Preloved: Nordhavn 86 Expedition

By: John Willis, Photography by: Supplied

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

Voyage the seven seas in the lap of luxury aboard the superlative Nordhavn 86 Expedition cruiser.



Way back in the heady days of the early 1970s, Jim Leishman and Dan Streech formed a friendship and eventual partnership in yacht brokerage and sales in California’s Dana Point. Whilst they were quite young, the pair had already amassed many thousands of offshore sailing miles and long seafaring experience.

The dealership they were working for closed in 1974 and Jim and Dan formed a partnership with Joe Meglan starting their own brokerage that evolved into the present day Pan Asian Enterprises (PAE). Along with brokerage, PAE was importing CT and then Transpac boats from Taiwan.

Maintaining consistent quality from Taiwanese builders took considerable effort on their behalf, however, PAE worked closely with premium Taiwanese manufacturers from conception to design, marketing, sales and service to eventually establish its own line of premium sailing yachts for the world market originally designed by naval architect Al Mason.


Concurrently, in 1976 Ta Shing Yacht Building Company was founded with a new state of the art factory under visionary president CM Juan. He was said to have "a simple mission statement: to be the best. Hence no expense was spared on the facility, equipment or staff". The partnership between the PAE/Mason design team and Ta Shing was an almost immediate success, with the original fundamental agreement and procedures staying for the life of the company.

A couple of years later, Al Mason retired from design work and the upcoming Jeff Leishman (Jim’s younger brother) had the drive and qualifications to fill the void. There were literally hundreds PAE/Mason and then PAE/Leishman/Masons sailboats produced between 1978 and 1988, with the majority still in service today and greatly admired. They have become beloved and respected icons with beautiful lines, styles and functional layouts.

By 1988 the cruising sailboat market was declining and being overshadowed by powered yachts and cruisers, hence the team turned their boatbuilding passion to powerboats.



However, PAE’s first 46-foot powerboat was so radically different the project was not accepted easily or quickly. The market considered it "odd", "funny" and "different", and it was referred to as PAE’s "tugboat". Ta Shing declined to build it, so PAE were led to Tsai Wan Sheu, owner of the newly formed South Coast Marine in Taipei, Taiwan. 
"Because its style and look was reminiscent of North Sea fishing trawlers, the name

Nordhavn (Norwegian for North Harbour) was chosen for this new design. Hull #1 of the N46 was completed and shipped in early 1989 and the product was launched to initially a small group of followers with the rest of the market slow to catch on due to many reasons including economic downturn in the American market. However, Nordhavn eventually gained momentum with the development of more buoyant international markets. Nordhavn differed to most brands by directly employing its own sales people, reducing the retail overhead and providing experienced representation of its complex top-end motoryachts.


Orders began flooding in during the "Golden 90s" with an ever-growing range being manufactured by both the South Coast and Ta Shing shipyards, and eventually introducing Pacific Seacraft (PSC), a Southern California sailboat manufacturer, to build its Nordhavn 40 in 1998. The most famous of these was hull #21, appropriately named Nordhavn. During a 27-week period in 2001-02, this otherwise stock boat was driven 26,000 miles circumnavigating the planet in an event called the "Around The World" project. The ATW was conceived as a demonstration to show what our Nordhavns were capable of and as a way to differentiate PAE/Nordhavn from the many "wannabes" that were entering the market.

The popularity of Nordhavns grew dramatically with owners’ adventures and successes leading to Jeff Leishman eventually designing both N68 and N86 in 2004/5. Hull #1 of the N86 was built to ABS certification, a first for PAE, and with it developed even higher levels of design and construction.


The Nordhavn 86 is not only one of the most sought after expedition yachts in the world with renowned capabilities, it is a statement in nautical design, construction and seaworthiness built with a premium presentation from the world’s finest craftsmen. She’s luxurious and in her own way opulent, but with a tremendous warmth and confidence that invites you to explore further.

Whilst at 86 feet it can’t be called a mega-yacht, it certainly has intercontinental cruising abilities for long-range sojourns at the same time providing the highest top-end facilities that are fit for kings and queens – or maybe Hollywood starlets.

Her multi-level aesthetics are jaw-droppingly beautiful, with a tremendous combination of classic lines mixed with chic modern appeal. She’s certainly an entertainer’s delight with the ability to host a large party in premium luxury. Take a swim, have a spa, play on the water toys, bask on one of the many decks, dine with friends or intimate evening cocktails, or maybe just relax in the total comfort of a multitude of alluring living areas. Perhaps take the time to do it all.


Queensland brokerage Game and Leisure Boats says, "Luxurious interior and spacious accommodations, place both the journey and the destination at the pinnacle of enjoyment.She has a general theme of rich woodgrain textures that inspire seafaring serenity."

Mystic Tide is a very rare opportunity to experience such magnificence firsthand. To add to her appeal, she is currently the only 86 available worldwide. She is also in current AMSA 2B survey, allowing the secondary opportunity for high-end charter income, and boasts accommodation for eight with the owner(s) and guests provided with luxurious cabins and all with individual en suites. The owner's stateroom has the added feature of its own spacious balcony, whilst two additional cabins provide for a crew of six. The saloon is the size and presentation of a small ballroom with the catering facilities to match.

The range of exotic textures and materials feature a pinnacle of workmanship with premium timbers, upholstery, linens, leathers and finishes. She has been fastidiously maintained to the highest of standards by a full-time captain and crew, with her early life spent cruising the Bahamas before making the voyage to its second owner in Australia some four years ago.

Although surveyed to Australian Maritime standards, she has done very little commercial work with the current owner preferring to enjoy the craft more personally.



Mystic Tide is fitted with a pair of 600hp MTU Series 60 six-cylinder diesel engines with only 3600 hours use. Most similar vessels would have at least double these hours and they have always had the benefit of a programmed maintenance schedule. She has a wide open throttle of 13kts and a cruise speed of 10kts, and for its size represents very economical cruising considering her massive 205-ton displacement.

The consignment listing is endless, premium features including: 50hp hydraulic bow and stern thrusters in 16in tubes with proportional controls, two 40kW Onan generators (both with stainless steel workbench tops and approx 7000 hours on each), fully equipped galley with Sub-Zero stainless steel refrigerator, freezer and freezer drawers, Miele appliances, and a full laundry. There are also fives TVs, two satellite domes, Foxtel, Mystic Wi-Fi, home theatre, air-conditioning throughout, Williams 4.45m RIB diesel jet tender and davit, plus an extensive electronics package.

As mentioned, Mystic Tide has always been maintained and skippered by a professional captain who has been with the vessel for almost its entire lifespan. Game and Leisure Boats dealer Graham McCloy said, "She’s always been maintained with an open chequebook and its presentation is absolutely immaculate. This magnificent vessel is ready to take you, your family and guests to anywhere in the world."

The Nordhavn 86 has been reduced to US$5,290,000 and to be perfectly honest, is priceless in anyone’s language. She resides on the Gold Coast and is available for immediate inspection by appointment.



PRICE NOW US$5,290,000

TYPE Twin shaftdrive semi-displacement monohull
LENGTH 86ft7in (26.39m) overall
BEAM 7.32m
WEIGHT Approx 205 tons (dry)

FUEL 26,498lt
WATER 3407lt

Game and Leisure Boats
Factory 1 Runaway Bay Marina
247 Bayview Street
Runaway Bay, QLD
P (07) 55775 811


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.