Alterations on our Nicholson 32 1992-2012

From a worn out seagull to a Baltic Swan


We bought Finis Terre (then Anja) in 1992. She started with a "round the world-trip in 1965-67 (British owner)- then from 1972 stationed in Denmark with almost yearly trips to Faroe and Shetland Islands. From 1992 we baptised her Finis Terre (III) due to my years close to Capo Finisterra/Santiago de Compostela in Galicia/Spain. From that year we have done mostly Baltic cruises, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Lituania, Estonia and so on.
In 1992 Finis Terre was rather "worn down" after many years of Atlantic/North Atlantic cruises - and honestly - the last owner of Anja - sailed her in three years less than 200 nautic miles. Mostly she was moored in a Copenhagen inner harbour - or worse - just stranded in open air on land. Summer and winter.

1992 we sailed her her to the shipyard in Stettin, Poland, to get her renovated from top to bottom. She had lost her brigth deckcolurs, the last owner had a way to free navygrey paint, so that was, what he had done, all over deck and top.
Since we planned to spend almost half a year on the boatyard, we also wanted to do some practical alterations, to make her better suited for single- or two-some longdistance sailing.
Number one:
The forecabin had raw (1964) glasfiber bulkhead, and due to many years as "drip-dry" room for very wet sails - the walls where nasty black-spotted. We decide to insulate with foam and make new bulkhead "walls" from curved oak-lists and mahogany.

The starboard side was nasty  narrow to sleep in, due to the anchor box well fitted in from the deck and down. 🙂  The anchor box was removed - and a new anchor log was glassed up in the front. Easier to use and store lines in,  the anchor was now  always placed in front.Ready for launch.
When we was at work there, we doubled up the anchor-rolls - so we now have two possibilities for anchoring.

Also we installed a 220 W electricity-box in the anchorbox.  The old practice with a 20 meter electric-cable on the deck, one could easily stumble on. Now the 220W output is placed central in the saloon.

Number two:🙂  The doble anchor-steel made it possible to enlarge t he old "one forstag"  to a double forstag. Since we never had a Roll-genua - it was now possible to set the genua at SB stag  - and in the same moment the rough-weather fock at the port side. From that moment we never had to heave down a bloody wet foresail to our nice dry forecabin.
Number three:🙂 MOTOR
(BMC Leyland, Thornycroft 1972) was totally renovated. The motor panel ,originally hidden in the port cockpitlog was moved out in the ligtht,under the entrence step in the cockpit.Easier by starting the motor and during sailing to control the instruments direectly in front of the rudder.



DiESELTANK ( 60 l) was originally placed in the middle of the SB cockpitlog. It was moved closer to the side, more accessible filler cap mounted in the deck under the Winch-wings.. It gave a lot of new space in the port log to 3-4 ten-liter jerrycans, downturns hatches during dry navigation, extra motor gear a m.        

         MOTO R   gearshift / forward / reverse lever was moved further into the port logger.  The gear Handle tended to fish the main sheet in heavy weather. The gear mechanism got a protective box inside the logger so div. tackle in gear inside the log wouldt’nt fish the gear transmission.  At the same time we got two extra Bilge ball valves mounted so the self-bailing cockpit now have four drainage possibilities instead of two.        

The old Sheet-WINCHES (original seabronze) was replaced with self-tailing LEWMAR-steel, manufactured at the shipyard in Gdansk. They originally stood on a cast Winch-bulb which gave a slightly skewed ergonomic position when in use. On the new, wider “winch-bridge” it is more ergonimic to use.

Th e original cockpit frame in plywood was replaced with solid teakwood. The coaming was increased some 3 centimeters and fitted with an inclined winch -FLYBRIDGE.    It gave better posture while using the new self-tailing winches and simultaneously a good spot to place ones buttocks when you wanted a little "higher up" as a mate. Something that was impossible before, if you do not had fakir trends and found it amusing to ride on a 2 cm narrow coaming.        

New Massive TEAK-SEATS in COCKPIT. Originaly was all seats cast in fiberglass, with massive teak lids on the cockpit logger. Finis Terre had in SZCZECIN made new teak-seats. The narrow entrance steps was doubled in width, so you can now lay across in lively weather, and it also a  "owerlean" for the new engine instrument box  and compass below the entrance step.                                           Simultaneously, the SB and port cockpit seats were extended by two triangular seats so that also here now is a full "lay down length”. Not bad on long distances.
TEAK were also put on GARAGE in front of the spray hood,on the forward hatch and on the cover of the new anchor locker in the bow.


New Spray Hood was fitted in 2014, with bigger, major acrylic "windows" forward and two xtras in both sides. Practical for harbor navigation and heavy rain.

NAVIGATION CORNER (s) were originally scattered throughout the whole salon. A large SP Sailor radio at the card table with the current depth in feet and fathoms. The log was an original Walker logs that you threw out behind, not smart in Danish, seaweed-filled waters. An almost antique shortwave transmitter in port salon side, furthest into the corner and then an AP navigator, which sometimes could hit the right positions.        

Instead Finis Terre have no less than 3 SESTREL Royal Navy compasses WHO all survived up to date.
Today, the SP radio is replaced with a M-Tech SX 35.


The AP is replaced  with a Furuno GPS, which also give the old magnetic Sestrel compass a hand.


The Walker log is now a VDO Sumlog

and especially "OTTO", our indispensable "third crewmember," an AUTOHELM 4000 autopilot.


The old Feet / Fathoms is now replaced by a simple EAGLE ID 128 as we have been entertained by, on the Polish and Baltic rivers.

NAVIGATION OVERVIEW has been adapted to a “one man cockpit” , very good in bad weather.        

Engine instrument panel, magnetic steering compass, GPS and Autopilot all sit in "see-height" so you can reach it all  from the tiller. Even when one is "clicked"  and stuck with the  lifeline in a fresh gale.


Both tiller and possible motor-gearing / gas can also be reached from this “sitting/locked” position.


The TILLER, well I made an extra long one. Particularly good in ports of call, where I before had to stand bent over to reach the top of the tiller. Now you can stand upright and relaxed and if necessary reach motor gashandle with your foot, it offers a relaxed attitude to Neutral gear at idle thrust.


The tiller also has a very fun single detail. When I in the 90’s  interviewed the Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl, at the VikingShip Museum in Roskilde, we fell afterwards in talk about long-distance cruising.   

Thor Heyerdahl knew NICHOLSON 32 as a good "Atlantic-cruiser" and he gave me after the interview a small silver model of  "Kon Tiki's" face. -                                                                   It should  "sit on rorpinne and steer us safely through the storm and fog," he vowed.

The small  silver-face since rumbled forward on tiller wood, together with the Danish and Galician flag.
(Galicia, Northwest corner of Spain, with Cabo Finisterra and Santiago de Compostela - the flag is white with a blue bar).

In really bad weather we put the
down hatches in the hatch ( with a top in vinyl) so both chief and relaxing crew have eye contact).        

 T he original teak door in 'one piece with a "flap" I cut in THREE ( Bottom Gate, middle door and the topdoor with an RUKO lock) so there is now a more "weather-adaptable" decline closure.  The Vinyl-top has the same size as the two massive (down and middle gates) and are very often used in rainy weather or simply a sharp burst.        

Jack Stag
is set from cockpit to the mast and from the mast to the forestay and should we (again) get a skewed lake with a "wash", so the cockpit table is filled, we know now, that the four self-draining holes in the cockpit will spit out ther water in less than 10 minutes.

 In addition to the three cockpit logs (the most back used mostly for extra ropes, boatsmans chair, extra loooong water hose and stuff  to harbor buoys.

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