Developed by Loren Hart who founded Lord Nelson Yachts with his wife Lani in 1982, the Lord Nelson 35 (introduced a couple of years later in 1984) was one of two sailboat offerings by the company. The boat is well known in cruising circles for its close heritage to the Hans Christian line of boats, they’re super-solid and super-heavy double-ended cruisers with that salty old-world styling which the Westsail 32 and Tayana 37 made so popular. Like many boats of that era, the Nelson 35 was built in Taiwan, in this case by Hai O Yachts under the direction of one of their partners and the eventual designer of the boat, Tommy Chen. (Tommy also had a hand in the Hans Christian boats.)
With a regal name like Lord Nelson, the interiors are suitably large and well laid out with ample stowage for extended voyaging. Build quality is superb with lots of attention to detail. You can also expect oodles of teak, both inside and out, all of which add up to strikingly beautiful boat with the penalty of higher maintenance needs.
The hull form of the Lord Nelson 35 draws much in common with the Hans Christian 33 Traditional, but with flatter aft sections to reduce the hobby-horsing tendency that the Hans Christian is known for. Below the waterline is a very full keel running from bow to stern and a well protected rudder that is hung well aft. Above the springy sheerline sits a ‘proper’ cutter rig with its large fore-triangle opened up by the use of a long 7 foot bowsprit.
As a cruiser very much planted in the heavy end of the spectrum, the Lord Nelson 35 has a nice easy motion through the water, but requires a decent breeze to exploit its full hull speed. They sail best on a reach while beating upwind in heavier seas is known as its weakest point of sail. Most owners would agree the boat is not considered fast, but conversely the boat is cannot be considered slow either, 8 knots is achievable with wind on the beam.
In all only 35 boats were produced, the rumor was that the cost of production became an issue. Lord Nelson Yachts went on to produce tugboats and the company itself eventually passed into the hands of Tommy Chen, who had been first to oversee manufacturing in his Taiwanese boatyard.