Nigel Calder’s ‘Nada’ for sale

Note: This post is slight "off topic", but we still want to let you know about this unique opportunity to get a fully outfitted cruising boat in perfect condition that includes many of the state-of-the-art features we discuss in our electrical courses. Even if you are not interested in buying the boat, the text below contains a lot of tips from Nigel's 40+ years of cruising experience.

‘Nada’ is reluctantly for sale because Nigel and Terrie are aging out of offshore cruising, with troublesome (arthritic) knees, hips, wrists, and (in Nigel’s case) neck.

‘Nada’ is a Malo 46, heavily customized by Malo based on Nigel’s 40+ years of live-aboard family cruising, and many years of boat testing for Sail magazine (during which he noted numerous small details that he liked, and those that he did not like), plus an extensive background in boat system’s design which is summarized in his ‘Cruising Handbook’.

‘Nada’ was launched in 2009 and has been meticulously maintained and upgraded ever since. For the first eight years, ‘Nada’ served as the test boat for various hybrid and energy efficiency projects funded by the European Union, the UK government, and private investors. ‘Nada’s’ incomparable energy systems are a spin-off from this. Subsequently, the typical operating profile has been three summer months cruising in northern Europe, and nine months laid up ashore under full covers in non-freezing climates, with a dehumidifier running continuously within the boat, and with all cabinet doors removed or opened to ensure no condensation.

‘Nada’ is optimized for comfortable off-the-grid short-handed cruising. There are certain features that are obvious, most notably the outstanding galley (which is quite likely the finest on any 46-foot boat in the world), and others that are not so obvious. 

Deck layout and sailplan

The following are the core exterior modifications:

  • The standard keel, with its 2.1 meter (6’ 9”) draft, has been replaced with a somewhat heavier bulb that maintains the same center of gravity with a 1.8 meter (6’) draft; this is to enable ‘Nada’ to be taken into some of Nigel’s favorite anchorages in the Caribbean and the Bahamas

  • The standard 19.8 meter (65’) mast height has been reduced to 19.3 meters (63’6”) and the boom extended to compensate for the loss of sail area, so that ‘Nada’ can sail under the bridges on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in the United States (the ICW runs the full length of the United States east and south coasts, enabling the ‘inside’ route around treacherous Cape Hatteras to be taken in the wintertime)

Nada under full upwind sails (photo: John Neal)

  • The standard swept-back spreaders have been replaced with in-line spreaders so that the boom can be let well out on a run without risk of damaging the full-length mainsail battens on the shrouds 
  • There is a removable inner ‘solent’ forestay for a cutter rig (which Nigel and Terrie have only used a couple of times); the mast section is stiff enough to not require running backstays
  • Additional sheet lead tracks and cars enable the cutter sail to be sheeted in tight for close hauled sailing
  • Mast steps have been added up to the first spreaders for navigating through poorly charted coral (sitting on the lower spreaders is the perfect place to be); additional steps at the masthead enable the masthead light and fittings to be easily serviced; a tri-color masthead light has been added to the standard navigation lights
  • The mainsail is fully-battened, using Selden’s excellent in-the-mast cars (they never seem to jam); a trysail track has been added to the outside of the mast so that a trysail can be set in extreme conditions (it has never been necessary)
  • The lazyjacks for the fully battened mainsail can be pulled forward when raising the sail so the battens never foul the lazyjacks when raising the sail, including if raising the sail off the wind
  • The three reefs in the mainsail can be pulled down and let out at almost all wind angles (no need to round up to reef in heavy weather)
  • A new heavy-duty mainsail and genoa were installed in 2021 (they have seen little use, initially because Nigel and Terrie could not get to ‘Nada’ during Covid)
  • A longer-than-normal pole is stowed on the face of the mast for winging out the genoa to the maximum extent possible; an innovative sheet lead arrangement eliminates the need to re-route the genoa sheets (which is otherwise necessary to avoid fouling the lifelines)
  • Based on decades of anchoring experience in hundreds of anchorages with highly variable bottom and setting conditions, the ground tackle facilities have been substantially re-designed over those on a ‘standard’ Malo boat: a Lighthouse windlass is installed in a shallow well; a salt-water hose knocks the mud off the rode as it comes aboard; any residual mud is trapped in the well and exits down drains instead of running back down the side decks; a second bow roller is available for a second anchor 
  • The primary 30 kg (66 lb) Rocna anchor has an all-chain rode and is self-stowing (if the anchor comes up the ‘wrong’ way it automatically flips over - setting the anchor and retrieving it is just a matter of standing on the appropriate foot switch); a large cleat in line with the bow rollers enables a snubbing line to be easily added with a chafe-free lead over the bow
  • A substantial locker contains a spare bronze fisherman-style anchor with chain lead and hundreds of feet of additional nylon rodes; a third Fortress anchor is stowed on the stern rail
  • The foredeck arrangement includes a second locker large enough to hold an asymmetric spinnaker which is hoisted out of the locker in a sock and then dropped back in after use (it makes setting and dousing the spinnaker easy for a short-handed crew, and enables ‘Nada’ to be sailed long after most cruising boats have cranked the engine to motorsail

In contrast to most Malos, 'Nada' has non-skid deck and stainless handrails instead of teak to cut down on maintenance requirements  

  • Malo’s traditional teak decks have been eliminated (teak decks add unnecessary weight in the wrong place and in a hot climate get too hot underfoot to walk on in bare feet, collect dirt, and after ten to twenty years need replacing at considerable expense); the non-skid surface on ‘Nada’ provides just as good a grip when wet, looks great, is easier to clean, and will never need replacing
  • The traditional teak handrails have been replaced with stainless steel handrails; the emphasis is on Malo’s traditional good looks without the maintenance.
    Malo’s two deck vents have been augmented with four additional vents
  • There is stowage on the foredeck for an 11-foot (3.4 meter) Avon ‘Rover’ inflatable dinghy fully inflated, with a tie-down arrangement strong enough to handle seas breaking over the bow and crashing into the dinghy; the dinghy is easily launched and retrieved with a spare halyard
  • There is a secure mount on deck for the Avon liferaft
  • Malo’s cockpit arrangement is the best seagoing cockpit on any cruising boat built today, and works extremely well in harbor; the only change is the canvas bimini has been replaced with a hardtop on which 340 watts of solar panels are mounted
  • Two custom inserts enable the cockpit seats to be converted to full-length berths for those who like to sleep out under the stars in the tropics; an additional insert provides a secure, protected seat in the companionway when watch-keeping in rough weather
    There is a full set of cockpit cushions

Seagoing cockpit with hardtop 

  • The large locker under the helmsperson’s seat holds a cutter sail (rarely used), a storm sail (never used), the hydronic central heating system, customized stowage for dock lines, the shorepower cord and freshwater hose, cleaning supplies, maintenance fluids (oil, etc.), the companionway drop board, and other fittings and equipment
  • Two electric Andersen genoa sheet winches are augmented with an Andersen electric winch for the mainsail halyard (also used for taking in the Harken roller reefer for the genoa, and pulling in the leech lines for the three mainsail reefs); there is a manual winch for the mainsheet, outhaul, vang, and preventer
  • At ‘Nada’s’ stern, a ‘classic’ transom results in a spacious after deck for handling docking lines, fenders, etc., with a large lazarette, which solves the perennial lack of stowage found on almost all long-distance cruising boats
  • There is rail-mount stowage for two outboard motors (a Suzuki 15 HP and a Torqeedo T1003), and a lifting crane built into a pole that also provides a mount for a radar, a wind generator, two GPS’s, and the stern light (which gets the light up high enough to not interfere with the helmsperson’s night vision when looking astern, and also makes the light more visible to shipping)
  • Two seats are built into the stern rail
  • A boarding ladder mounts at the stern, as well as to port and starboard
  • A Malo stern anchor arrangement can be easily added
  • There is a gas line for a propane-fueled barbecue (the barbecue is stowed in the lazarette)
  • Malo’s EU-style propane locker has been augmented with a large LPG locker that accommodates two US-style 20lb propane cylinders (adequate for a family of four to cook aboard full-time for two months), or two UK-style 7 kg cylinders, with additional space for an outboard motor fuel tank (no risk of gasoline being spilled in the bilges); the EU-style self-draining locker now stores spare genoa sheets, a spare genoa roller reefing line, spinnaker sheets, and the foreguy/afterguy rig for the downwind pole

Everything about the deck, sailplan, cockpit arrangement, and ground tackle handling has been designed for ease of operation. Nigel and Terrie, both well into their seventies and with significant physical issues, have just passaged from Ireland to the UK, down the Atlantic coast of France, across the Bay of Biscay, and along the Atlantic coast of Spain, sailing, anchoring, raising and lowering the dinghy, and docking without additional crew.


