Check out the new Uniflites !

Uniflite 31Well, not exactly. But what would a 2012 Uniflite be like? The family journey from Uniflite to Norstar has been one filled with determination, conviction and passion for world class quality boats.
In 2012 I started looking into the overall history of Uniflite when I purchased a 1964 29’ Uniflite Express Cruiser, affectionately referred to as the Fun Tide Too. While I knew that Uniflite built boats in Bellingham, the details were all very fuzzy to me.

The Nordtvedt Legacy

The Nordtvedt family is a permanent fixture in the Northwest boating community. Art Nordtvedt founded United Boat Builders in 1957 and Uniflite was born. Quality craftsmanship and seaworthiness were the main ingredients used to design and manufacturer every Uniflite and for the first 20 years or so they had built a First Uniflitebullet proof reputation.
Then there was the infamous blister problem. A combination of a fire retardant resin that was introduced in the late 60’s followed by a change in the fiberglass binding agent in the fall of 1973 were the culprits in this disaster. The earliest boats to have a problem were laid-up in October 1973.
As soon as the cause was identified the use of the faulty ingredients was discontinued, but it was too late. The Uniflite name was tarnished and the reputation shattered. The company faltered for the next several years and then in 1984 Chris Craft purchased Uniflite for its production capability.
Over the years Uniflite boats were heralded by the military, fisherman and pleasure boaters alike. From 1957 to 1984 an estimated 11,000 Uniflite boats were built in the Bellingham area. The boats of the 60’s and early 70’s are still coveted in the boating community to this day.

48 nordic yachtIn 1977 the Nordtvedt family was back in business with the launch of Nordic Yachts. Steve Nordtvedt and the Nordic Yacht crew started producing the 37-foot sailing yachts marketed by Valiant Yacht Corporation as the Nordic Esprit 37. In 1979 and 1980 Nordic produced a large number of 30-foot gillnet fishing boats for the prolific Bristol Bay fishery.

The world famous Nordic 44 and Nordic 40 sailing yachts were produced starting in 1980. Nordic Yachts then began building world class motor yachts ranging in size from 48 to 54 feet in the mid 1980’s along with Nordic 34 and Nordic 46-foot pilothouse sailboats until 1991. It’s no coincidence that in that same year (1991) the Federal Government introduced the luxury tax on yacht sales that year and almost completely eliminated the yacht building business in America, Nordic Yachts was one of the casualties.

On to NorstarBelo.3

From 1969 to 1984 Art’s younger son, Gary Nordtvedt, was a commercial fisherman. He bought his own boat in 1975 and fished everywhere from Puget Sound to San Francisco, from Bellingham to Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It was a way to make a living, but not his real passion. In the early 1990’s Gary decided he needed to follow that passion, designing and building boats.
In 1994 Gary designed an all-new 30’ cruiser and Norstar Yachts was born. Art and Gary started tooling to make the first Norstar 300. It sold immediately and with the owner’s permission they took it to the Seattle Boat Show to let the rest of the world see the latest Nordtvedt family creation. In 2004 the Norstar 360 was introduced. Diesel fuel was approaching $5.00 per gallon at the time creating a demand for sail boats. The molds for the old Nordic 40 and Nordic 44 sailing yachts were acquired and in 2009 Norstar re-introduced them as the Norstar 40 and Norstar 44 sailing yachts.

2012 and Beyond

N360 SalonFor all the faithful Uniflite, Nordic and Norstar owners, the Nordtvedt family wants you to know that you can order a brand new boat with much of the same DNA and craftsmanship that have been a hallmark of any vessel produced with a Nordtvedt name attached. Add to the mix all of the modern advancements and technology of today and you have nothing but the highest quality available.
The Norstar 300 and Norstar 360 are available in either a pilot-house configuration or a fly bridge, if a sailboat is in your future, you can order a brand new Norstar 40 or Norstar 44. The current Norstar manufacturing plant is even on the same piece of land where the United Boat Builders started building Uniflite’s back in 1958.
In the current reality that we all face on a daily basis, I happen to love the fact that you can still buy a world class yacht from a second-generation family boat building business right here in the Northwest. If you are looking for your perfect Northwest Cruiser, check out the links and get in touch with Gary and Steve at Norstar Yachts and let them build you your dream boat.
Norstar Yachts    +   360-223-2399   +


Add a Comment
  1. My name is Dennis Fox, I live in Bellingham and own a 55′ Nordic Yacht,which I bought fromMike Rusk a couple years ago. When Nordic was producing boats on the Guide in the eighties, my bathtub shop was next door to you. I used to walk down and admire the vessels you were building, and dream of owning one someday. Well that dream has come true, and my wife Julie and I are very happy with the boat. Her name is ” Julie K”, please watch for us on the Bay this summer. Dennis and Julie Fox
    Bellingham Wa.

  2. Our good friends Marty and Gail recently purchased a (new) to them Norstar power boat, Marty told me that after we return home this summer possibly We could invite Gary down to our Nordic 55 for a tour, to tell us more of the history of our boat. I am hopeing to contact Gary and show him what we have done to her to bring her back up to Nordic standards.
    Dennis and Julie Fox
    “M/Y JULIE K”

    1. We can help you get connected!

  3. I have been a boater since my senior year at Everett High, 1955..Rescued a 14′ woody at the Everett Marina and have not been boatless since. My dream was to someday own a Tolly or Uniflite and I was able to do so by selecting an aging vessel. Three Tollys and three Uniflites. The Tollys were all funiture quality interiors and the Uniflites were all rugged practical designs.
    They were the choice of doctors and lawyers. So I was a second or third owner of each vessel.

    I now own a Carver and it’s OK but not in the same class as the T’s and U’s. Those makes never grow old in my mind. They just become classics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *