From the November-December 2005 edition of Power Cruising magazine:
Great Harbour N37
By Pierce Hoover
There was an immediate sense of affinity the first time I saw Great Harbour’s N37.
The boat’s distinctive, almost whimsical styling elements were certainly intriguing, calling to mind a classic flush-deck motor cruiser. But it was also obvious that the N37 was much more than a big boy’s float toy, and my ongoing fascination with this cruising craft is based no so much on looks as on the vessel’s inherent practicality. The more time I spent aboard, the more the N37 resonated with my workboat roots.
After graduate school, I spent several seasons fishing the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the canyons of the Northeast aboard boats that had much in common with the N37. Unlike the deep-displacement, high-bowed steel trawlers of the northern fleets, I often found myself aboard southern boats; sturdy yet simple craft built of fiberglass, with modest drafts, hard chines and wide underbodies designed to carry a load and provide a stable working platform in rough weather. This hull shape, created to maximize fish hold capacity, also resulted in spacious crews quarters and open mechanical spaces where one could overhaul a 671 Jimmy or rebuild a compressor at sea.
In similar fashion, the N37 carries a relatively shallow draft, employs a pronounced hard chine and transitions a fine forward entry to flatter aft sections to create what naval architects call a form-stable hull. In layman’s terms, this means the boat is more resistant to initial movement – a feature that increases passenger comfort in choppy or roiled anchorages and when crossing wakes in the Intracoastal Waterway.
Which is not to say that the N37 should be confined to inland passages. In fact, the boat has already proven itself in blue water, logging passages to Bermuda, Cuba and the Bahamas. Anyone interested in learning more on the design particulars and strategic thinking behind the N37 should go to Mirage Manufacturing’s web site, which contains quite a bit of literature on the subject.
Of more interest to most potential buyers is the level of comfort evident throughout the surprisingly large interior. The galley in particular is unexpected on a boat of this size, as it offers full-size, home-style appliances and as much counter and cabinet space as the average apartment kitchen. The staterooms and head are of similarly generous proportions, and are tastefully finished in materials that are attractive yet sufficiently rugged to stand up to the realities of full-time cruising.
One feature completely unexpected in a boat under 40 feet is the cavernous engine room, which has nearly seven feet of headroom on centerline, a space seemingly far too large for the diminutive pair of 54hp diesels that occupy the central section of the space. As on the commercial boats of my youth, the N37’s engine room is much more than a cramped mechanical compartment; it is a workroom capable of holding a full complement of spares and tools, and a space large enough to disassemble and rebuild machinery in place – or at least provide service without bending, stooping or crawling around sharp, hot mechanical parts.
Also noteworthy is the hold-like storage locker located under the aft end of the saloon. Accessed through a wide deck hatch, this enclosed locker could hold a year’s worth of provisions with room to spare.
Anyone contemplating a long-term escape will find the N37 equally suited for both life at the dock and time on the hook. The standard 3,000-watt inverter can easily meet the power requirements of the galley’s 120-volt appliances – especially if the boat is equipped with the additional house batteries, which increase storage capacity to more than 1,200 amp hours. Regular operation of the generator will likely be required only when air conditioning is needed.
When making cruising plans, skippers will want to lay their plots at displacement speeds, as the N37 operates best in the 7 to 8 knot range. Test data shows a miserly 3 gph fuel burn at 7.7 knots, which drops to just 2 gph when throttles are dropped to 7 knots even. With full fuel, the boat has a usable range of well over 1,500 miles, making it possible to cruise from New York to Miami on the outside, or to spend a month in the Bahamas without once searching for a fuel dock.