The interior features a three-cabin lay-out, with stowage space for two people in each cabin, plus heads with showers forward and aft. 

The following are the core interior modifications:

  • The forward (owner’s) cabin is standard, except for the addition of a second diesel tank beneath the forward end of the berth in what is normally a hard-to-access space (this tank is typically not filled, except on long passages; it can be used as a trimming tank if too much weight is placed in the stern lockers); the powerful 10 kW bow thruster is under the center portion of the berth, and a watermaker under the aft portion, plus stowage for the heavy duty boat layup covers.
  • All lockers in the three cabins and under the saloon settees have ventilation slots

Forward berth

Beautiful furniture of the fore cabin

Starboard aft cabin

Port aft cabin

  • The saloon area features Malo’s beautifully designed, trademark saloon table; the starboard side settee is set on slides that enable it to be drawn up to the table so that up to eight people can sit for a meal
  • The saloon settees have been modified to create two full-length, exceptionally comfortable sea berths, for which lee cloths are provided
  • There are loose covers for all the saloon cushions to make it easy to keep them clean (the cushions look brand new)

Saloon port side with folded table

Saloon table unfolded

Saloon sofa on starboard

  • An additional grab rail has been added all around the cabin side at shoulder height, which is the optimum height for hanging on in rough weather
  • Access to the saloon stowage has been upgraded by adding drop front hatches in the face of the lockers, and breaking up the cushions into easier-to-lift sections
  • The entertainment system includes a CD/DVD/AM/FM stereo system with a drop-down 19” flat screen monitor; there are speakers in both the saloon and the cockpit

Storage and bookshelf in the saloon

CD/DVD/AM/FM stereo system

Saloon starboard side

  • An additional grab rail has been added all around the cabin side at shoulder height, which is the optimum height for hanging on in rough weather
  • Access to the saloon stowage has been upgraded by adding drop front hatches in the face of the lockers, and breaking up the cushions into easier-to-lift sections
  • The entertainment system includes a CD/DVD/AM/FM stereo system with a drop-down 19” flat screen monitor; there are speakers in both the saloon and the cockpit

Beautiful woodwork everywhere you look

  • Malo’s standard galley has been heavily modified with centerline double sinks, front opening Frigoboat fridge, top opening Frigoboat freezer with additional insulation, Corian countertops, custom cabinets and spice cabinet, chopping block and dishrack stowage, a 4-burner Force 10 propane stove, a separate (stowable) induction stovetop, a full-size microwave, and stowage for various electric appliances (kettle, food processor, etc.)
  • The galley arrangement creates a secure place in front of the sinks that is offset from the stove for someone to get wedged into during rough weather and when heeled, placing the cook out of the ‘firing line’ should something hot get spilled from the stove
  • The two (for redundancy) independent Frigoboat refrigeration units each have a keel-cooled condensing unit; these provide the benefits of water cooling without the energy load of a water pump, and without the need to winterize the systems


Handrails in the galley

Toploading freezer

Second fridge

Garbage container

Navigation table

  • Malo’s standard navigation station has been heavily modified with a large desktop (optimized to provide the maximum possible working surface in the event paper charts are needed; also serves as Nigel’s office at anchor), foldout seat, electrical panel, electrical system monitoring devices, tank gauges, VHF radio and navigation data, and extensive stowage for paper charts, cruising guides and manuals, multimeters, and numerous accessories (small batteries and chargers, traditional navigational tools, snatch blocks, pens, miscellaneous spares, etc., etc.)
  • The aft head compartment has been modified to include a wet locker
  • The two head doors are lined with white laminate to make them easy to clean
  • The hydronic heating system has outlets in all cabins and both head compartments

Navigation chair in storage position...

