A stunt that tells a story
AALST – Richard Wolffers of Neptune Marine Shipbuilding says, yes, it was a stunt “but one that made an important point!” On a sun-drenched spring day, his yard used a crane to capsize a 15m Elling E4 luxury motor yacht with yard Director Anton van den Bos strapped into a seat at the wheel. Some 500 people, including many Elling clients, watched the motor yacht pop back up thanks to its self-righting ability and saw a smiling Van den Bos emerge from the pilothouse, quite intact.
The yard conducted the test twice. Each time, the Elling E4 emerged from its 360-degree spin unmarked. “It remained totally dry on the inside. The roof hatch, which locks pneumatically, easily withstood the pressure of the water,” says Wolffers.
He says the key aim of the self-righting test “was to show that when people buy an Elling they buy a safe boat. What we see these days is boats coming onto the market that carry an ocean-rating. But is that really merited. We wonder. Especially when we see a cabrio deck, for instance. When it gets rough out there, a boat like that will get swamped!”
Neptune Marine Shipbuilding BV has been making sturdy polyester yachts since the early 1970s. Today it makes up to 30 polyester Elling E3 and E4 luxury motor yachts a year. They come with a CE Category A rating. “In 2008, 3 Ellings crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the United States non-stop in only 16 days,” says Wolffers.
He says his yard has over the years invested heavily in boat safety. The Elling E4 that was sent on a 360-degree spin in the water falls within the CE- design category A: ocean going and self-righting. “When it came up it was bone-dry inside,” says Wolffers. “The Elling E3 will do the same thing.”