As part of an ongoing series of profiles of Dutch yacht designers and naval architects, we talked to Peter Bosgraaf whose office sits on the edge of Amsterdam’s canal-laced heart.
AMSTERDAM – Not long ago, a rich Canadian bought a house on an Amsterdam canal. And shopped around for a hybrid-powered lobster boat to enjoy the city’s centuries-old waterways as well as fishing in Canada.
Via a local yard and a canal boat captain, he connected with yacht designer Peter Bosgraaf who, over 25 years, has amassed a portfolio of 75+ boat types: sail, motor, rowing and house boats. What was, understandably, missing was a lobster boat – the totemic craft of North America.
“I had to bone up on them,” says Bosgraaf. The classic lobster boat has “a nice hull line but a somewhat angular structure,” he adds. “Let’s say they are very ‘functional’ boats. Their starboard side can be open to make the reeling in and out of lobster pots easier. And they have a big working cockpit.”
The lobster boat is a.k.a. ‘the pickup truck of the Maine coast.’ Every year, lobster men and women race in what you might call the world championships in Maine, doing 40 mi/hr. and more.
For his Canadian client, Bosgraaf drew a semi-displacement, composite lobster boat with a foam-core, sandwich hull reinforced by glass-fiber and epoxy resin. It can do 15 knots, has an underwater hull that starts sharp but, going aft, turns into a flaring plane. It has a big skeg to protect the propeller.
The boat sleeps 2 below the foredeck, a space that also boasts a cupboard, a toilet and a galley. The wheelhouse is an uncomplicated, straight-up affair, reflecting the craft’s workboat origins. Its 1.9m crawl space gets the boat under most of Amsterdam’s 1,500 or so bridges. Built at Bouwmeester Shipyard in the Dutch capital, the lobster boat has a 110HP Volvo D3 and a swimming platform.
The lobster boat is part of a drumbeat of diverse, innovative design solutions coming off the boards at Bosgraaf Yacht Design. If the lobster boat evokes days gone by, his portfolio also includes the 9.5m Domani E32 – a superfast, futuristic electric chase boat whose engine is used in EV racing and aviation.
The Belgian Domani brand makes performance daysailers and, lately, also true high-end runabouts packing lithium batteries. A DC-to-AC inverter of 6kW can be installed which converts the high voltage DC current to 230V AC. The hybrid drive system consumes under 4 liters per hour while doing 15kts.
The engine is by YASA, the British maker of electric motors for high-performance cars such as the Jaguar C-X75 and the Koenigsegg Regera. Oxford-based YASA makes e-motors and generators for the off-road, marine, industrial and aerospace sectors.
Bosgraaf has also made a name for himself in houseboats. He has drawn 16 to date. A recent project: a 21.5m steel “tjalk” – a classic, long and narrow flat-bottom sailboat with big sideboards, instead of a keel. They used to haul goods across Dutch lakes and canals. Bosgraaf’s drew a 21.50m houseboat that fits under most of Amsterdam’s 1,500 bridges.
“A tricky shape to get right,” Bosgraaf says of the tjalk. “I had many discussions with the cutter of the steel plates. Shaping steel means stretching it. But you get to a point when there’s no more stretch left.” Still, the hybrid propulsion boat weighs 51 tons which is relatively light.
For a Danish client, Bosgraaf drew the Signe Stjerne, a very functional, 3-level houseboat on a cutter hull. It features 2 masts to haul tenders aboard.
Also, from the Bosgraaf stable: a carbon-reinforced, core foam dinghy that comes in 3 lengths – 2.77, 3.11 and 3.44m, each with a beam of 1.5m. It is a more hard-wearing alternative to inflatable dinghies. Bosgraaf’s gave his dinghy a generous bump rail and 4 oars. It can also be fitted with an outboard engine.
Just off the boards is an admiral tender that sleeps 2, an addition to Bosgraaf’s existing line of open tenders. It will also be built in foam/epoxy and can be fitted with 1 or 2 engines. Still in the works: an all-electric, 16m motor yacht and a composite 10.5m tender.