VIDEO: Seaward Nelson 39 review

For all its barefaced pilot boat heritage, this Seaward Nelson 39 is as cutting edge as it gets, with a premium price to match

Seaward customers are not like most boat owners. Let’s take the owner of this Seaward Nelson 39, Magic, as a perfect example.

This is his fifth Seaward and, to give you an idea of what people like him do with boats like this, one afternoon he finished a job in Southampton earlier than expected so decided, with a friend, to go from Hythe to Cherbourg for dinner.

In his mind, this was like nipping across to Yarmouth from Lymington, but when you own a boat as capable as the 39, the world suddenly seems a smaller place.

Derived from Seaward’s commercial-class Pilot Boat 42, the yard describes the 39 as the ultimate sea boat with two cabins. Converting a focused commercial design into a leisure boat is no mean feat, but Seaward had a useful head start in the form of Arthur Mursell’s legendary Nelson hull design. Article continues below…

Seaward 42 review

The Seaward 42 is an exceptional seagoing craft designed for seriously intrepid boaters who still want to do 25 knots


Mursell still does the drawings for Seaward and there is a strong connection between architect and yard. Renowned for its soft ride and phenomenal seakeeping, the concept with the 39 is to combine
that hull with a twin-cabin interior to boost comfort and privacy levels.

The boat is recognisable as a Seaward the moment you clap eyes on her. There are changes below the surface but the 39’s profile is unmistakable, as are its roots.

The way the decks gently slope towards the waterline from bow to stern and the substantial inner rail that runs around the perimeter of the coachroof echo the pilot boat blueprint, and this particular boat even had non-slip Treadmaster on the side decks – though Flexiteek is an option – and harness points dotted around if you’re forced to abandon the shelter of the wheelhouse in nasty weather.

A prominent rubber D fender offers protection for rafting or tying to quaysides and provides yet another hint to the boat’s commercial roots, though the beautifully crafted teak sprayrails add some charm to the tough exterior.

Read the full report in the January 2018 issue of MBY.

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