Trawler Specialists

Buyer Testimonials

At JMYS we strive to enhance our reputation with everyone we do business with. Buyers have many choices and complex decisions to make. We focus on keeping the purchase process organized, friendly and fun. The strongest endorsement for our business is a happy customer and we work hard to exceed even the highest expectations.

Buying a boat can be a complicated blend of emotions and logic and it is vital to select a broker who will not only be your advocate, but serve as a reliable partner throughout the entire purchase process and well after the closing. Often times many years go by from initial introductions to closing the deal. We never push and try to always be available. Regular communications with timely follow up and even stronger follow through are some of the traits that set us apart.

We believe that trustworthy, ethical business practices along with solid product knowledge and on-the-water experience are essential characteristics of a professional yacht broker. The relationships we create with our customers most often evolve into lasting friendships. We educate and inform as we guide you along the way. Our favorite stage is the hands-on training with check lists and procedures that we provide to new owners in order to insure our clients are competent with systems operations and comfortable when they take off on their own.

A satisfied customer is our number one priority and we know our success is directly tied to our clients’ happiness. Customer support and loyalty is our most valued asset. We are proud and privileged to have helped so many clients realize their cruising goals. Everyone has a story to tell and we think our clients say it best…

David and Susan Odell – Dragonfly

Nordhavn 47 Dragonfly

Buying a power boat after being a life-long sailor required not only a lot of soul searching, but also a huge dose of learning. Just wading through the myriad of power boat choices took months of study.

My wife and I read about trawlers and felt this type of boat seemed a good fit for us. We planned to live aboard full time so the creature comforts a trawler afforded were attractive.

For our first boat show we attended the Baltimore Trawler Fest. We signed up for as many classes as possible to learn more about the boating lifestyle, and we toured dozens of boats from various builders and of varying length. We were peripherally aware of many of the brands, but had not seen or boarded any trawler before the show.

There were three Nordhavns on display – a 40, a 43 and a 47. Jeff Merrill was aboard the Nordhavn 47. We had met Jeff after one of the classes that he gave and knew already that he was a wealth of information. We plied him with more questions specifically related to the Nordhavn 47, and he spent almost 2 hours going through the details of the boat. We left Baltimore with the thought that a Nordhavn 47 might just be the boat for us.

After the TrawlerFest Jeff sent us some details and followed up with some phone conversations to gauge our interest and help us continue this process.

As we went into detail on the Nordhavn 47 Jeff provided a list of the model history that showed us when certain changes were made (like going from 12V to 24V) and other details so that we could evaluate the market of previously owned Nordhavn 47’s with some good background information. This was very helpful in allowing Susan and me to determine what features were on our ‘must have’ list versus our ‘nice to have’ list.

One boat for sale in California seemed to fit the bill – it had all of the ‘must haves’ and many of the ‘nice to have’ features. We scheduled a trip and spent a day on the boat with Jeff, asking many questions and learning more not only about that particular boat, but also about N47s in general. Unfortunately, by the time we were prepared to make an offer, another buyer put the boat under contract. Back to the drawing board!

It was getting near the end of year and the number of N47s on the market was dwindling. Susan I and once again perused the list of boats for sale and honed in on one, “Winkin”, that appeared to meet most of our requirements.

This boat was much farther afield (Rhode Island!), but even with the holidays rapidly approaching we were able to schedule a due diligence visit with Jeff after putting the boat under contract. We spent three days on the boat with Jeff and the surveyors. Throughout the evaluation Jeff took notes, snapped hundreds of photos and provided very helpful Nordhavn specific training, making the due diligence trip educational as well as enlightening.

After we closed the deal, Jeff reiterated his commitment to continue his training by spending time aboard with us, after we had time to acquaint ourselves with the boat. We splashed the boat in April and in early June he flew out to Boston for four days of indoctrination on the newly christened “Dragonfly”.  We talked about systems, maintenance, tools and spares, boat handling and many not-so-critical but helpful topics. We also cast off the dock lines in Portsmouth, RI and spent two days at Cuttyhunk Island. This enabled us to get real time training while underway, as well as to set the flopper stopper, work with the hydraulic davit, change the oil, and learn to manage power while away from the dock.

