LOOSDRECHT – Time it right and doing business can feel like surfing. Get a board, grab a wave, stand up and you may ‘hang ten’ for years. In 1994, Jerry Schuiten and his father did that and Interboat, their company, has to date built 3,000+ tenders.
What’s more, it has transformed a humble work boat into a comfortable, popular craft. Underpinning the shift to full-cabin motor yachting is a remarkable degree of onboard comfort and faster speeds.
Tenders are made for Holland. This is a country for day-trippers that boasts 7,100 kms (4,411 miles) of very navigable rivers, creeks and lakes and – lest we forget – old cities laced by historic canals. Jerry Schuiten says his father had a feel for that market. Today he’s the Interboat owner whose tenders brim with modern comforts that find clients across Europe. He has dealers in Germany, Austria, England and Scandinavia.
Interboat began small, with 4.8m (16ft) and 19ft models and stressing “our own style, comfort, quality and a stable hull,” says Schuiten. Until 1996, production was outsourced. By 2002, Interboat employed 50 people.
Today, it is a market leader with 3 successful polyester model lines: the standard Interboat tender, the Intender and the Intercruiser.
The company makes its own molds and lays mats by hand. That’s laborious but makes it possible for Interboat hulls to come with a 10-year-guarantee. Interboats come standard with a Vetus engine or, for larger power, a Volvo Penta. The 5 basic open-cockpit tenders range from 17 to 22 ft, (€29,900 to €47,900).
For his top-of-the-line, full-cabin Intercruisers, Schuiten employs his own furniture makers. “Only the cushions and covers are made elsewhere,” he says. Launched in 2004, the Intercruiser has a full-fledged, semi-custom interior and comes in 6 models from 27 to 34ft (€122,900-€269,500). The Intercruiser is rated for both coastal and inland waters, making it versatile in location and use.
The midfield Intender – 5 models of 6.5–9.75m (21-32ft.) ranging from €41,700-€169.900 – is a significant transition to the upmarket Intercruiser. This year, Schuiten added a 9.75m (32ft.) Intender which has a closed cabin. “Customers tell us they want to sail a tad faster and have a bathing platform,” says Schuiten. “In good weather, sooner or later, people want to go for a swim from the boat.” The Vripack-designed Intender 950 has a roomy cockpit with an outside bar, a 6-person L-shaped couch and a wet bar. Down below is a double cabin, a wet cell and a ceramic cooker. “It is available with an engine of up to 320HP which is handy for large open waters like in Southern Europe,” says Schuiten.
Interboat’s tenders come with diesel or electric engines. “To our Austrian dealer we only deliver electrically powered boats,” says Schuiten. “It is up to clients to decide on the battery capacity. But electric engines can be easily retrofitted on diesel-powered ones. We take out the diesel engine and tank and connect an electric engine to the existing propeller shaft.”