... and swung out

Surveillance of the energy system and switching consumers at the navigation station

Energy system

‘Nada’ is a DC-based boat. The electrical system, which is the single biggest source of problems on contemporary cruising boats, has been built to Nigel’s exacting specifications. These are based on the well-tested concepts outlined in his ‘Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual’. They have provided decades of troublefree cruising in his three previous boats. 

The core energy systems are derived from Nigel’s decades of R&D, which have resulted in the ‘Integrel’ system which is now being widely adopted by offshore cruisers with excellent worldwide technical support. In little more time than it takes to raise or lower the anchor, or to get in and out of a slip, sufficient energy can be generated and stored to run ‘Nada’s’ house systems for 24 hours. At anchor, ‘Nada’ can be run for four days without cranking the engine to recharge the batteries. From a full discharge to a full recharge for another four days takes two hours. In practice, intermittent propulsion needs result in sufficient simultaneous electrical energy generation to almost never have to battery charge at anchor. It has been years since Nigel and Terrie stressed over battery state of charge!

Lithium battery bank

The core features are:

  • An Integrel 8 kW, 48v alternator and controller plus a (redundant) 3.5 kW, 24v APS alternator with Wakespeed controller
  • An 11 kWh, 48v bank of Torqeedo lithium-ion batteries
  • DC-to-DC converters from 48v to 24v, and from 48v to 12v, to maintain in a ‘float’ condition a buffer 24v battery bank for the ‘house’ systems, a 24v battery bank for the windlass and bow thruster, a 12v battery for the NMEA 2000 system, and a 12v cranking battery; all the 24v and 12v batteries are AGM
  • The two 24v banks have battery balancers between the two 12v batteries in series
  • All battery banks are instrumented with voltage sensors for each battery, and current sensors for each bank
  • The wind generator and solar panels also have current sensors

Solarpanels and wind charger

Electrical distribution systems:

‘Nada’ is wired to comply with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) electrical standards, especially with respect to wire sizing and overcurrent protection. When ‘Nada’ was built, Nigel shipped all the cabling to Malo to ensure high quality (UL 1426), 105°C tinned wiring is used throughout.

The core high current DC circuits use conventional switching which is arranged in three panels: one for the windlass and bow thruster (which also includes the watermaker); one for the main ‘house’ systems; and one for the electric winches, battery chargers and AC selector switch and circuit breakers. There is no unusual, hard-to-comprehend, circuitry. All circuits are fully documented.

The DC electrical distribution system is controlled by a Capi2 digital switching system. In full disclosure, Capi2 is now out of business and provides no technical or component support. The system has operated flawlessly, and reliably boots up after every annual layup. Nigel has a substantial stock of spare ‘nodes’ and panels, with the software needed to program them, but has not needed to replace any. Nevertheless, given a catastrophic system failure (for example, a lightning strike) the entire system would need replacing (with a C-Zone, EmpirBus, or similar system). System replacement would require some reconfiguring of the wiring at the nodes (not a wholesale rewiring of the boat), and running drop cables from the NMEA 2000 backbone to the new nodes (i.e., system replacement requires more work than simply replacing Capi2 components with components from another provider).

‘Nada’ can be plugged into both 120 volt/60 Hz and 240 volt/50 Hz shorepower anywhere in the world. There is a collection of shorepower cords and adapters to fit pretty much any shorepower supply.

The shorepower inlet is wired via an RCD (ELCI equivalent) to 12v and 24v ‘universal input’ battery chargers, and to a 48v/50 Hz inverter/charger. There is no connection to the onboard AC circuits beyond the battery chargers and 48v inverter/charger (all onboard AC power is derived from the two 24v inverters described below). This eliminates the corrosion issues brought on board by a conventional shorepower installation.

If the shorepower is 240v/50 Hz (e.g., in Europe), the 12v and 24v battery chargers, and 48v inverter/charger, maintain all batteries in a full state of charge, with onboard AC power provided by the 24v inverters (see below). If the shorepower is 120v/60 Hz (e.g., in the USA), the 12v and 24v battery chargers maintain the 12v and 24v batteries in a full state of charge (enabling the onboard AC system to be used), with the 48v batteries idled (the 48v inverter/charger is turned ‘off’). 