Now it is September and since then we’ve put 300 miles on the engine, going to Maine and back and heading towards Florida. Jeff has stayed in regular contact and we’ve shared ideas and solutions along the way. It’s great to know we have a friend and an expert in the trawler world.

For anyone in the trawler market, I strongly recommend Jeff Merrill as an expert, thorough and friendly yacht broker. He will help simplify the boat buying process and will provide continued support and training even after you’ve closed the deal. This was very important for us and something that most boat brokers don’t offer.

Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss our experience in person.

Good luck and happy cruising!

David Odell – Nordhavn 47 Dragonfly

Mason and Catherine Williams – Terrapin

Nordhavn Trawler | Certified Yacht Broker
Nordhavn Trawler | Yachts for Sale

September 22, 2014

Dear Jeff,

It’s been going on two years now since you helped us find and purchase what has become our beloved Nordhavn 55 “Terrapin”.   I’ve not stopped to really say thank you for taking such good care of us on our boat buying journey.

You did such a nice job of understanding what we wanted and being sure we both got the boat that was right for us.   Not only did you find us just the boat we were looking for, but you made sure we knew how to operate it.  Your knowledge of Trawlers in general and the Nordhavn line in particular was invaluable for us.

Anytime I’m talking with a friend who’s thinking about a boat purchase I recount our experience in our first phone call with you.  I’m sure you recall.  It was an introductory call that ended up being a 3 hour in depth discussion of our ideal boat.   Toward the end of the conversation you very gently said you weren’t trying to push us but there was a boat that met all of our criteria sitting in Seattle looking for a new owner.  We agreed that night to start the buying process.  We had given ourselves two years for the boat buying, or building, process which thanks to you ended up taking not much more than 2 months!  We’ve now put 5,000 miles under the keel, been places we’d never planned on and enjoyed every minute of it.

Thank you for being the consummate professional and our good friend on the water.

I hope your new venture as an independent broker is everything you wanted it to be.  I’ve no doubt it will be successful.



Mason and Catherine Williams

Nordhavn 55 Terrapin

John & Maria Torelli

Nordhavn Yacht Broker | Jeff Merrill Yacht Sales
Nordhavn Yacht Broker | Jeff Merrill Yacht Sales

A look back at 15 years of friendship with Jeff Merrill

When Jeff first told me of his decision to leave PAE and start his own business my first thought was “you can’t leave, you are PAE”. After 15 years, three Nordhavn’s and more phone calls than any sales representative should ever have to deal with Jeff has become family and hearing of his departure just didn’t feel right.  After the initial shock we quickly realized that our Nordhavn days didn’t need to end since our next boat would likely be a used boat and possibly another make and who best to assist us in these unchartered waters than Jeff?

We first met Jeff in 2001 at the Long Beach, CA Trawler Fest and have driven him crazy ever since. His patience and no pressure approach resulted in us building our first boat (Nordhavn 40 hull #50) on a tight budget in 2005.  Jeff was instrumental in helping us make the proper equipment selection while staying within budget. When we decided it was time to sell the boat Jeff guided us through the process and found us a buyer within a few weeks of listing her (proof that his equipment selection recommendations not only provided us the right boat, but also a boat that was appealing to others).  It didn’t take long for us to realize we made a mistake selling N4050 so we called Jeff and told him it was time to start the process over.  Once again Jeff helped us build a boat configured for us (Nordhavn 40 hull #61) and we couldn’t have been happier.

Just when we were starting to enjoy the boat one of life’s unexpected events hit us and we needed to sell her. Unfortunately timing was not on our side as the economic recession had set in and boat buying wasn’t at the top of everyone’s agenda.  Jeff remained positive as he worked his magic and found us a buyer who we became friends with and allowed us access to the boat for another year.

After a few years away from boating we decided it was time to get back on the water. We asked Jeff if he could find us a clean, late model Nordhavn 35 for us to test the waters.  Jeff, working with the sales team at PAE, went the extra mile (again) by reaching out to N35 owners he knew and just asked the question “Any chance you might be ready to sell your N35?”  As if faith was listening, Jeff found a very clean boat in southern California and we closed a private sale deal in 30 days.  It’s likely no surprise by now that when we were ready to sell the N35 (last year) we enlisted the support of Jeff to help us with list and market our boat – one of the first deals closed for his new brokerage.

