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Why Clock Work

Summary - Clock Work is a well-equipped Nordic Tug 42 that enjoys a significant reliability advantage over the typical unit/more recent models. She's a combination of the second-generation layout (post-2003) that yields a more livable/usable interior, married to a mechanically injected Cummins 6CT "450 Diamond" engine. A case can be made that this generation layout combined with that engine mark the zenith of the 42's development, at least for those who priortize reliability and mission worthiness.  Whatever other functionality came along after this can be easily added if you have that layout and that engine. 

The Engine - My top criterion when searching out a 42 in 2012 was a particular version of a particular engine. I held out 18 months until I found the combination of features that comprise Clock Work. The Cummins 6CT "450 Diamond" is one of the most reliable marine diesels ever made, but the one on this particular boat took it a step further. Unlike the majority of 42's with the second-gen internal layout, this engine is entirely mechanical… unencumbered by the electronic engine controls and emissions gear necessitated by EPA Tier 3 and 4 non-road/marine diesel requirements of the early/mid-2000's. Then engine and boat manufacturers had no commercial choice but to spin the complexity necessitated to hit the EPA numbers as "additional usefulness".. an improvement.. but, as I've never seen anyone proudly showing off their catalytic converters at a car show, I find the claim lacking. 

The result of avoiding the complexity of the electronics and emissions "features" is a simpler engine. That translates into a more reliable/less vulnerable engine, with the improved reliability being guaranteed by design... fewer things to break/burn-out/turn intermittent and bring you to a dead stop by a lee shore. You don't have to fix what isn't there in the first place. And with that, you can enjoy a large measure of isolation from the expensive end of the interaction curve with marine mechanics and towing services. That cannot NOT be a good thing. And this one still has in excess of 75% of its manufacturer-projected engine service life still left. When the dots are connected, that would be another 45 years. 

If you're interested in more background on complexity vs reliability, I put a blog post up on that. BTW, real-time observation as I sit here typing.. I am not oozing pride from every pore now that I "have a blog". I grew up learning to become a design engineer during the space program and long before the word "geek" became a thing. My heroes went to the moon.. they didn't invent the stupid LIKE button. Even though I have sunk this low, I beg that I may retain a small scrap of dignity by not bringing up that I now have a blog. Thank you. 

The Flybridge - The upper operating position (flybridge) has all of the controls and electronics from the pilot house replicated up top. For the new tug owner, the all-around visibility available at this commanding position affords a great place for learning low speed, close-quarters maneuvering, such as in/around marina fairways, fuel docks and pump outs. You aren't born knowing these things and the flybridge position will make you better, faster at this (if you practice). For the seasoned operator, it's simply good to have the option of driving in either position (control redundancy) and it turns out to be one of the best places on the boat to entertain or watch the sun set. I ultimately moved from default up top to the pilot house as my preferred operating position but there are still times I'll head up in a tight spot. 

The Thruster Set - Clock Work was recently fitted with a stern thruster and during that, a new bow thruster was also installed. Both are proportional (vs ON/OFF) which greatly reduce the probability of a thermal or battery-charge outage after an extended period of maneuvering in, say a marina. While they can greatly enhance close quarters maneuvering, the reason these were added to Clock Work was for "dock hold." Put the boat in the slip… press the dock hold button and the boat snugs itself up to the dock with the thrusters allowing the owner to casually tie off his own lines his own way. Apparently even many new boats which have both bow and stern thrusters don't incorporate dock hold.

The Bottom Line – As this is being written, Clock Work is the only boat with this set of important features in the available inventory. The rest of the boat is in excellent condition and several of the biggest age-appropriate maintenance items - like bedding the deck hardware and sealing the pilot house seam with the upper deck - have been recently completed.​

Every boat listed says it's been impeccably maintained. This one actually was, by someone you would likely describe as mechanical in the extreme.  I prefer to/insist on doing my own diagnosis and mechanical work because it's faster, and more likely to be done right. When necessary, I can fabricate a needed part for my boat, cars, motorcycles, tractors, etc. in my machine shop.. faster/cheaper/better. Actually one of the leading reasons for selling is the difficulty of taking care of a big boat myself, to the standard I apply to all of my machines, when you're constantly 3 hours from your tools and your shop.

"A good home" - I find the more common perspective in the lux goods world is an inexplicable default appreciation of endless and unusable complexity to implement some functionality nobody was actually asking for. How can it possibly be bad if the brochure says it's wonderful? If someone is wired up that way, God bless them. What I sought from my experience with this boat was not any sort of pride in owning what non-engineers would consider a marvel of engineering. Instead, the idea was to have something to live and play with in which I can trust to deliver the highest probability I won't be wasting my dwindling supply of heartbeats fixing some ridiculous component that somehow became mission critical, or worse experiencing any sort of unnecessary drama/emergencies. As a lifelong subscriber to the idea of giving deserving and uncommon machines and tools a good home, my ideal potential buyer will be someone who understands why this machine is uncommon and more mission worthy.  


Summary - I've described my Nordic Tug 42 from a perspective I don't often hear, but which is basically the core of my professional and academic life.. the impact of design decisions and in particular, complexity on the resulting ability of a system to do its job. I've tailored my description from what I hope turns out to be a useful perspective from a long time making machines/systems deliver on their promises.. My objective is to both identify someone with a deeper than usual systems/machinery background as the next owner, and also to hopefully recruit another body or two to adopt a systems perspective in thinking about the things we blow our money on, rather than disparaging any who are wired up differently. 


