Nautical Expert

Motorboat magazine

Selene trawlers compared to Nordhavn: our choice

Selene vs Nordhavn - choosing the best trawler yacht

Updated on March 30th, 2024

When choosing a trawler-type yacht, sooner or later you will inevitably come to compare boats from two leading shipyards: Nordhavn and Selene. When trying to figure out which company builds the best trawlers, you will find many opposing opinions and owner reviews.

In order to further confuse you and complicate your choice, we will also express our preferences based on our experience of going to sea on different models of yachts from these two excellent shipyards.

Yes, there are many more well-known manufacturers of excellent all-weather boats around the world, but Selene and Nordhavn are in their own category. This is a category of incredibly reliable GRP ocean trawlers with an unrivaled reputation. These are not some planing cruisers with a 300 nautical mile range, styled like trawlers for the mass market, but real displacement vessels that have a triple safety margin and allow you to feel safe in sea conditions when even sailing yachtsmen are in a hurry to get home, not to mention all other types of boats.

The fact that even those who have owned yachts from both Nordhavn and Selene often find it difficult to make a final choice in favor of one of the shipyards speaks not so much of how similar these boats are, but of how much attention the companies pay long-term experience of the owners, not short-term profits. You may find new Turkish-built Nordhavn boats, but the main Nordhavn models, like the Selene, are built in China, primarily Taiwan, in yards that have a long history of producing the highest quality GRP hulls.

But let’s get back to the heart of the matter. So, which trawler yachts, in our humble opinion, are better: Nordhavn or Selene?
Unfortunately, as usual, no one paid us any money for good reviews, so we are again forced to honestly express our opinion.

We never experienced any obvious inconveniences, technical problems or any other difficulties during our stay on board the yachts of both shipyards, and their reliability in rough seas is almost tangible. These yachts are equally predictable, easy to sail, and their model ranges are roughly in the same price range. However, if we have to make such a difficult choice, then we will go with Selene. And that’s why.

Overall, the boats are technically very similar, but the Selene seems more inclined towards luxury and comfort, while the Nordhavn trawlers are more brutal and, despite the incredibly high-quality finishes on the exterior and interiors, leaves a subtle impression of a commercial vessel. It should be noted that this is not something negative, on the contrary, rather, it further fuels the initial feeling of reliability. But on a long cruise, not to mention living on board, Selene may seem friendlier to the owner and guests.

Selene are semi-custom yachts, during the construction process of which the owner can take an active part in creating a unique design of interiors and exterior elements, fully adapted to personal preferences. Undoubtedly, Nordhavn can also offer you customization, but the overall impression of all those boats from both shipyards that we were able to visit remains in favor of Selene. Selene yachts are more sophisticated, so to speak, and their design is noble and elegant. This is especially true for our favorite model, the Ocean Explorer 72.

There are also a number of deeply technical nuances that were positively received by us on board Selene. This applies to electrical equipment and various additional options related to engines, generators and peripheral systems. Although Nordhavn told us that they could do everything the same, and even better, Selene already had all these things by default. In any case, this is just a configuration that can constantly change.

At the same time, some comparable Nordhavn models boast a slightly more spacious engine room, as well as slightly easier access to various important on-board systems.

As for such an important characteristic as seaworthiness, we have not yet had the opportunity to test two boats of similar size from both shipyards on parallel courses in stormy weather. It is unlikely that there will be much difference between the two, given the similarity of the hulls. However, you may notice that the lower profile of the Selene’s topside will have less windage, which you will definitely appreciate when mooring in high winds.

So, for a number of subjective and objective reasons, we would choose Selene. But the problem is that both shipyards have a large range of models, and all other things being equal, some Nordhavn boats may have better characteristics and a design more suitable for your requirements and hobbies, for example, for diving.

We hope we have made it easier for you to choose between Selene and Nordhavn.
Although unlikely.