3 Dutch rivals/colleagues throw a Trawlerfest

LELYSTAD – In the boating-for-fun business, trawlers are a special, slow, sturdy, comfortable, unpretentious, long-distance, family-cruising breed with a very loyal following. In America _ home of 70 or so yards making recreational trawlers _ PassageMaker Magazine’s Trawlerfests reel in scores of enthusiasts.

The 2018 HISWA in-Water Boat Show had its own Trawlerfest in early September. Modest compared to the US version, it was staged by 3 premier builders of luxury steel yachts: Alm Jachtbouw, Altena Yachting and Privateer Yachts. The Dutch Grand Banks dealer was a last-minute no-show after selling the yacht he planned to display.

“We never did this before,” says Altena’s Marcel Pols. “I want to do it again, but bigger. Showing trawler yachts side by side, makes it easier for clients to compare.” Alm Jachtbouw’s Jacco Van Maastricht agrees, saying. “I want to see it develop into a bigger event,” he says. “Perhaps even with clinics like they have in America.”

To outsiders, 3 rivals with a single boat show presence may seem odd. But in the Netherlands, boat yards are so thick on the ground, they are rivals but, at times, also colleagues.

Pols: “Altena Yachting is 10 kms (6.5 miles) from Alm Jachtbouw. We build yachts, but are also a wholesaler selling engines, hydraulic gear and other items to Alm. Also, if I have a lot of work, I get workers from Alm. And vice versa. Right now, for instance, I have seconded 2 workers to superyacht maker Van der Valk Yachts.

“Outsiders may see us as competitors, but we collaborate, too,” adds Van Maastricht.
The 3 trawler builders manufacture very different high-end boats.

At the inaugural Dutch Trawlerfest here, Altena Yachting showed the 15.5m Altena Raised Pilothouse 500 (right) and the 18.6m Vryburg PB 6. Privateer Yachts which builds luxury trawlers of 15 to 26m (50-84ft.) showed the Privateer Trawler-60 (top photo).

Alm displayed what it calls a ‘Skipper Yacht,’ (middle photo) a trawlerish craft with superyacht finish. The design underscores the difficulty of defining what a trawler yacht looks like. Hard to say, but you’ll recognize one when you see one. It is a cruising version of the traditional fishing trawler, but is more likely to have a semi-displacement hull.

Alm Jachtbouw’s ‘Skipper yacht’ appears inspired by the cargo vessels plying the rivers and canals of Europe. In the US, trawler yachts can have raised pilothouses, extreme deckhouses or even a “Portuguese bridge,” _ a walkway that wraps around the wheelhouse. Whatever the look, trawler yachts everywhere share one important purpose: they are made  for long, unhurried voyages.