The focus has been on the engine combined with the modern layout. These are where I claim the most notable component of value lies... examples with that engine aren't growing on trees and they aren't making them new any more. But there definitely is more to Clock Work than the engine and here's what I'll say about that. When you're looking at that part, I'll admit it's going to be pretty much the same as any other well-cared-for 42. If the engine won't matter to you, my wife, friends and former students would counsel you there's no reason to put up with me. If it does matter, odds are we're at least going to become friends. 

The following is the usual YW-type list of features. 


  • Cummins 6CT "Diamond 450" 8.3 mechanically injected engine - No Electronics – 2300 hrs

  • Twin Disc MG 5075a gear with 2:54:1 reduction

  • Dual Racor #75 900 Max fuel/water separator

  • Water lift exhaust muffler 

  • 2” stainless steel propeller shaft with PSS dripless seal

  • 28“ X 30“ LH 4- blade Nibral propeller

  • Jabsco oil change system

  • Fireboy CG@-500 fire suppression system - recertified 11/2018

  • 110V GFCI outlet

  • (8) overhead LED lights in engine room

  • (3) Marine Air 16,000 BTU reverse cycle split system A/C~ heat units


  • U-shaped counter with Corian tops and sink inserts

  • Nova Kool RFU 9000 AC/DC refrigerator/freezer

  • Force-10 3 burner propane stove/oven and fume sensor alarm

  • Panasonic commercial Microwave oven

  • Appliance garage with roll up front

  • Exhaust fan

  • Teak and Holly sole

  • Dimmable LED overhead light




Saloon and Companion Way

  • Ultra Leather Settee with storage underneath

  • Pedestal mounted teak table

  • Day/Night shades all around saloon and galley

  • (8) 12V overhead lights

  • Red stair lighting

  • (3) 110V outlets

  • Bose home theater with subwoofer - (FM/CD/DVD/dtv) 

  • Samsung 32” LCD TV

  • Built-in U-Line ice maker

  • Switches for aft deck, salon, galley and pilothouse

  • Valance lighting

  • Teak window blinds

  • Navigation/computer/ main electric panel station, tank monitors in companionway

Owner’s Cabin

  • Centerline queen berth with storage underneath

  • Anchor locker forward

  • (4) drawers under berth

  • Hanging lockers with automatic lights

  • Hull side storage draws and cabinets

  • Cable tv hook up

  • Bomar hatch 

  • (6) 12V overhead lights

  • (2) 12V LED reading lamps

  • (2) 110v outlets

Guest Cabin

  • Teak floor to ceiling hanging closet with automatic light

  • Full convertible berth with storage under

  • (4) 12V overhead lights

  • (2) 12V reading lights

  • 110 V outlet

Master Head

  • VacuFlush toilet

  • Enclosed shower with bifold door

  • (2) towel racks

  • Exhaust fan

  • 110 V GFCI outlet

  • (2) 12V overhead lights

Guest Head

  • VacuFlush toilet

  • Enclosed shower with bifold door

  • (2) towel racks

  • Exhaust fan

  • 110 V GFCI outlet

  • (2) 12V overhead lights


Navigation Systems

Electronics - Pilot house

  • Icom IC-M502 VHF tranceiver

  • Icom IC-M710 SSB tranceiver

  • Raymarine ST6001 Auto Pilot w/rudder angle indicator

  • Raymarine E 120 48 mile radar/chart plotter

  • Raymaine Closed dome radar antenna

  • KVH TV1 satellite receiver

  • Apple wireless router with external antenna

  • Digital TV antenna

  • 406 EPIRB

Electronics and other equipment - Flybridge

  • Raymarine E80 color electronic chart plotter/GPS/radar display

  • Raymarine ST6001

  • Raymarine Rudder angle indicator

  • Raymarine Depth instrument

  • Icom IC-M302 VHF radio

  • Remotes or controls for: steering, throttles and clutches, horn, anchor windlass, bow thruster

  • Cummins engine gauge panel


Deck and Hull

  • Seawater washdown fore and aft

  • AB 10' RIB with Tohatsu OB 

  • Sunbrella RIB cover

  • Quick Lift 12V electro-hydraulic davit

  • 1.25” bow and side rails with gates at pilothouse sides

  • Lofrans Tigress anchor windlass w/dual remotes

  • Bow pulpit with stainless steel anchor roller assembly

  • Stainless steel Sampson post

  • Life Sling

  • Deck locker with side by side doors

  • Swim platform with boarding ladder

  • Hot/cold shower in cockpit

  • Flag holder on transom

  • Diamond Sea Glaze windows and doors

  • (2) overhead LED lights on aft deck

  • Molded in fender holders on aft deck

  • (3) automatic/manual bilge pumps


Additional Equipment


  • Danforth lighted binnacle compass

  • 12V DC defrost with 2 speed fan

  • (3) Pantograph style self-parking adjustable speed windshield wipers

  • Cummins engine display panel

  • ZF Microcommander throttle and transmission control

  • Side Power proportional bow and stern thruster control with dock hold

  • Raised teak dash

  • Teak overhead console and valances

  • (2) 12 V charging ports

  • Stereo DVD player with (2) speakers

  • (4) overhead lights

  • (2) red lights over helm

  • Chart counter with drawer underneath

  • Repositionable helm chair

  • 12V electrical sub-panel

  • Brass clock

  • Brass barometer

  • Raised Ultra Leather pilothouse settee with book storage behind it

  • Teak table


  • Onan 11.5 KW generator (2550 hrs.) in sound box with under or over water exhaust

  • Two 30A shore power cords

  • (6) 6 V AGM house batteries 

  • (12) 12V AGM batteries for main and thrusters

  • Xantrex TrueCharge 2 40 amp battery charter 

  • Full AC and DC panels with monitoring at nav station

  • Remote electrical panel at pilothouse for nav/operating loads 

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