The AC electrical distribution system is configured as a conventional U.S.-style system at 120v and 60 Hz, with U.S.-style outlets in the galley, saloon and head compartments. The galley and head compartment outlets are GFCI protected. All the AC equipment on board is 120v/60 Hz. 

There is a small (375 watt) 24v inverter wired to outlets which are typically energized 24/7 for charging phone and camera batteries, running laptops, etc. There is a 3 kW, 24v inverter which powers a separate set of outlets for the microwave, electric kettle, induction cooktop, additional cabin outlets, hot water heater, etc. This inverter can be turned off to avoid the standby drain when these devices are not in use (in practice, Nigel and Terrie only turn it off overnight and frequently forget to do that). Because the wiring is all for 120v, ‘Nada’ can be easily converted to an EU- or UK-style 240v/50 Hz system by replacing the inverters and installing EU- or UK-style outlets. No other changes are needed.

Diesel engine

The diesel engine is a 75 HP Volvo-Penta D2-75 with ~2,350 hours on it, maintained by Nigel. 

Main engine: Volvo-Penta D2-75

The leading cause of premature engine failure in sailboats is carbon fouling caused by extended operation at light loads and low temperatures. Nigel has technically ‘overpropped’ ‘Nada’ to ensure higher loads at lower engine RPM. The Integrel system has a sophisticated controller which manages the output of the 8 kW alternator to add additional load that maintains the engine at peak efficiency at any engine RPM, in both neutral and in gear, including at idle. The net effect is optimized loading and efficiency. The engine runs as sweetly as the day it was installed. There is not a sign of carbon in the exhaust.

The typical operating profile for a diesel engine in a sailboat, especially if battery charging at anchor, is chronically inefficient. The fuel burn rate for energy delivered to the flywheel, or to an alternator pulley, is generally anywhere from 300 grams per kilowatt-hour (g/kWh) up to 4,000 g/kWh. For both propulsion and electrical energy generation, ‘Nada’ is almost always at or below 300 g/kWh.

The Malo’s all have superb engine access from the front, top, and rear, but poor from the sides. Two side hatches have been added to ‘Nada’.

Extra access hatches from each side

The main fuel tank is 100 US gallons (400 liters). The additional tank under the forward berth is 70 US gallons (280 liters). The number 1 cause of engine problems in boats is fuel contamination. ‘Nada’ has a fuel tank sampling system and a Keenan Filters dual primary filter setup with a priming/polishing pump, a vacuum gauge, and filter fouling and water fouling alarms. 

Fuel filters and sample taking

The transmission is connected to an Aquadrive system. The shaft seal is a Volvo-Penta lip-type seal. The folding propeller is a 3-blade Flex-O-Fold (Nigel’s preferred propeller based on extensive testing).

Steering gear

Fresh water system

The freshwater system is a standard Malo install with an added 24v DC Spectra watermaker. There are two 100 gallon (400 liter) freshwater tanks. The hot water heater incorporates a heat exchanger to heat the water with waste engine heat when the engine is running.

Water distribution 

Bow thruster & fuel tank


Navigational electronics

The navigational electronics are from Raymarine, except for a Standard Horizon VHF/AIS with a second Mic at the helm. A chartplotter runs Navionics charts. A desktop computer is tied into the system running a redundant set of charts. An external monitor in the cockpit can be switched between the computer and the chartplotter. A NMEA 2000 backbone runs the length of ‘Nada’ with drop cables to various locations in the boat. The navigation systems are original (2009) but still operate flawlessly. 

Ready for a world cruise

‘Nada’ has numerous other changes as compared to a ‘standard’ Malo 46. Among these are modified bilge pumping arrangements, including a damage control pump that can keep up with the inflow from a failed through hull, modified holding tank arrangements that eliminate the often troublesome (and smelly) Y-valves and vented loops found on most boats, and an ultrasonic antifouling system. There are extra handholds on deck and inside, a line cutter on the propeller shaft, extra line stoppers and cleats, jacklines, cockpit cushions, and so on…

‘Nada’ has a huge spare parts inventory with worldwide cruising in remote regions in mind.

