Tim Nolan Marine Design



Francis Lee

This lovely 62 ft sloop was designed for Kim Bottles by Bob Perry and built by the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. We had the good fortune to be part of a team of designers, builders and suppliers who collaborated to create a vessel that is designed for Northwest sailing, drawing on local talent, materials and technology. The hull is western red cedar core sandwiched in epoxy and knitted E glass laminates. A welded stainless steel floor structure carries the keel and mast step loads into the hull which is stiffened with longitudinal hat sections and light weight bulkheads with strategic reinforcements. This is the long, low, and slender double ended sloop I have been daydreaming about all my adult sailor life and it was a thrill to see her take shape and take on a life all her own. (See video of turning over the hull using roller and counterweight system designed by Jim Franken.)

Cape George 31

I designed the Cape George 31 for Cecil Lange in 1977. I am a follower of William Atkin’s work, especially his double enders, and this design draws on his experience while using materials new for that time, such as a molded fiberglass hull and aluminum spars. A high ballast ratio and a tall and ample rig make the 31 a powerful sailor. The second Cape George 31, Alto, was built for Kristin Smith, who with her husband George, sailed her from Port Townsend to the North end of Vancouver Island and back without an engine. Kristin is still my fiddle teacher. I like to say that sailing and music friends are forever.

Seine Skiff

This speedy and powerful seine skiff was built in aluminum by Port Townsend Boatworks for the seiner Oregon City. I designed a developable tunnel that housed a steering nozzle and allowed the skiff to plane at full power. It also featured a self-bailing deck. The soap dish-shaped skiff was designed for Rick Oefinger, a second generation live bait fisherman, for his live bait and sportfishing business in Marina Del Rey. It is high-sided and buoyant to meet the extreme requirements of being launched from a seiner at speed and fishing close to the surf line. It features a self-bailing deck and is powered by an outboard motor. It was built in aluminum by Northwind Marine in Seattle and launched in 2010.

Ava Foss

This handsome welded Aluminum crew boat was designed to American Bureau of Shipping Rules for High Speed Craft and US Coast Guard T Boat Regulations, for Foss Maritime and built by Foss Rainier Shipyard on the Columbia River. It was launched in 2010 and operates out of King Harbor, Southern California, where it serves the crew of the Chevron Tankers. This vessel was designed to carry up to 49 passengers and 3200 lbs of deck cargo and is heavily fendered for making landings to deliver crew and supplies to tankers at anchor as well as under way. Ava Foss features a hydraulically operated man-overboard retrieval system installed in the stern that was used to rescue two distressed kayakers off Redondo Beach in 2012. She made 22 knots at sea trials with twin Series 60 diesels driving 36” diameter 4 bladed propellers in tunnels. Foss project engineer and retired Coast Guard commander Warren Snyder provided his expertise and management skills to guide our design effort that accurately met both client’s and operators’ needs.


More information can be found here: http://www.nordlundboat.com/Netto/nordlund_115_01.html

Alessa Leigh

This refit began as an 86' Hatteras Sportfisher. After a five year extreme make-over by Es Ivarsson and a team of mechanics and electricians in San Diego, this boat is over the top in every detail. I was originally invited to design a carbon fiber arch and bucket, but ended up being involved in lengthening the hull, re-powering, and upgrading much of the structure with carbon fiber inserts. This project was a challenge because the standards were very high and the detail extreme. Everywhere you look you see things that are unique, engineered for weight vs strength, and beautifully made.


The objective of this project was to replace and upgrade the antiquated electronics and deteriorating supporting structure, from the crow’s nest up. We designed a larger crow’s nest and larger buggy top and upper arch to accommodate the new electronics package. The foam cored carbon structure is light and stiff, engineered for wind and acceleration forces encountered in oceangoing conditions. Janicki Industries built one-off tooling for the job from our 3D model, and the component parts were expertly made by Betts Boats in Anacortes Washington.


The idea for this design evolved while I was attempting to complete a 100 mile paddle from Port Townsend to Neah Bay with my paddle and surfing partner and PLG (personal lifeguard) Scotty McAdam. We had a leg where we were practically stopped dead by 6 inch high chop, and I thought how nice it would be to have a board that had a back half like my 11’- 4” Surftech Takayama and a front half that morphed into a kayak-like bow. When my friend Brandon Davis of Turnpoint Design said “Let’s make some stand up paddleboards” I went ahead and modeled my idea in Rhino 3D. Three of us built original prototypes in Brandon’s shop, starting with a blank CNC cut from 1.5 pound per cubic foot EPS foam. Brandon generously shared shop space and helped us on carbon hand lay-up techniques and finishing We all enjoyed the thrill of seeing an idea take shape and then having the chance to try it out. My design is 13’-6” long and 29” wide. It paddles and surfs like I imagined. Now I’m thinking about the next design.


