KORTENHOEF – No one can accuse Martin de Kloet of missing boating trends. At the 2019 Boot Duesseldorf, he premiered his 8.5m (28ft) Speedlounger 8500, a fast, aluminum daysailer to rave reviews. “The Speedlounger 8500 racer/daysailer is like Land Rover meets Back to the Future,” tweeted Yachting Monthly. Sailing Yacht TV: “One of the most original designs of the show.”
At €152,000, fully equipped, the Speedlounger 8500 reflects the costs of launching a labor-intensive, innovative, high-quality boat that sends an important message: recreational day sailing is changing and the Speedlounger 8500 anticipates that. Its radical look _ from the boards of FCY Design _ pushes the envelope. “Many sailors no longer go away for a whole weekend,” says De Kloet. “The trend is to sail for a few hours, then return to relax onboard.”
The Speedlounger boasts a spacious cockpit, an espresso machine, an induction cooktop and a toilet. Its sports an acutely angled foreship, a sharp bow foot and a hull that widens gradually, ending in a broad transom.
Sheets and other lines come way back onto the cockpit’s anti-skid ‘workfloor’ _ between the large wheel and the adjustable Raymarine nav station. Between the workfloor and the cabin is a table, flanked by hull benches that cover storage areas. Propulsion comes from a Bell marine electric engine. Diesel is optional. The mast rises in front of the gaping cabin entrance. Sails (main, furling jib and gennaker) are handled from the cockpit floor.
Up front, the cabin houses 2 berths and that coffee maker and induction cooker. The hull’s inside is treated with Mascoat, an insulating foam coating that is a low-cost solution to fix condensation issues. Interestingly, no effort was made to hide the aluminum weld seams.
De Kloet: “We left those visible on purpose. To show the boat’s solid construction.”
Shipyard Gebroeders de Kloet _ founded 60 years ago by Martin de Kloek’s father _ has over the years built polyester daysailers such as Sailhorse, Efsix, Fellowship and Midget and handled repairs, refits, sales and metal and steelworking.
“When I was young there was always someone talking boats over dinner,” says De Kloet. He took charge of the yard 15 years ago. “We have always made stainless steel products. For our own boats and other yards,” he tells Dutch Yachtbuilding. “For instance, we make the steel fittings that go on Saffier Yachts.”
A decade ago, demand for polyester boats began to fade “so we started building aluminum boats. Tenders, console boats, work boats, pontoons, tour boats, you name it. That’s how I came to found Alufleet.”
His collaboration with FCY Design goes back several years to the LelieClass 5.6m. (left), an aluminum craft sea scouts that can also be rowed. “The market reaction was promising,” says De Kloet. “And there remains an interest in the boat. The problem is scouting clubs have no budgets to replace their fleets.”