From a cosmetic perspective, ‘Nada’ is in such good condition that all who come aboard assume this is an almost new boat. From a mechanical/systems perspective, you could quite literally load groceries, top off the fuel and water tanks, and head out across an ocean tomorrow.″

‘Nada’ is currently in the Spanish Rias (Galicia).

‘Nada’ is for sale for $350,000.
Note that European/UK Value Added Tax (VAT) has not been paid.

If interested, please contact Nigel:
Cell/Mob: +1 401 215 5603 (CST time, which is 6 hours ahead of US EST)

About the author 

Nigel Calder

Nigel is often referred to as THE guru when it comes to technical systems on boats.

He is a long-time member of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) electrical Project Technical Committee (PTC) which writes the standards for recreational boat systems in the USA, and has also been involved in European standards development.

Nigel is best known for his Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual (now in its 4th edition), and his Marine Diesel Engines (in its 3rd edition), both considered the definitive English-language works in their field.

  • Thank you, Nigel, for all of your contributions to the community. You’ve been a mentor to many, and we are the better for it.
    I am preparing for my ABYC Marine Electrician cert, and I must thank you for setting the standards.
    Nada sets a fine example for all of us to emulate.
    Fair Winds, Good Sir and Madam,
    -John McReynolds, WA1WDE, s/v Cygnus

  • Hi Nigel. Dave of SV Soggy Paws here. I’m not in the market for a boat right now but have been in touch with Jan in the past. We’ve out now 17 years and are in SE Asia. 9 years ago we sold in less than 6 months our highly modified CSY 44 after crossing the Pacific. Then we went to the dark side and bought a St Francis 44 catamaran. What a positive difference for us old folks! I hope you don’t mind a few comments from an experienced cruiser that sold their similar sized boat without having to spend thousands on a broker.

    I like the level of detail and photos you’ve included for each system/area. For many buyers that will make a huge difference. In 2015 we sold our CSY 44 in SE Asia ourselves by creating a similarly detailed For Sale section on our website. This we advertised with a link everywhere possible on the internet we could. I recommend you do the same and even on our website if you want. You never know where the right buyer will come from, and you only need one! We also are feeling the effects of increasing age and just hope we have enough spunk to get ourselves back to the US over the next 4 years.

    I always enjoy reading about and seeing other cruisers’ boats. You never know when you will pick up something new. I think reducing the mast height and draft were excellent changes but requiring a lot of work. I once considered that in order to buy a bigger boat. Many other good boats including larger cats suffer from those problems. Interesting to see you rarely used your inner forestay staysail on your cutter. Ours was always up on the furler, not only for added sail area and stability, but also to ensure we could quickly reduce sail in a surprise big blow. Also, it helps ensure we did not lose the mast, which I once saw happen on a 4 year old boat, if a headstay component failed.

    In reading your electrical writeup it was unclear to me if you were using LFP, AGM or some combination of batt types for your main house bank. 4 years ago, after much study, we replaced our 13 year old Gels with a quality DIY cell based LFP batt system. With 800 watts of solar here in the tropics we almost never need to use our alternators for charging. Adding more solar to your current array (and cutting off that danged wind generator!) would be a good recommendation for the new owner if going to the tropics. We also have recently invested in a small electric outboard, an ePropulsion Spirit 1.0. Again what positive differences!

    We have found OpenCPN and satellite imagery to be required here in remote areas of the overseas tropics. Navionics and fancy chart plotters with proprietary commercial software have been responsible for a number of serious boat groundings out here and across the Pacific. Unreliable accuracy, wrong depth information and lack of shoreline detail are the culprits. This issue is well documented on the internet and through our articles in Ocean Navigator and SSCA. I hope your desktop computer has OpenCPN and it can be displayed at your helm station.

    Wow, an ultrasonic antifoul system and damage control pump. Two very worthwhile additions to a cruising boat. I knew smart German cruiser some time ago that with a lot of work installed an ultrasonic system on his 50′ catamaran. I hope it has worked for you.

    Enough for now. Good luck with your boat sale. Our website is svsoggypaws dot com should you care to have a look or link your sale there.

    Dave McCampbell
    SV Soggy Paws
    In the Anambas Islands, Indonesia
    Members SSCA and OCC

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