HARLINGEN – Houseboats can often look like rickety, floating log cabins. Luckily, the Cruising Home unit of SRF Shipbuilding in this northern Dutch port has come to the rescue with attractive, sophisticated alternatives to “experience a whole different way of yachting, living and traveling.”

SRF has been building, refitting, converting and maintaining inland boats and yachts for over 40 years. Its first Cruising Home houseboat appeared at the 2015 Boot Düsseldorf. The company has focused primarily on Germany and Switzerland but is ready “to reach out to the rest of Europe,” says Marketing Manager Brattinga. He mentions “sales points in southern France and Scandinavia.”

The brand’s launch at the 2015 Düsseldorf show was a marketing flop that turned out OK in the end. “We couldn’t get it into a hall,” remembers Brattinga. “So we displayed it in a courtyard and, with the fireplace blazing, we won several orders.”

The initial plan was to serial-build houseboats with a standard interior, but that idea flopped as the market wanted customization. Brattinga: “Today, no two Cruising Homes are the same. We have standard specifications, but anything is possible within the hull’s dimensions.” Prices start at around €500,000 and can creep up to almost €2 million.

SRF Shipbuilding has partnered with Marina Düsseldorf owner Rolf Gast, a critical point of contact for German clients. Right now, there are three Cruising Homes at Marina Düsseldorf.

When the leading Cruising Home designer Jan Visser died in 2019., SRF approached the Olivier van Meer studio. “We had already worked with him a lot,” said Brattinga. Today, Cruising Home houseboats comes in three models: the 12m and 15m (39/49ft) Traveler, the Explorer (same lengths) and the 15m (49ft)  Explorer Open Deck. SRF is now building a 15m (49ft) CH Traveller and has outsourced construction of the same model, says Brattinga, “because we are full at the moment.”

The Cruising Home portfolio shows many variants. A client in Düsseldorf has a split level 15m Traveller XXL and uses it as a luxury B&B. Another client in the German city has a Traveller 1500 Panorama with mirror glass walls and uses it as a luxury apartment that occasionally sails.

Cruising Home Explorer

“The Explorer is a CE Category C hybrid,” says Brattinga. “It is basically a yacht with an angular superstructure for open waters. The Traveller is more for touring on inland waters.” What all Cruising Homes do is combine the comfort and space of a house with the mobility of a yacht. Their upmarket interiors make for pleasant workspaces.  The first Explorer was delivered in 2020 and then known as the 1250 XT. It has since been changed to 1500 Open Deck as the houseboat can be designed with a 2m (6.6ft) aft deck.

Cruising Home will attend the early-September In-Water HISWA show, which is unusual. “We never attend trade fairs. SRF is not a marketing machine. We are shipbuilders who want to build very nice boats and rely on our network.”

Custome made houseboats | Cruisinghome.eu | Friesland

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