The past 15 years have gone by quickly and as we look back at all the great times we have enjoyed living aboard and cruising along the coast we owe it all to Jeff.  He is trustworthy, reliable, knowledgeable and most of all a good friend.  Now that we are settled in our new beach house it is time to start looking for our next boat to stay on the water until retirement and possibly another trawler. Regardless of the boat, Jeff will be part of the process and helping us stay clear of rough waters.


John & Maria Torelli

Former owners of:

Nordhavn 40#50 – La Maria Elena

Nordhavn 40#61 – Maria Elena

Nordhavn 35#22 – La Tempestad



Scott and Glenda O’Connor – Cocamo

professional certified yacht broker
professional certified yacht broker

Dear Jeff:

We wanted to write a short letter of thanks for your guidance and support in helping us find our mistress! Hopefully you can share this letter with other clients and potential buyers to show how you helped us through this process. We are still very much in love, and poorer…but happy!!

The experience we had with you from first email contact at midnight, followed by many long phone conversations helping us work out what we really wanted vs. what we needed, to looking at boats in Maryland and finding our boat in Rhode Island, to the cigar after purchase phase, to training, to cheerleading support, to kicking us out of the nest to embark on our 700+ mile delivery adventure, to finally a vast friendship, Jeff you wore every hat with distinction! Great communications (phone, email and text) throughout and you really know trawlers. We picked the right broker and we have no regrets or complaints! Amazing how it all worked with you based in California and us living in Florida.

We are blessed with great new habits in our 30+ point engine room check list you created, educational handouts from your articles and talks, and extensive product knowledge from a professional.

Thank you Jeff!

Scott and Glenda O’Connor
Nordhavn 40 Cocamo

Marty and Linda Ellison – Tenacious

Linda and Marty Ellison (Medium)
Nordhavn 55 Tenacious (Medium)

It was about 10 years ago I began my search for a reliable, seaworthy offshore passage maker.  I spoke with several Canadian builders and even had a preliminary design done for a custom build.  But the further I got into the project, it seemed to slide farther beyond  my reach.  At the Seattle Boats Afloat Show, I ran into Jeff Merrill who at the time was working for Nordhavn.  After Jeff listened patiently to me for awhile, he opened a set of drawings of their latest creation, the Nordhavn 55.  It had everything I was looking for in a comfortable, reliable, and well engineered “Ocean Crosser”.

It’s been said that when you’re buying your dream boat, you’re buying the company who builds it, because the company’s reputation is inextricably connected to your boat as long as you own it.  But I found the salesman who sells it to you is of equal importance. There are countless details and decisions that are made, and I found Jeff Merrill is a master at cutting the meal up into bite sized pieces.  He carefully fed them to me making useful recommendations along the way and keeping me informed with thoughtful emails and photos.

Looking back, it seemed Jeff played the part of Owners Representative, that he was looking out for my interests first.  This was really was the foundation of a long and close relationship with Jeff.  My new Nordhavn 55 was one of the first commissioned in Seattle, Jeff made several trips to Seattle to check on progress and to train me on systems and boat handling.

In the years that followed, Jeff continued checking in with me, he asked about the boat and the places we’ve travelled to.  We caught several of his classes taught at the Trawler Fest where he continues to be a leading proponent of Do-it-Yourself ocean crossing.

Jeff has been involved with boats his entire life.  He has been nearly everywhere in about every kind of boat imaginable.  He enjoys meeting people and he’s a very good listener.  When it’s time to look for my next boat, I’ll start with Jeff Merrill, a good friend with a proven track record.

Marty and Linda Ellison – Nordhavn 55 Tenacious

Scott Bulger – Alanui

Online Trawler Listings
Online Trawler Listings

To Whom it May Concern:

I’d like to take a moment and chronicle my experience with Jeff Merrill over the last 15 years.  I’ve been a boater much of my life, making the transition to diesel trawlers with the purchase of a 31’ Camano in 2003.  After establishing a love for the cruising lifestyle my wife and I made the decision to purchase a Nordhavn.  We contacted the company and were assigned a sales person.  After an initial assessment the sales person had us sign a purchase and sale agreement with no price, no delivery schedule and no commitment of any kind.  After 3 months of continued confusion about exactly what I was getting I decided to disengage from the purchase process.