Rushmore is 108’ x 24’ expedition yacht from the office of R. Edwin Monk, designed for experienced owners who wanted a boat drawing less than 6 feet of water, in order to enjoy shoal water cruising in the Bahamas. This is one of the latest of the 29 or so collaborative efforts I have had the privilege to be a part of with Ed Monk and Nordlund Boat Company over the last 25 years. The hull is a variant from the Nordlund mold, with deep tunnels, a shallow keel, and a small bulbous bow; tested for resistance using a towing tank as well as CFD. Some of the measures required to meet the shallow draft goals without compromising performance or comfort include the use of large shallow rudders, four shallow active fin stabilizers, Frahm passive anti-roll tanks, and a water ballast tank capable of managing longitudinal trim. The hull and deckhouse structure, designed to ABS Motor Pleasure Yacht Guidelines makes use of infused knitted E glass, foam cored sandwich construction with some strategic use of carbon fiber to reduce weight and stiffen structure spanning large spaces.

Electric Boat

I designed this 24 ft electric boat for a challenge offered by Snohomish County PUD and sponsored by Delco Remy with a $10,000 prize for the boat that could travel the longest distance in 12 hours with 125 lbs of lead-acid batteries. After 72 miles, we finished 20 feet behind the 1st place boat, and 5 miles ahead of the 3rd place boat. Built in Port Townsend with partners David Janos and Pat Mahon around 1995, using epoxy and a tortured plywood technique, the boat was campaigned in two subsequent races and enjoyed recreationally for a number of years. I designed and experimented with several different drive systems from ¼ to ¾ horsepower and eventually built my own outdrive with an electrically- actuated tilt mechanism and my own propellers, based on Larrabee’s method for minimum induced drag. I benefitted tremendously by being able to experiment at an affordable scale and it was richly satisfying experience. We were able to sprint up to 12mph and cruise 10 mph for 6 hours straight with 125 lbs of batteries. The perceived speed, that is to say speed to noise ratio is like no other experience except soaring. I had to learn to steer around swimming seabirds to avoid running them down because my speed was incommensurate with the noise and the birds did not perceive me as being within range of threat. I am still fascinated by electric boating and can see a composite version of this design as being marketable to recreational boaters. It is green and it still has a thrill of speed (speed to noise ratio) and it would be a good camping and voyaging boat, capable of carrying a 60lb payload and some solar panels to extend range.

Sweet Spot

Vince Verneuil approached me after his P-47 power catamaran acquired a bow-down attitude after he upgraded his ground tackle. He was also interested in the possibility of increasing efficiency by adding bulbous bows. We have done over a dozen bulbs and all of them increased speed and reduced fuel consumption, so I did not hesitate to tell him we could design a bulb that would level the boat at rest and increase speed and efficiency. Innovative local composite guy Dan Newland built two bulbs in a strip-planked mold in his shop and attached them to the hulls in Port Townsend. Sea trials done immediately before and after the addition of the bulbous bows confirmed a significant reduction in fuel consumption through the entire speed range, 10 to 15% in the 8 to 16 knot speed range.

Shanakee III

Alexa C2

This handsome motor yacht was the second custom build at Nordlund Boat Company for this customer that we designed as a team with Ed Monk. Jon Pokela designed a spectacular and Japanese influenced interior that makes this boat particularly memorable. Low, sleek, and spacious, this striking yacht has logged over 25,000 miles on the West Coast, East Coast, Carribean and Europe.


This is the first design I did for a real customer. I designed this 20 ' x 5'-7” launch for Gary Arnold of Ajax Boat Shop in Seattle and he did a beautiful job of building her with red cedar planking on steam bent oak frames. Christened Ajax, she debuted in the Seattle Wooden Boat Show in 1978 and was used as a fishing launch and for light towing. I worked for several years as a shipwright at Ajax Boat Company during which time we built a plug and mold for fiberglass production. Canvasback is one the few hulls that was produced from this tooling and I had the good fortune to buy her from her original owner and long time friend Henry Hoeschen of San Juan Island. Today I use her for short trips on the bay and she remains my favorite design. Simple, utilitarian, and elegant.

Juan De Fuca & Puget Sound

Designed and built for the Puget Sound Pilots, these were the first waterjet-driven pilot boats in the USA when Nordlund Boat Company delivered them in 1999 and 2000. We collaborated with Hagemarine of Seattle to successfully develop a set of features that set these pilot boats apart from others. The fendering system, the subject of our study plus testing by the mechanical engineering lab at the University of Washington, incorporates a combination of D rubber and aircraft tires that absorbs impacts in stages and protects the underlying structure. The MOB retrieval system is extremely intuitive and versatile, which coupled with the unique roll and pitch damping properties of the hull, make it one of the best in the business. These boats are fifteen years old now and they still look new because of their thoughtful and functional design, ,rugged construction, and excellent maintenance by the Pilots.


