28' Classic sloop in Burmese Teak, built 1939 in Hong Kong

Builder:A King, Hong Kong
Year Built:1939
Designer:Ralph E. Winslow
Registry:UK Part 1
Length Overall (inc. spars):35' 10" (10.91m)
Length On Deck:27' 4" (8.32m)
Length Waterline:23' 6" (7.16m)
Beam:9' 1" (2.77m)
Draft:4' 8" (1.42m)
Displacement:5 tonnes
Construction:Carvel Burmese teak planking on oak frames, teak laid deck
Engine:Yanmar 3GM 30


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Broker's Comments

Nordica is a fascinating and truly classic yacht, now for sale in fine condition having been extensively refurbished in 2003. Built with teak planking by the famous A. King boatyard in Hong Kong in the late 1930's, and finally completed after the war in 1945/6, she was a well-known sight on Hong Kong harbour for many decades.

Her design has often been attributed to Herreshoff, but further research has suggested she is more likely to have been drawn by another respected American of the era, Ralph E Winslow. Her fine lines strongly evoke the East-Coast American yachts of the time.

Although only 27 feet on deck, she has a tall fractional rig with bow-sprit and bumpkin, thus carrying more sail than you might expect. She has good sailing performance and in her day was actually quite a racy design, winning many prizes in the early post-war years.

Nordica is a wonderful classic yacht but unlike many you come across she is also completely ready for use with no large jobs outstanding, and is a very practical prospect for anyone yearning for a classic but who also wants to get sailing now.

Much admired by all who see her, she is currently lying ashore at Cairnbaan, Argyll awaiting viewing now. Please call for further details and to arrange a viewing.


Teak planking on oak frames (much re-framing carried out in refit). Oak backbone and deadwoods. Oak 'leaf spring' arrangement in bilges spreads load between flooring timbers. Keel bolts drawn 2003.

Teak laid decks refurbished 2003.

During the 2003 refit the seams were routered out and new splines were epoxied in place, prior to the hull being fared off and painted. The result has been a great success and the topsides look as good as the day she was launched.


Teak cabin giving full standing headroom throughout down below. Open-plan layout with half-height bulkhead between saloon & fo'csle. 3 berths in saloon plus 1 pipe-cot in fo'csle.

Galley area to port with sink, cooker space currently houses camping stoves. Small chart table ahead of galley. Good sized cockpit with teak laid seating and useful locker space.


Yanmar 3GM diesel engine with conventional stern gear driving 3-bladed propeller.


Fractional bermudan sloop with bowsprit and bumpkin. Spruce spars. Stainless standing rigging. Roller furling headsail.







The history of Nordica is somewhat shrouded in mystery, so some research has been undertaken to try to sort out fact from legend. It is certain that she was built at the yard of A. King at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong. This is verified by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, and her sister ship Ariki III is still in HK (Nordica was originally Ariki II).

Legend has it that the 2 yachts were built as a speculative venture in 1939. However, the outbreak of WW2 and subsequent Japanese invasion led the builder to order the yet to be fitted out hulls scuttled on the bottom of the harbour, rather than let them fall into enemy hands. A more prosaic theory is that the Japanese used them as ferries, but the former story is the more widely held belief. After the war they were raised and fitted out as racing yachts by a Hector Forsyth, and sold to their first owners in 1946. Apparently Nordica had numerous racing successes in the early post-war years and was Colony Champion at least once.

The above story was published in the July 1987 edition of the Hong Kong yachting magazine "Fragrant Harbour", where it also claimed she was built "to a design by the famous American designer Herreshoff" and that she was a Mystic Islander design. Old advertisements for the Mystic Islander which accompany Nordica's documents certainly show a very similar boat, but not identical. Further research showed that the Mystic Islander, as developed by Franklin G. Post in Connecticut, USA, only really came in to being in the mid 1940's, some 6 or 7 years after Nordica's birth. The stem profile is much straighter, and the dimensions slightly smaller than the Hong Kong boats. However in many respects the boats are so similar it's hard to believe the designs aren't connected.

On further research there is no connection between Franklin Post's Mystic Islander and Herreshoff. The Lloyd's register entry for Ariki III lists her designer as R. Winslow, whom seems certain to be Ralph E. Winslow, a respected American designer of that time. Winslow did in fact work for the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company for a few years prior to 1920, but it seems unlikely that he was assigned to sailing yachts at this time (due to war efforts). He did however continue to draw sailing yachts for the rest of his life and indeed a list of his designs from the Mystic Seaport Museum shows one 'Winslow 20, 27' 6" Sloop Yacht', probably from around the late 30's, which could well be the boat in question. It is not known at this time whether the museum has a copy of the drawings and if so, whether they could be made available.

In summary, while not Herreshoff, Nordica is a very typical American-style cruiser-racer yacht in the 1930's style, from a respected designer and built from high quality materials at a well-know yard - all in all making her a very interesting prospect.


All information contained in this listing is offered in good faith however West Coast Yachting Ltd. cannot warrant the accuracy of any information given. In particular all comments regarding condition are the impressions of the broker when visiting the boat and should not be mistaken for a proper survey of the vessel in any shape or form. Buyers are advised to have an independent survey carried out and to instruct the surveyors to investigate such details as require validation. West Coast Yachting Ltd. will not be held liable for any losses arising from information contained in this listing.