it to the technical knowhow and the result is outstanding detail in every aspect of the design and build. The product is special and personal; any tour of Nordic Star will prove it. This can only be achieved by a team with decades of experience who know every aspect of a boat before they tackle any project.
Finally there is the aesthetic. It’s all very well getting it technically sound but does it look good. Does the varnish shine? Is the joinery well crafted? Do the lines look right? Does the woodwork warm the heart? I could sight many details to prove it but for just one look at Jason’s finish around the interior of the portholes and you have your answer
It’s all there for me. The moment I approach and board Nordic Star I know the project meets my dream because the men who did the job knew only one way, the right way. If the varnish didn’t look right they rubbed it down and started again. If the design seemed inadequate they delayed, consulted and rethought. Never hurried, never botched. The outcome could only be outstanding. Nothing less is acceptable because in T. Nielsen the men who build the boats have to love them as much as their owners do.
Nordic Star is a success because Tommi, Sarah, Nigel, Mark and all the men who worked on her feel justly proud of every aspect of their supreme craftsmanship. In their minds they not only owe it to the owner but to the very soul of the boat they have rebuilt. My boyhood dream is (nearly) complete.
Built: J Bolson & Son Ltd., Poole 1944 | Conversion: Dickies of Bangor 1984
Official number: 379101
Length: 50 feet | Length Waterline: 45 feet | Beam: 16 feet 9 inches | Draught: 2 metres approximately | Displacement: 31 tons