The Nicholson 48 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Nicholson 48 is a classic ketch designed by Raymond Wall and built by Halmatic Ltd and Camper & Nicholson in the UK.

It is a heavy displacement cruising boat that offers comfort and seaworthiness for long-distance sailing and has a reputation for being well-built, elegant, and reliable, but also slow and underpowered in light winds.

'Capercaillie', a Nicholson 48 Ketch Sailboat at anchorA Nicholson 48 Ketch

Published Specification for the Nicholson 48

Underwater Configuration: Fin keel with skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 47'8" (14.5m)

Waterline Length: 34'4" (10.5m)

Beam: 12'11" (3.9m)

Draft: 7'0" (2.1m)

Rig Type: Masthead ketch

Displacement: 31,300lb (14,198kg)

Designer: Camper & Nicholson

Builder: Halmatic (UK)

Year First Built: 1972


Published Design Ratios for the Nicholson 48

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 12.1

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 32.0

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 345

4. Comfort Ratio: 41.5

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.6


A Few FAQs...

Based on the published Design Ratios for the Nicholson 48, how would you expect the boat to perform under sail?

The Design Ratios indicate that the Nicholson 48 is a heavy and stable boat that can handle rough seas and strong winds, but also needs a lot of sail area to achieve decent speed. The boat is not very agile or responsive, but rather steady and predictable.

Is the Nicholson 48 still in production and, if not, when did production end and how many of these sailboats were built?

The Nicholson 48 is not in production anymore. Production ended in 1981, after 42 units were built.

How many people can sleep on board a Nicholson 48?

The Nicholson 48 can sleep up to eight people in four cabins: two double cabins aft, one double cabin forward, and one single cabin in the passageway. The boat also has two heads, one with a shower.

How did the sailing press review the Nicholson 48?

The sailing press generally praised the Nicholson 48 for its quality of construction, its classic lines, its spacious and comfortable interior, and its seaworthiness. However, some critics also pointed out its lack of performance in light winds, its high price tag, and its outdated design compared to newer boats.

What do owners of the Nicholson 48 have to say about their boats?

Owners of the Nicholson 48 tend to love their boats for their beauty, their durability, their comfort, and their ability to handle any weather conditions. They also appreciate the boat's versatility, as it can be used for coastal cruising, offshore passages, or even liveaboard lifestyle. Owners also acknowledge the boat's drawbacks, such as its low speed, its high maintenance costs, and its limited availability of spare parts.

What is the history of the builders of the Nicholson 48 and is the company still in business?

The builders of the Nicholson 48 are Halmatic Ltd and Camper & Nicholson. Halmatic Ltd was founded in 1947 as a manufacturer of fiberglass boats and components. It became part of Vosper Thornycroft Group in 1985 and was renamed VT Halmatic Ltd in 2002. It ceased operations in 2010. Camper & Nicholson was founded in 1782 as a shipbuilding company that specialized in yachts. It became one of the most prestigious yacht builders in the world, producing many famous boats such as Endeavour, Shamrock V, Velsheda, Gipsy Moth IV, Drumbeat, and Maltese Falcon. It also diversified into yacht brokerage, chartering, management, and marina development. It went through several changes of ownership and restructuring over the years, and is now part of Lai Sun Development Company Ltd, a Hong Kong-based conglomerate.

Is the mast on the Nicholson 48 deck-stepped or keel-stepped?

The mast on the Nicholson 48 is keel-stepped. This means that the mast is supported by a metal post that extends from the bottom of the hull to the top of the mast. This provides more strength and stability to the mast than a deck-stepped mast, which is supported by a metal plate on the deck. However, a keel-stepped mast also requires more maintenance and inspection, as it can cause leaks or corrosion in the hull.

What is the average cost of a secondhand Nicholson 48?

The average cost of a secondhand Nicholson 48 depends on several factors, such as the year of manufacture, the condition of the boat, the equipment and upgrades installed, and the location of the boat. Based on some recent listings, the average cost of a secondhand Nicholson 48 ranges from $100,000 to $200,000.

How does the Nicholson 48 compare to other sailboats in its class?

The Nicholson 48 is comparable to other sailboats in its class, such as the Amel Maramu 46, the Bowman 46, the Cheoy Lee 48 Offshore Ketch, the Formosa 47 Ketch, the Gulfstar 50 Ketch, the Hans Christian 48T Ketch, the Hinckley Sou'wester 50 Ketch, the Island Trader 46 Ketch, the Morgan Out Island 51 Ketch, the Nauticat 44 Ketch, the Passport 47 Ketch, the Tayana 48 Ketch, and the Westsail 42 Ketch. These boats share similar characteristics, such as their size, their displacement, their rig type, their layout, their design era, and their intended use. However, they also have some differences in terms of their performance, their quality, their features, their price, and their availability.

What other sailboats have been created by the designer of the Nicholson 48?

The designer of the Nicholson 48 is Raymond Wall. He was a naval architect who worked for Camper & Nicholson from 1958 to 1981. He designed many sailboats for Camper & Nicholson and other builders. Some of his most notable designs include:

  • The Nicholson 32;
  • The Nicholson 36;
  • The Nicholson 38;
  • The Nicholson 40;
  • The Nicholson 43;
  • The Nicholson 45;
  • The Nicholson 476;
  • The Camper & Nicholson CN35;
  • The Camper & Nicholson CN39;
  • The Camper & Nicholson CN55;
  • The Camper & Nicholson CN60;
  • The Camper & Nicholson CN65;
  • The Camper & Nicholson CN70;
  • The Camper & Nicholson CN75;
  • The Camper & Nicholson CN80;
  • The Camper & Nicholson CN100;
  • The Camper & Nicholson Endeavour Class;
  • The Camper & Nicholson Lion Class;
  • The Camper & Nicholson Ranger Class;
  • The Camper & Nicholson Shamrock Class.

The above answers were drafted by sailboat-cruising.com using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; to the best of our knowledge, we believe them to be accurate.


Other sailboats in the Nicholson range include:

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