I’ve been traveling the breadth of Holland for most of September. Having bounced around between Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and that booming metropolis of Urk (no, that’s not a typo) for weeks on end, I return with fascinating tales and stunning boats for you. So grab a Heineken or two and settle down for the story.
I was invited to the Netherlands by a consortium of Dutch builders eager to establish (or improve) their beachheads on our side of the pond. I got up close and personal looks at over two hundred new yachts, and met with over a dozen builders.
I found there’s a lot of truth behind the old “If it ain’t Dutch…” joke. The Dutch truly have a unique relationship with the sea. The hard fact is that most of their country is below sea level, so they don’t have much choice! Crawling through their yachts, I found some of the best engineering on the planet. I feel very strongly that we need this level of engineering in our harbors, too. Which is why I am so thrilled to now be representing three of Holland’s premier yacht builders in America!
I. First, Zeelander Yachts
Zeelander has been selling their fine yachts (including the hot one cruising through that cup of coffee, above) in the USA since 2010. Their Z44 and Z55 models are well established on both coasts. I think you’ll understand why this year their best seller is their Z55:
As stunning as they are to the eye, what’s going on behind the scenes – from their hull design and uncompromising standards of soundproofing to their impressively laid out systems – is even more impressive. You can see what I mean by meeting me aboard their latest Z55 (a triple IPS 45 knot boat!) at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show (from October 31st through November 4th). I know my clients and loyal readers. So I know you will love this boat.
Be forewarned that I’ll be divulging some Zeelander secrets at the show. You can hear some advance news about Zeelander’s new Corniche 55:
and their under-construction Zeelander 72:
And if that is not enough, I will have details on what to me is a pinnacle of avant-garde engineering: Their stunning Hybrid Drive, Rina-Green Class Plus Zeelander 164:
The artist renditions of three alternatives for its interior design will grab your attention. I am certain of it.
But to tide you over until your FLIBS vacation, here’s a cool little advance holiday for you:
II. Hartman Yachts
These are the boats that brought me to Holland this fall! It all started with a review of their Livingstone 24 in the latest issue of Passagemaker Magazine. Her classic jazz-age styling made me reach for my passport:
This 24 meter shares her lines with two larger siblings, the 34M and the 42M. Viewed as a complete series, these sketches provide the best view of Hartman’s deep dive into classic yachts:
I’ll be writing about this fine yacht quite a bit in the months to come, but if you can’t wait, here’s the review that sent me to Urk:
I’d be remiss here in not mentioning Hartman’s Explorer line, the Amundsen Series. Designed to go anywhere at almost any time, their design and overbuilt scantlings come directly from Hartman’s experience in building ocean-tested commercial freighters – boats that routinely go from Holland to the Falkland Islands, regardless of weather. Their intelligent and redundant systems will identify their 26M, 35M, and 42M yachts as true Explorer-class yachts:
III. Long Island Yachts
I must say, this was the big surprise of my trip to Holland:
I had not heard of Long Island Yachts, despite their oh-so-American name (they’re actually named after a very special place in the Bahamas). I was surprised (and then excited) to learn that over eighty have sold in Holland. I find the Dutch to be a very friendly, but rather grounded people. It takes a lot to get them excited. Well, clearly these Long Island Yacht builds turn them on!
I firmly believe these little pocket yachts are poised to make a big splash in our harbors. Why?
- Their designs are spot on.
- Their build-quality is as close to flawless as I’ve seen on small yachts.
- Their pricing is quite advantageous.
But hey, don’t just listen to me! Come see for yourself, as I’ll have a beautiful red one for you to board at the Fort Lauderdale Show. Please call me for the details.
IV. Oh Wait….
One last thing about the Fort Lauderdale Show – The Baron, my Vicem 72 brokerage listing, will be open for private viewings in nearby Miami. I will be making scheduled trips during the show, so please call now for an appointment. For a more public viewing, here ya go:
V. Things I hate!
Welcome to a new regular feature of The Fog Warning – Things I love, and Things I Hate. This week, it’s all about the hate!
I’m often asked where the name “Big Wave Dave” comes from. I rarely tell the story. It’s too embarrassing for a marine professional (sic) to admit. But as The Fog Warning’s reach has expanded (with 10,000 new readers this year alone) I recognize that a good part of this growth is the boating public’s hunger for better coverage of “real world” safety issues. So in the interest of the greater good, I will overcome my embarrassments for you, my loyal readers. You owe me one.
First, some video’s that explore that brave and dangerous activity of boarding moving vessels. (Warning, don’t try this at home).
The first is about mail deliveries on the Great Lakes. In some communities mail gets delivered right to your dock. And, as you’ll see, that mailboat don’t dawdle!
