What happened before After 14 years of boating with two steel yachts on the lakes, rivers and canals in the Netherlands, Belgium, North of France and West of Germany, we were 'boatless' for a few years. In early 2021 we bought a used cabin sloop, but it proved to be somewhat limited for longer trips. During a trip on the Heegermeer we spotted an exclusive boat on the water, a real eye-catcher. Beautiful design with powerful, modern lines. But ...., no idea what it was.
After a search on the Internet, we quickly managed to identify her: the Northman 1200, a Polish polyester boat, imported by Natural Yachts from Heeg.
The next day we planned a visit in Heeg for a talk and ‘feel and touch’ with the yacht, essentially about the young used 1200. However, that boat had been sold and we had to decide whether we would dare to order a new boat with, at that moment, a delivery time of nine months.
Natural Yachts, a family business The Natural Yachts team gave us confidence: father Jurjen, son Hylke, daughters Sarah and Josien. Within a day we had discussed everything, including the options to be ordered and the conditions. The advice was professional and without pressure to buy many options. They listened to our boating experiences and our plans for a new boat. The extras were tailored to this, such as a larger battery pack for a long time without shore power, larger tanks and 110 instead of 80 hp. The advice on choosing the hull color and the interior was also carefully done. All in all, we were able to sign the contract within a few days and then the waiting began. To our relief, the boat arrived after nine months and two weeks.
The delivery Considering the extras, such as a strong 4G router for wifi (to be able to zoom and Netflix) and the hot air heating, the actual delivery took a few more weeks, but we were able to 'test sail' during the weekends in the meantime. In addition, protective strips have been installed at the swimming platform and the hull. Finally, at the end of September 2021, we were able to cruise to our home port on the Eem without any problems and the Obelix 3 is now used very regularly to our full satisfaction.
Boating The Northman 1200 cruises stable and in a nice straight line. She rolls little and catches transverse waves well with short, quick movements. Comfortable and ideal for a partner who is sensitive to rolling. With 6 Beaufort on open water the boat gives a lot of confidence. The noise level is good, especially with the stronger engine allowing boating with 200 rpm less. The engine control is via Morse cables.
We had to get used to change from a steel boat of 20 tons to a polyester boat of 8 tons. The draft is less and therefore the Northman is drifting more than I was used to. But you get used to it, also thanks to the powerful 24V bow and stern thrusters that operate with a convenient one-button control to use both thrusters at the same time. Sideways 'parking' or rotating 'a circle' is a piece of cake. And it does so particularly quietly.
Interior and views The interior layout is comfortable and nicely finished. The combination of the white, glossy polyester with the teak veneer panels is ship-like. The owner's cabin is particularly spacious and cozy. There is a bathroom with sink + toilet and a bathroom with sink + shower. Both guest cabins have beds of 140 x 200 cm and partly standing height. All cabins have standard cozy ribbon lighting. As an accessory this has also been done in the saloon. Everyone who comes on board will notice how generous the view is in the saloon and at the steering position; there is a lot of light. You sit relatively high and with lots of glass all around. The pleated blinds, which can be ordered as an extra, are a beautiful feature. The steering position is complete and conveniently arranged. The sofa sits well, but the legroom is limited. You steer inside, right next to the sliding door on Starboard and close under the standard electric hatch. In other words, almost outside. Up to now I have not missed a second outside steering position.
In the saloon there is a spacious L-shaped bench with a long table and a stool at Port side. At SB you will find the spacious kitchen block with sufficient storage space and equipment. Cooking is done on gas, with the burners under a glass plate; works fine.
Exterior The Northman 1200 is a boat for summer outdoor living. You can sit comfortably on the bench in front by the bow and lie on top of the salon roof. But the best part is the open back with a covered 'cockpit bench' with folding backrest. You can look towards the salon with bi-folding doors and a small bar. Or you can look to the rear towards the spacious swimming platform. As an option, a tent can be placed behind the cockpit bench so you can sit there in cooler weather. A table and a stainless steel rack for bikes are good options. The gangways are safe, but not too wide.
The boat has nice but not so practical cleats. Rather, I would have seen bollards. And what is missing are center cleats Starboard and Port Side, which are useful in locks and when you want to moor alone. It is not possible to install them afterwards, but I understood that center cleats are possible when ordering them directly.
Conclusion We made a good choice with our Northman 1200. A beautiful, practical boat, well built, lots of 'value for money', a passionate distributor and a great sales team.
In the spring of 2022 we will start our trip with the Obelix 3 on the Maas via the Netherlands, Belgium, France and then the Mosel to Koblenz, then the Rhine via the Lorelei to Bingen and downstream back home. We are looking forward to it.
Peter and Paula
If you wish you can contact us via Natural Yachts: https://www.naturalyachts.com/contact