I designed and built this 16 ft pocket cruiser for my own use. I started the design as a long and lean cruising machine, roughly the size and shape of the driveway of the house I was renting at the time, but I ended up moving to a houseboat with no driveway and realizing my cruising needs could be met in a much smaller boat, I then became enamored with the challenge of having everything in a compact and graceful package. Heather is not a toy. She is nimble, seaworthy, and well appointed. I cringe when I hear her described as cute. I much prefer fierce, playful and gregarious.


This recent Nordlund-Monk yacht was designed and built for a Tacoma customer for family cruising in Northwest waters. Its unique yet unpretentious styling is one-of-a-kind and the arrangement caters explicitly to the active outdoor mission for which it was designed. Exterior stairs and ladders allow wet swimmers to climb to the pilot house top for diving and the enclosed pilot house can be opened up in good weather with two large motorized drop windows in back and two motorized skylights on the top of the pilot house.

New Del Mar

In 1988 I designed a hull for my childhood hero, legendary Southern California boatbuilder Bob Stapp of Seaway Boat Company. Bob designed and built most of the fast workboats that operated in and around the coves where I grew up, so it was an honor to meet him and work with him on this project, a single screw 65 foot sportfisher, built in plywood to T boat regulations. Ed Monk coached me on this hull and my associate and friend Glenn Bauer actually drew the lines. It is to my credit that I listened carefully and did as I was told because this boat was very successful; efficient and well mannered. It still operates out of Marina Del Rey and is going strong after more than 20 years of service.

New Pacific

I have been drawing this boat my entire life, both mentally and as doodles on paper, and finally had the good fortune to find a customer who wanted one. Beautifully built in steel by Bill Brees in Kalama Washington and launched in the spring of 2009, New Pacific is the ultimate liveaboard expedition boat. Roomy, rugged, seakindly, and loaded with toys, this boat has the range and capacity to take her owners across oceans in style and comfort.


This 88' custom Nordlund was a collaboration with Ed Monk's office. The distinctive deck house shapes posed some challenges for structure as the spans were large and the space dome-like. We ended up mechanically fastening canted aluminum mullion bars to the deep recesses surrounding the window planes and stiffening the top with a composite grid that preserved the open and spacious atmosphere of the galley and dining area. This boat is roomy for its size and has a bold and different look that I admire.

Wells Gray

When I saw this lovely Canadian Forest Service vessel hauled out in Port Townsend, I asked owner Albert Manchester if it rolled a little. He answered “No, it rolls a lot.” And so began our friendship while he restored this classic to her original beauty and beyond. At my urging he installed active fin stabilizers which dramatically reduced rolling and I also sized a 5 blade propeller with low DAR that successfully solved some vibration problems that showed up after re-powering. I maintain that gentle motion, low noise, and low vibration are essential for comfort at sea for pleasure boats and workboats alike. While I can't take any credit for the handsome looks and immaculate condition of this boat, I am fortunate and proud to have contributed to the increased level of comfort made possible by the fitting of stabilizers and a smoothly running propeller.


This Bristol Bay gillnetter built by Ernie Marshall for George Esveldt in 1982 was unique because it was a minimalist boat during a time when the trend was toward bigger, wider boats, and because it was a bowpicker with a side chute that allowed the net to be set off the stern, Columbia River style. Willapa measured 30' x 10' when the typical Bristol Bay boat was 32' x 16' or more. It planed easily with a 135 hp outboard and fished successfully for 10 years in Egegik before being sold and taken to Honduras for another career. I am proud of the way this boat turned out: simple, nimble, and functional.

Tug Boats

While working at Marine Power and Equipment on Lake Union in the early 1980s I designed two tugboats. The 75’ x 25’ x 2500hp shallow draft Marine Pioneer drew only 5.5 feet of water in the light condition and was originally chartered by Marine Leasing Corporation to Atlantic Richfield to assist in operations based in Nome. Marine Pioneer had large developable tunnels housing the propellers and very large rudders, and a robust tube and bar skeg and strut system that allowed the vessel to safely sit on the bottom if needed. The vessel is currently operating in the Gulf of Mexico as Miss Lis. Two 142 ft Ocean-going tugs of my design were also partially built at the MPE Fox Avenue Shipyard and then sold unfinished to Halter Marine in the Gulf of Mexico. They were powered with a pair of Alco 4100 hp diesels and went into service for a time in the Gulf before being acquired by Foss International. Named Lauren and Corbin Foss, they were Foss Maritime’s largest ocean-going tugs when they joined the fleet in 2002 and 2003.


These are details taken from various Nordlund Boat Company projects that showcase their trademark attention to detail and the thoughtful design and execution that brings it all together.