The "mailboat jumpers" are part of a time-honored tradition that helps put Lake Geneva on the map. FOX6 News was there on Tuesday for tryouts for the 2018 season — and not everyone stayed dry! via.fox6now.com/a1U5Q
Posted by FOX6 News Milwaukee on Tuesday, June 12, 2018
And then there is this boarding exercise, from Finland. How else would your pilot board from an ice flow? And do they pay these people enough?
Finally, my points are made by this hair-raising tale (it ends well):
Personally, these videos instill in me an attitude of gratitude (as new-age meditators put it). Gratitude for the fact that the universe, in its infinite wisdom, provided for the evolution of bow rails!
After all, these too-often overlooked options keep you and yours where you’re supposed to be.
Of course many downeast-style yachts dispense with these rails altogether. Far and away the majority of Hinkley’s don’t have them. In fact, these yachts are beautiful in part because there are no stainless rails breaking up their sweeping lines. Here’s a good example of that (and bonus points if you catch the captain almost falling overboard seven seconds in):
The bow rail discussion (do I or don’t I?) is a little bit like the flybridge discussion (Do I shoot for the panoramic visibility and extra outdoor space that a flybridge offers, or the pure beauty of an express model?). A little tangent here folks….
I was speaking with a client just last week about his dilemma. His point, and of course we all get it, is that life is too short to have a less-than-beautiful boat. And whatever visibility, functionality and outdoor space a flybridge adds, it hurts to sacrifice one’s sense of style. On the flip side, when you’re running your boat, why care what she looks like to the crowds?
There’s no right answer here, of course. But I will say that one of the things that completely won me over to Zeelander is how beautifully they balance interior and exterior space, without sacrificing visibility.
First, the designers at Zeelander went pedal-to-the-metal in providing full panoramic view from the helm of their 55. You can see it best clicking on this virtual tour:
I’ve never run an express-style yacht with this kind of 360 degree visibility. From a safety perspective, I cannot say enough about it.
And then, in terms of the indoor/outdoor space issue, the Z55 is the only express-style yacht I know that offers a quantum of outdoor space comparable to a flybridge. Check out these plans:
With her transom hydraulically opened, her beach-sized platform spread out just above the water, her bar area windows retracted and her sunroof open, the Zeelander 55 offers four outdoor areas for you and your guests, without sacrificing any room down below. I have never seen this on an express-style yacht. Come see me at the Fort Lauderdale show and I’m happy to demonstrate at length.
Well, now back to bow rails. In my ten years with Vicem, and some $40m in boats later, I never did a custom build without bow rails. The conversation came up quite a bit, of course. Most commonly I heard “Hinckley’s don’t got ’em, why should mine?” But in the end, safety won out repeatedly, and every one of my clients opted to spend the $14,000+ to add bow rails. Rails, I might add, high enough to do their job. Too many rails end just above knee height, as seen here….
…putting them at the perfect fulcrum point to toss you overboard.
Let me repeat that: ….putting them at the perfect fulcrum point to……
Ten years ago I was working a 50′ yacht at a CT boat show. Her bow rails were knee-high. A client happened to call me for some advice, so for some privacy I worked my way up to the bow, thereby becoming the object of an old industry joke:
Q: How can you tell who’s a yacht broker at a boat show?
A: He/She is the one on their phone with their back to the crowd.
Guilty as charged.
We talked for awhile, my phone tucked in one ear as I took some notes in my ever-present notebook. These days I use this one, and if you’d like one for note taking at the fall shows, just launch a flare and I’d be happy to send you one:
All was fine until I dropped the pen. Leaning forward, braced against the (low) rail, a gentle wave from a passing wake rocked my boat slightly. Much quicker than I can write, I instantly went from six feet above the water to five feet under, hitting the dock with my shoulder as I passed it by. Instantly, as in:
Underwater, I was immediately aware of two things:
- Which way was up (duh, the sunlight); and,
- That my arm hurt like hell.
I popped up, and looked aft to the crowds on the dock. No one saw me go over, and with my head just below dock level I was pretty much invisible. I couldn’t wave (I needed my other arm to stay afloat) but I could inch my way down the dock with my one good arm. I made my way up the ladder on the boat’s swim platform.
I was reasonably sure my arm was broken, but X-rays at the ER showed it was just a bad bone bruise. Three days later I was on a plane to Istanbul to splash a new Vicem 67 Flybridge.
So yes, I’m the only one in my industry who can say I fell overboard at a boat show. My colleagues awarded me a prize – an antique kapok-style life jacket, labelled Big Wave Dave.
I have yet to escape that name. I don’t suppose I should.
What are the lessons of this embarassing tale? I will leave you with just one, plus a classic video clip to drive the point home: Bow rails are a personal decision. There are things to be said for high, none, or very low rails. But I’ll quote Archimedes here, who said this about fine yachts with knee-high bow rails:
“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”
Yes, I hate ’em. And so should you. And please remember this:
Ciao for now, loyal readers. I’ll see you at FLIBS!
[You now know the saga of] Big Wave Dave