A year later I got a call from Jeff Merrill.  Jeff had been handed my folder and told I was a difficult customer, that maybe he could work better with me.  As I came to meet and know Jeff I become convinced he was the person I wanted to assist me in purchasing our Nordhavn.  Within 3 months we found and purchased our boat, a 40’ slightly used Nordhavn moored in Dana Point at the corporate docks.  You should have seen the look on the other salesman’s face when he saw me arrive to complete the purchase, he would have bet $1,000 I would never come through with a purchase.

I tell this story because it so perfectly captures Jeff’s value proposition as a salesman.  Jeff doesn’t “push” you into buying any boat, rather he leads you through the path of becoming educated enough to make the decision that is right for you.  Jeff never failed to answer a phone call or email and never failed to provide factual, accurate and complete information.  Jeff even introduced us to the couple selling the boat before the transaction was complete, because he wanted the boat owners to know the boat was going to a couple that would appreciate the heart and soul they had poured into her.

Jeff’s support didn’t end with the completion of a sale.  Jeff was a constant companion in answering questions and providing additional support for years.  As my wife and I departed for a trans Panama Canal journey to the East Coast he arranged a parts pickup in Dana Point, including wheeling a 100 lb. box of zincs to the boat on a hand truck.

What you get by doing business with Jeff is a complete feeling of confidence and trust.  Jeff is the kind of person you cherish meeting in life.  He is the kind of person you want as your wing man or co-captain.  It would be almost impossible to overstate how competent and capable he is, but mostly, he has integrity.  In the world of boat buying, he is indeed a rare find.  In summary, I have complete confidence providing a total and complete recommendation for Jeff, with no reservations or caveats.  If/when I go to buy another Trawler; there is simply no one else I would consider having on my side of the transaction.


Scott Bulger, former owner Nordhavn 40 # 39 Alanui

Leo Bannon – Paradise Found

Nordhavn 60 | Trawlers on the Market
Nordhavn 60 yachts | Boats for Sale

Paradise Found, you can too!

If you are in the market for a trawler, I whole-heartedly recommend that you speak to Jeff Merrill.  Jeff is extremely knowledgeable about trawlers and was a pleasure to work with through the process of purchasing our Nordhavn.  We asked Jeff to find us a particular Nordhavn model, age, equipment, etc.  He found exactly what we were looking for and we cannot be more delighted with our Nordhavn 60.  Jeff was beyond diligent through the entire process providing us with more information than we could possibly digest.

After finding a boat he had built originally and arranging the potential for a private sale, Jeff traveled with us to view the boat in Mexico and pointed out all the great features, but was also honest and pointed out a few minor flaws.  Even though we were previous trawler owners, Jeff provided us with a plethora of information regarding cruising, safety equipment, maintenance suggestions, etc.  Jeff was also very helpful in assisting us with the complete purchase process including recommending and arranging the marine and engine surveys, a captain to help relocate the boat, attorney to process the paperwork, etc.

After the purchase was complete, Jeff came out on the boat with us and pointed out many things with our new Nordhavn that would have taken us much longer to discover on our own.  Jeff is extremely competent and knowledgeable, but more importantly is also now a friend and a pleasure to know.

Leo Bannon, owner of Paradise Found, Nordhavn 60 #49:

Jeff Johansen Family – Passage III

Nordhavns for sale | Yacht Broker
Nordhavns on Market | Certified Yacht Specialist

Dear Dan and Jim,

My name is Jeff Johansen and this summer my wife, Denise and I realized a dream come true by becoming the proud owners of N40-49, to be named Passage III.  We were ably assisted in this endeavour by Jeff Merrill from your office.  But this simple sentence does not begin to describe the help provided by Jeff that has allowed us to be “living the dream”.  I thought that I would drop you a line to make you aware of the extraordinary effort from Jeff and to thank PAE for making our dream a reality.

