Make your own free website on
Nor'Sea27 Owners' Newsline

               #3  July 1996

"Cruising should be entirely for pleasure, and when it ceases to be so, it no longer makes sense. Of course those who want to beat out what little brains they have, in a night thrash to windward, should have a strong, stiff racing machine, a very expensive contraption, one which has sacrificed the best qualities of a cruiser. But the little yacht that can snuggle alongside of some river bank for the night and let its crew have their supper in peace while listening to the night calls of the whippoorwills will keep its crew much more contented. They will be particularly happy and contented when the evening rain patters on the deck and the coal-burning stove becomes the center of attraction. Then if you can lie back in a comfortable place to read, or spend the evening in pleasant contemplation of the next day's run, well, then you can say, This is really cruising." L. Francis Herreshoff

Submitted by Greg Delezynski, #80, who feels that he must have written this about a Nor'Sea 27!

Founders Feature - by Dean Wixom

The Nor'Sea 27 is sailed by some of the most knowledgeable sailors in the world. I doubt if any other production boat has per capita, been voyaged as far and as often as our beloved 27. Yet I know of no other vessel that is as often mishandled or misunderstood. Most would-be voyagers at first think they want a vessel that will sail through the gates of hell under press of full sail. Experienced world voyagers recollect that 90+ percent of their sailing was done in light to moderate airs, and want a suitable boat.

The designer, Lyle Hess and I agreed that our boat should be great in light air. Since we had very good hull stability, why not carry working sail area equal to a genoa sail area on the mast as plain sail? In very light airs, the addition of a genoa would make the boat brilliant. In light to moderate winds, the boat with working sail would preform as if it had a genoa. In heavier winds, our reefing system would make shortening sail easy.

As a result our owners enjoy fine light air performance (if they haven't overloaded their boats). They don't realize that the trade off for this is the necessity to reef sooner than other boats they may have sailed. Somehow it just doesn't seem right to be the first in the fleet to reef when one is sailing a double ended world voyager.

But reef early you must!

First, you are already carrying as much plain working sail area as most other 27 footers with a big genoa.

Secondly, you must keep the keel deep in the water and pulling the boat to weather.

Despite it's traditional appearance, the Nor'Sea has a modern foil keel. It does much more than just a log in the water that resists going sideways. A foil keel works like an airplane's wing. As it moves through the water, it develops "lift" which pulls it to weather like an airplane's wing lifts upward. To do this it has to be (1) relatively vertical and (2) moving forward briskly through the water. If these conditions aren't met, the keel "stalls" and the boat tends to go sideways or makes excessive leeway. When you carry full sail in winds too heavy, especially to windward, your Nor'Sea heels, lifts the keel more sideways and the boat slows down. At this point the keel "stalls" and the boat begins to make leeway or drifts more sideways.

It is here that an uninformed sailor declares "this boat is tender and makes leeway". If this were a perfect world, another Nor'Sea would then sail by properly reefed, sailing fast with moderate heel and leaving our stalled boat in its wake.

BE THE FIRST TO REEF Sail the boat on her bottom with the keel deep in the water. Keep your speed up. Bear off when waves slow you down.

There is nothing unsafe about burying the rail and slowly slogging to windward, and I've done it many times on a short tack or when I'm just too lazy to reef. But if I want to make the best time to windward, put in a first reef at 12-14 knots apparent wind, a second at about 20 knots and a third at 30 knots. This of course varies with the size jib you are using.

If you don't like reefing early, you might consider one of the handful of Nor'Seas built with the "tradewinds" short mast. This boat has a "normal??" sail area that can be carried unreefed in high winds, but the brilliant performance in light air is missing.

Fair winds, Dean Wixom #77 - founder of Heritage Marine, Inc.

August, 1993

It was a warm late summer weekday afternoon. Gale and I enjoyed taking off an hour or two early from work and escaping to "NO NEWS", our Nor'Sea 27 on Clinton Lake, Illinois. Our usual pattern was to motor out into the lake, put up sails and just feel that tension drain down the scuppers. Gale was down below, mixing a little malaria protection (rum & tonic), when he heard a loud cry. He rushed to the cockpit to see me in the water, waving my arms. I had decided it was a good opportunity to test our man overboard equipment and procedure. A motor boat in the area, took a swing by to see if help was needed, but we declined.

Gale went into action, throwing a cushion that was in the cockpit. As he headed back toward me, he released the new "Lifesling™" that we had recently installed. Though the line tangled a bit, it eventually straightened out.

The hardest part of the rescue was getting me back on board. This part of the drill would take more equipment and refinement. This would be a much greater concern if Gale was the one in he water and I was trying to get him into the boat.

After a complete discussion and mental replay of the "rescue", we felt more comfortable about our ability to respond to the "man overboard" call.

Since then, we have moved our boat to Lake Michigan, have purchased the hoisting tackle from West Marine, 800-538-0775,and a permanent folding STEPAWAY™ ladder from Metal Design Inc, Stonington, CT (CT)800-552-1355 or nationwide 800-535-1355. The stainless steel ladder is mounted on the jib track just forward of the first stantion on the port side. This is an expensive ladder, but when compared to the value of ones life, it is a great piece of insurance.

CREATIVE MARINE 800-824-0355 was our source for a midship cleat by Nautical Engineering, that slides back and forth on the 1" or 1 1/4" jib sheet leads T-tracks. It is great for spring lines, although it takes a little smaller line - 1/2"- than we use for dock lines. West Marine also carries the Midship cleat, but only for the 1 1/4" track.

