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Nordhavn Yachts

Nordhavn Yachts – History

In 1973, Jim Leishman and Dan Streech met and formed a friendship while both were working at a yacht brokerage dealership in Dana Point, California. When the dealership closed in 1974, Jim, Dan and Joe Meglen formed a small brokerage in Dana Point, which began importing Transpac Yachts from Taiwan. The firm PAE was born as a result (Pacific Asian Enterprises).

Yacht designer Al Mason was chosen as the naval architect of PAE’s first project. The first PAE/Mason design was a 43' sailboat. The Mason 43 was an immediate success and was followed by the M63, M53, M53cc and M33. There were 132 “3” series PAE/Mason sailboats produced between 1978 and 1985, most of which are still cruising the word's oceans.

By 1988, the cruising sailboat market was in decline and the demographics were changing. Soon the PAE team began designing a 46' new kind of powerboat as an aleternative. Because its style and look was reminiscent of North Sea fishing trawlers, the name Nordhavn (Norwegian for North Harbor) was chosen for this new design. Hull #1 of the N46 was completed and shipped in early 1989. The small cult group of Beebe followers along with loyal Mason owners and aficionados immediately recognized the N46 as the real thing.

Soon after, PAE’s second Nordhavn design, the N62 was completed. This project was eagerly accepted by Ta Shing in 1991. Hull #1 was sold to an Indonesian industrialist and delivered to Singapore on her own bottom in 1993 by Jim, Dan and Dan’s son Trevor. Due to the luxury tax, PAE’s second N62 order did not come until nearly 18 months after the first. Within days after repeal of the tax however, hull #2 was ordered, the N46 orders flooded in and the “golden 90s” commenced. During this period of steady growth, PAE introduced the N50 built by South Coast in 1995 and the N57 built by Ta Shing in 1996.

With sailboat sales lagging and PAE’s future clearly lying with the Nordhavn concept, the last Mason (M44#69) was built in 1995. The Mason molds were stored for another seven years out of nostalgia for the beloved boats and the remote possibility that they would be put back into production. The Mason molds were destroyed in 2002 to make room for more Nordhavn production.

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