STEENWIJK – Steeler Yachts has launched a yacht that shows the yard’s full- custom credentials. The 20m (65ft.) Li-Janne (https://vimeo.com/259704239) was not just the yard’s largest ever, but also has wheelchair access. An impressive feat for an 8-year-old yard that already has won 2 European Motor Boat of the Year awards (2015 + 2016) as well as 2 nominations for that award (2017 + 2018) in its trophy chest.
“We can create wheelchair access because we are a full-custom builder,” Steeler Yachts owner Hans Webbink tells Dutch Yacht Building. “The Li-Janne is our 3rd wheelchair-accessible yacht. We are now building our 4th.
“The aft sections of both side decks slide out,” says Webbink. “The wheelchair rolls onto the extended gangway, is then pushed onboard through special railing doors. In front of the wheelhouse, we built an elevator of 1.5×1 m. (4.9×3.3 ft.) that takes the wheelchair down a deck to a wheelchair-adapted cabin behind a large sliding wall.”
Adapting yachts for wheelchair use is an engineering high-wire act. “It can only be done on a steel yacht,” says Webbink. “The sliding gangways, the railing doors, the elevator, the adapted cabin contain so many different parts, angles and reinforcements. We can do this because we are a full custom yard. We ask clients what they want. A galley up or down? How many cabins? What speed? What kind of draft?” With an overall length of 20m, the dimensions of the NG65 offer alternatives for double decks and a flybridge.
Webbink now has 18 yachts in build. “When I look at those 18 projects,” he says, only half-jokingly, “I’d say my market ranges from Seattle to Israel to Norway.” He has been most successful in Scandinavia and the Mediterranean. Steelers come in 5 versions and in both steel or aluminum. The Li-Janne tops the yard’s NG (New Generation), ocean-ready S-Line. It has a high, flared bow that generates fuel efficiency and minimum spray. It can accommodate up to 9 guests.
Webbink is no newcomer. He used to head a company that made 500 polyester boats a year. Finding that an organizational and logistical headache, he founded Steeler Yachts in 2010.
He has shaken up the Dutch yacht building sector with very edgy designs, like the 16m. Steeler Panorama Flat Floor 53 (left). It boasts a vast saloon and a fully integrated wheelhouse topped by a sundeck. A 2nd saloon serves as a TV room, study, dining room or guest suite.