April 25th 2014. By Neil Rabinowitz.

Nordhavn 120 Aurora: Megayacht with No Limits

This 120 foot long-distance Nordhavn cruiser can travel for over 6,000 miles on a single tank of fuel.

Somewhere across the North Pacific, Aurora left good weather astern and came face to face with icy Aleutian head seas sweeping across its bow. Halfway into a 6,000 mile maiden voyage from Hong Kong to Vancouver, the yacht motored steadily through 60 knot gusts and towering 20 foot swells of green water and spray, which washed over the foredeck, blasted the wheelhouse, and swallowed the boat stem to stern in a blinding greyness.

A brawny 120 foot tri-deck long-range cruiser, Aurora displaces 850,000 lbs, looms large at 414 gross tons, and is built to withstand a lifetime of expeditions. The yacht features a bow bulb to dampen pitching, and is powered by twin MTU’s of 965 HP each with maximum efficiency between eight and 10 knots. Aurora is constructed of solid laminate glass until 18” above the waterline, and then shifts to composite topsides of Corecell , Klegecell for the house structure with end-grain balsa for deck and cabin tops.

Nordhavn 120 Aurora steaming

The Nordhavn 120 Aurora is the largest yacht this builder has ever produced. They modeled her after North Sea fishing boats, with an elongated foredeck and high bulwarks that protect a work area, two tenders, and an industrial strength crane. There’s also  a settee for enjoying the view ahead.

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The flying bridge was enclosed as an afterthought for the owner, who plans to cruise the waters of the Pacific Northwest. It has full panoramic visibility and a complete electronics display, and the full bar aft provides a tall perch for the best view on board.

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The main salon is full-width and features with a satin cherry finish. It offers all the megayacht luxury necessary to be pampered during lengthy voyages. Symmetry adds to the balance and comfort for both entertaining and cozy enjoyment.

Looking aft from the main salon, straddled by twin display cases, the length of the living area is cavernous with the inviting comfort of  the aft deck visible through the large entry way.

Looking aft from the main salon, straddled by twin display cases, the length of the living area is cavernous with the inviting comfort of the aft deck visible through the large entry way.

middle aft deck

The aft middle deck is accessed by large opening doors from the den, bar and lounge. It’s a sheltered area and an on deck getaway to tranquil views astern while underway.

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There is a compact lower helm station with a raised settee, so guests can enjoy the scenery and the full dazzling array of instrumentation.

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The professionally appointed galley has room to prepare full service dining for a a boat load of guests. To port, full height windows allow daylight to flood into the galley area.

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The very roomy main deck full-beam master stateroom is adorned with satin cherry joinery, an entertainment center, and an adjoining office and social area.

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The elegant dining saloon can seat as many as 10 guests and is located amidships for stability.

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The aft main deck features a settee for ten to enjoy the views astern, sheltered in most weather. For a trawler that averages a 10 knot cruising speed, it provides a peaceful retreat close to water level.

The tri-deck Aurora can cruise nearly 6,000 miles without re-fueling and provides a stable, world voyaging platform that marks the Nordhavn entry into the megayacht market.

The tri-deck Aurora can cruise nearly 6,000 miles without re-fueling and provides a stable, world voyaging platform that marks Nordhavn’s entry into the megayacht market.

Specifications: LOA 120’ 7” • LWL 108’ 4” •  Beam 27’ 11” • Draft 9’ 0” • Displacement 848,944 lbs.

Aurora was a five year project from conception to completion, due in part to the world’s volatile economic climate, but Nordhavn expects hull number two to take only 18 to 24 months from start to finish. And if past success is any measure of their future productivity, this may be the new profile of expedition cruising yachts.



Neil Rabinowitz
YachtWorld Senior Photographer Neil Rabinowitz has photographed and written about all ends of the yachting world—racing, cruising and chartering—from the Caribbean to the South Pacific, and the Mediterranean to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest where he lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Recognized as one of the best, Neil has produced more than 2000 magazine covers and numerous feature stories. He continues to write and photograph for both editorial and advertising clients and has been a contributor to YachtWorld.com since its inception in 1995. View more of his photos on the Neil Rabinowitz website (http://neilrabinowitz.com/).