Editor N & G

1. SAIL INSIGNIA - B. S. "Warm Rain" #458 asked if there was an official Nor'Sea 27 sail insignia.

The pictured insignia is about 33" in diameter on our sail. We had the sail loft move it from the original sail to our new full batten Doyle Stack Pack.

2. Does any one out there have a Nor'Sea Bronze Plaque that could be removed and used as a pattern to have more cast? Is there any interest in having boat name custom inserted on plaque instead of Nor'Sea Marine? B.S. "WARM RAIN" #458

3. What have other owners used on their exterior teak? B.S. "WARM RAIN"

4. Bottom paint/blister history on any Nor'Seas? B.S. "WARM RAIN"

5. Have you considered a used equipment sale section? T.S. "KARMA" #245 (Great idea - Ed. N)

6. I would be interested in seeing a list of performance ratios and the positive range of stability figures. T.S. "KARMA"


Old or new panty hose can be cut and placed under the rubber gasket in the window. Throw them away at the end of the season. B.S. "WARM RAIN" #458

See another idea on screens later in this newsletter.


We have been most pleased with our 8' Porta Bote, and would make the same selection again. We fold it up in the cockpit and store on the side between cabin & lifeline. T.S. "Karma"

I built a wood lapstrake 7.5 foot dinghy from a kit I picked up in England. We carry it inverted on the foredeck on three chocks built onto our deck by the previous owner, John Lopez, with the bow of the dinghy facing forward. R.D. "MAGIC FLUTE" #97


We built a plywood locker mounted in the aft cabin. Our aft cabin is our "garage" as we cruise for minimum 6 months at a time. The locker is easily removable, but stoutly secured. It is vented overboard and has a solenoid controlled directly from the galley. S.C. "BLUE CHABLIS II" #416

The only place you can install propane tanks on the boat is up in the forepeak. We did the conversion from kerosene to propane before leaving on our cruise to New Zealand. It was a good think we did because you can get propane anywhere, but not kerosene. R.V. "CHAMOIS" #294

We made a wood platform which holds two small 6 pound tanks side by side. This platform is attached to the outside of the stern rail. Straps help hold the tanks in position. The small tanks last us 4-5 months of cruising and are easy to carry for refill. We have a Force Ten two burner stove with oven and broiler and cook aboard almost all the time. J.B. "STINA" aft cockpit #173

' PUMP/CONDENSER FOR REGRIG - We have a stove with a broiler only, so we mounted our refrig unit under the stove. We have an Adler Barbour Super Cold Machine. The water pump lives at the sea cock under the starboard seat. S.C. "BLUE CHABLIS II" #416

' CATALOG - Lots of great bronze hardware can be found in the catalog from ABI, 1160-A Industrial Ave. Petaluma, CA 94952 - 707-765-6200 - FAX 707-765-1716. Greg Delezynski - "Guenevere" #80 (This catalog had a brass identification plate available)

Diesel Digest - by Gale Saint

I have had some interesting and intriguing responses regarding diesel engines on the Nor'Sea. I would like to pass along a couple of tips which may be helpful to you. Next issue I'll offer a couple of engine problems that you may want to comment on.

Let's talk oil. It is important that a diesel engine has the right amount of lubricating oil. Even though the "how to" books tell you to check your oil every day, frankly most of us don't. Nevertheless, you should check the oil level frequently to be sure it is at the proper level on the dipstick. I'm informed by Yanmar that a diesel engine should burn a little bit of oil; therefore, you should add to the crank case amount from time to time so that it does not fall too far below the marker. On the other hand, overfilling the crank case will tend to mix air bubbles with the excess oil and make a frothy concoction that does not lubricate well and thus we should not overfill above the appropriate level.

The breakdown of the oil over time will create acids that, if left too long in the engine, particularly without use, will do more harm than good. Most of us outside of tropical waters tend to change the oil at layup time in the fall. On Yanmar engines which do not have an accessible drain plug, it is difficult to get all of the old oil out of the crank case because it must be siphoned through the dipstick tube. Nancy and I have found that a more efficient pumping tube (rather than the constantly curled rubber tube that comes with pumps) consists of a 14" piece of ¼" metal brakeline tube which is easily available at any auto parts store. Be sure to bevel the end or cut a notch in it so that it will pick up oil without blocking the suction.

After pulling out all of the oil that we can, we put in a fresh quart of oil and then crank the engine over about 10-15 seconds without starting it. Circulating this sacrificial quart of oil acts as a rinse which we believe picks up most of the old acid and contaminates and removes them when we pump that quart out of the crank case. Then we fill the crank case to the appropriate dipstick level for winter. Yanmar reps have advised us against leaving the old oil standing over winter due to likely acid corrosion.

Also, the fact that new oil turns black very quickly should not be a cause for alarm. Diesel engines leave a carbon residue in the oil which does not adversely effect the lubricating properties.

By the way, those of you with Yanmar engines will be interested to know that Yanmar has come out with its own grade of diesel lubricating oil marked with the letters "CD". Apparently the higher level oils of CE and above have been determined by Yanmar to contain too many exotic additives that are not beneficial. Because the CD grades may be eventually phased out, Yanmar decided to package their own oil at that grade level.

Thank you for your response with the database questionnaire. If you have not sent in your completed database, please do so. $5.00 will cover the cost of receiving a copy of every database that has been received. I really appreciate receiving financial support from many of you owners. And thanks for the generous comments also. We currently have 55 boats in our list of owners.

One owner, Martha Beth Lewis #19 "PROPER MOTION" has her own web page complete with pictures of their Nor'Sea 27-