We live just outside Vancouver, Canada and I grew up on and around boats.  From the age of six I spent my summers on the family cabin cruiser plying the waters between Vancouver and Desolation Sound. Being an ex Navy man, my Dad would take our little 22 foot Sturdy Craft into out-of-the-way places and often into weather and seas that we shouldn’t have been in.  This was exhilarating for me and my siblings but not a lot of fun for Mom.  My brother and I spent endless hours in the v-berth looking at Boating and Sea magazines, dreaming of a power boat that could better handle the conditions we sometimes faced in our little craft.  Even at that early age we had a keen eye for more seaworthy, ‘trawler’ style boats and focussed much of our attention on the Grand Banks line of boats.  The die was cast and the Grand Banks was the boat that we drooled over through many a boat show and magazine article.

Years later (late 90’s) at a boat show in Seattle, my brother and I came across a 50 ft boat called a Nordhavn.  As soon as we saw it, we knew this was something very special.  I still vividly remember going aboard and every thing I saw and touched just oozed of quality and sturdiness.  After that show I started looking for information on this Nordhavn brand.  I found articles in several magazines, particularly Passagemaker Magazine.   I read with great interest the Passagemaker articles about the PAE development of a 40 ft model.  Later, my brother and I made a special trip to Seattle to see N40-1 that was offered for sale by another broker.  Although out of the question at that time, the Nordhavn 40 became my new dream boat.  I read everything I could find on Nordhavns, PAE, and voyaging under power.  I would only go to boat shows where I could see Nordhavns so I could learn more about them.

At a Trawler Fest show in Poulsbo, Washington, my Dad, brother and I met Jeff Merrill.  He was extremely helpful and knowledgeable and answered all of our questions.  Even though none of us were in the market for a new boat at the time, Jeff took the time to show us all the features that make a Nordhavn a Nordhavn.  That was 8 years ago!!

Since then Jeff has kept in touch through email, mail correspondence and phone calls.  My wife and I would catch up with him at annual boat shows and he always treated us like family.  He never pressured us or tried for a big sell job.  But he always took the time to meet with us and to keep us up to date on the new Nordhavn developments.  We received Christmas cards, brochures, updates and other valuable information from him over the years.

When our financial situation reached the point where we could look towards a new boat purchase, I initially worked with 2 other local brokers.  I thought that it was not practical to have a California based broker for such a major purchase.  But I had been spoiled by Jeff’s previous assistance.  These other brokers simply did not deliver on my expectations.

So I contacted Jeff and explained the situation.  He was not upset that I had “experimented” with other brokers and he got down to business to find us a boat.  We worked with Jeff for 6-8 months, investigating and making offers on several Nordhavns.  It was exciting and discouraging at the same time.  Jeff kept it all positive and was tireless in his efforts to find the right boat.

Eventually we stretched our range and looked at a newer, more expensive boat that was for sale in Kodiak, Alaska of all places!  The price was higher than we were comfortable with and the logistics of taking delivery of a boat in Kodiak were almost overwhelming.  I kept telling Jeff that Kodiak was closer to Russia than Canada!  Jeff stayed positive and systematically explained all the steps and challenges that we needed to consider and with his experience (and numerous lists!) he built up our confidence to give it a shot.

The negotiations took place over many weeks.  The parties were not coming together and we had pretty much given up.  I even told Jeff to withdraw our last offer.  But Jeff didn’t quit.  He worked behind the scenes and eventually worked out a deal that was agreeable to all and the papers were signed.

That was in March.  The boat was shrink-wrapped in icy Alaska.  Jeff negotiated a prolonged closing period because of the season and to account for moorage and insurance issues.  We scheduled a viewing, sea trial and survey for May when things were a bit warmer.  Jeff committed a week of his time to assist us with the sea trial and closing.  He flew pretty much directly from a holiday in the Bahamas to Kodiak.  What a contrast that must have been!

During that week Jeff tirelessly helped us become familiar with the boat and its systems.  His experience with the boat was invaluable and he provided us with many helpful tips (and more lists) that would assist us in bringing the boat home.  He worked well with the surveyor and the 4 of us had many good discussions over dinner.  Through it all Jeff was very professional and deftly bridged issues between us and the seller as to what items were to remain on board.  During the sea trial Jeff had me run the boat through several exercises to help me gain familiarity with how it handled in tight quarters.  He knew that the next time I would be on board we would be heading across the Gulf of Alaska so he wanted to impart as much knowledge as he could.  What was an enjoyable yet stressful time was made all the more comfortable with Jeff’s help and experience.  He was tireless for the entire week and thought of so many important things that I had never even considered.  In the end we signed off on the final subjects with smiles all around.

