MAKKUM – After 45 years, passion for yacht building still defines Tjerk Hutting. His Hutting Yachts yard, founded 45 years ago, is today working on a new 52ft model.
“I still have fun making something beautiful,” he says. And, with a generous, sweeping wave of an arm, he adds, “All this here is the result of me enjoying my job.” Hutting never considered building motor yachts. “I don’t count in horse-power,” he says. “Doesn’t sound very business-savvy, but I have little affinity with powerboats. I need to connect with the boats I build.”
The yard’s early years were long days in spartan conditions. Yet they gave Hutting a flying start in open cockpit sailing boats. By the 1980s, he was working on ever more complex cabin cruisers of 40ft. His first 40ft yacht was a Koopmans design. Hutting: “I thought it was a beautiful boat that sailed well. I developed a plan to build my own line of 40ft sailing yachts.”
With the help of a wealthy client, he built an improved version of the first Koopmans-40. It was a hit at the 1989 HISWA In-Water boat show in Amsterdam. His early 40-footers were made of steel, but soon aluminum became Hutting’s preferred material.
The Hutting-40 had a long keel that offered safety, seaworthiness and comfort. Or as Hutting puts it: “You can sleep, eat and bake bread in it.” Over the years he has built 45, 50 and 54 foot versions, for long-distance cruising, to as far away as the polar regions.
To date, 52 Hutting yachts have been built. The yard’s 2005-2010 heydays were followed by lean years in which the credit crisis sapped demand for new yachts. In 2013, the yard won an order for a 9.5m superyacht limousine tender. Technically, an interesting project, Hutting remembers, but not one that led to follow-up orders.
Hutting explores hybrid propulsion, for instance in the current refit of a Truly Classic 56. Its diesel engine is being replaced by an electric motor and a diesel generator. Together with solar panels, they feed the battery pack.
“If you are going to refurbish a yacht to enjoy it for years to come, a hybrid or fully electric propulsion system makes more sense than installing a new diesel,” says Hutting.
The Truly Classic is a design of André Hoek, who also drew the new Hutting-52, a project that heralds a new phase for Hutting Yachts. It is a modern, timeless design with a gorgeous deckhouse.
The hull has a slightly overhanging stern and a modest sheer line. The aluminum hull will get a fin or centerboard keel. The spars will be made of carbon. The cutter rigging includes a triple reef main, a cutter jib, a regular jib and an optional gennaker or Code Zero. The build project has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic