I’ve always admired Scandinavian boats. There’s something immensely reassuring about them. I suspect it’s because in these seafaring nations, a boat isn’t a luxury, it’s a way of life. Thousands of Scandinavians rely on boats as a means of transport or to earn their living, and even those who don’t strictly need a boat still consider it an essential part of their wellbeing. It’s been in their blood ever since their ancestors stormed across the North Sea in wooden longboats to pillage and plunder.
These days, they tend to use them for less violent means, such as escaping from the pressures of modern life and exploring the more remote reaches of their dramatic coastline. As such, their boats tend to get used more regularly and more rigorously than anywhere else in Europe. This also explains why you get the feeling that their boats have been designed, engineered and built by people who really understand what it means to have a well-thought-out, reliable craft that won’t leave you stranded in some remote fjord with nothing but killer whales for company.
We’re featuring a clutch of Scandinavian boats in this issue, including the Storebro 435 flybridge, Nord West 370 Coupé and Windy Oceancraft 760. All of them are fast, practical, thoroughly engineered, superbly built craft. So how come our cover boat, the Fjord 40 Cruiser, isn’t mentioned in this elite group? Because the Fjord 40 isn’t actually Scandinavian. Despite the Nordic name (Fjord were originally a Norwegian company), the 40 is built in Germany under the auspices of its new parent company Hanse Yachts. Perhaps that explains why, although it’s one of the most exciting, innovative and desirable boats we have tested all year, it isn’t yet quite as well honed as its authentic Scandinavian cousins.
Here’s hoping it soon will be.