In early July I flew back to Kodiak with my brother and a friend to deliver the boat.  Jeff was on the phone or email checking in and providing helpful advice right up to the time we left the dock.  During the trip we kept in touch with Denise via Sat phone and Jeff kept in touch with Denise to find out how the trip was going and relayed advice on some of the little things that inevitably go wrong.

Through the entire process Jeff was unbelievable with the time and efforts he provided to make this all happen.  He was knowledgeable, professional and showed a genuine personal interest for me and my family.  I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone in the market for a boat, regardless of the brand or the location.  Jeff can make it happen.

We have had the boat home for about 4 weeks now and Jeff continues to stay in contact with us to see how things are going.  He is happy to answer any questions we have or suggest places to get answers.  I consider him not just our broker but a friend.  If we are ever in the market for a bigger boat, although hard to imagine at this point, Jeff will be the guy we go to.  No question.

Thanks to Jeff and PAE, for helping us realize our dream.


Jeff Johansen

James and Jennifer Hamilton – Dirona

James & Jennifer & Their Nordhavn Yacht
Nordhavn Yacht Dirona | Yacht Broker

We met Jeff Merrill back in 2004. We didn’t really know what we wanted other than knowing we eventually wanted a longer range boat. Jeff patiently worked with us for years trading pictures, bouncing different options off of us, and showing us new and brokerage boats. Jeff got to know us well, and got good at figuring out what would work and what wouldn’t. He never once said “It’s been six years and you have never so much as bid on a single boat.” He just kept working with us and eventually proposed a deal that really looked like a great fit for our interests. That was when we agreed to buy Nordhavn yacht 5263 series Dirona. At the point of signing, we thanked Jeff profusely for his incredible patience and attention to detail and let him know we really appreciate him getting us the right boat and helping to bring a fairly complex deal together. He laughed and said “Are you kidding? We’re just getting started.”

Nordhavn Yacht 5263 Series – Dirona

Jeff was right. As much as he contributed in that first six-year stretch, he really was just getting started. Over the next year and a half, Jeff sent us literally thousands of pictures and contributed hundreds of ideas on how to build, configure, and equip Dirona. He visited with us several times in Seattle to work through the details and went with us to the boat yard in Xiamen China where we spent days placing equipment and improving the details. Nearly 5 years later, Dirona has wound on 4,400 hours and has taken us north to Prince William Sound in Alaska, up the Columbia and Snake River systems to Idaho, south to California, across the Pacific to Hawaii, Palmyra, Fanning Island, the Marquesas Islands, the Tuamotus, the Society Islands, Beveridge Reef, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Zealand and Australia. We never thought we would use Dirona this much or travel this far but, having done it, we actually feel we are just getting started. Rarely does a week go by without us commenting on some design feature or equipment choice that Jeff made and thinking how lucky we are. It’s been years since the sale but he stays in contact, still makes recommendations, and still collects ideas from our experience to contribute to future builds. The longer we own Dirona, the more we appreciate the details he has contributed. Jeff specializes in details, he knows Trawlers as well as anyone, and he is incredibly patient and never pushy. We really appreciate Jeff’s contribution to Dirona and helping us get this dream underway.

Ned Lambton – Lone Wolf

Motor Yacht for Sale | Yacht Listings
Motor Yacht | Certified Yacht Broker

Dear Dan, Jeff and Jim (if I may be so familiar)

My name is Ned Lambton (Lord Durham).   I recently purchased a used Nordhavn, hull 6231, from Jeff Merrill. I am very happy about the whole experience.  I love the boats and the company and this represents the fulfillment of a long-held dream for me.

I wanted to write to say what a really excellent fellow Jeff Merrill is.  He was amusing, charming, efficient, informative and meticulous in his approach. He really went the extra mile for me.  He wasn’t just pretending to care, like so many salesmen, he really did care, and now I consider him a friend.

I am looking forward to many years of satisfying ownership.  Thank you all for building these boats. It is a truly wonderful thing you have done, and unlike the great Captain Robert Beebe, I will not be drinking warm beer!

Yours sincerely,

Ned Lambton
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