Old-timers never go out of style
WAGENINGEN _ In 2009, Van Oossanen Naval Architects started work here on a classic 15.25m broad-jawed, shallow-draft Dutch sail boat. The “Buikschuiver-2” (Belly Glider-2) oozes the nostalgia of days gone by, but none of their so-so sailing qualities. Cutting-edge software crafted a fast polyester old-timer itching to take on keel yachts. “We are now able to calculate side force, resistance, lift and drag characteristics of this type of sailing yachts with a much higher level of accuracy than before,” says Van Oossanen Naval Architects. The studio optimized displacement, sail plan and other speed factors on a boat you expect to be asleep on the water most of the time.
Classic boats are a lively niche market in the Netherlands. Long the realm of hobbyists spending their Saturdays sanding hulls, masts and decks, it has become an inspiring segment. As the Belly Glider-2 well shows. And the fact that are today no fewer than 15 classic boating organizations in the Netherlands.
“Traditional boating is not a growth segment, but it is a very stable one,” says Wim de Bruijn (photo), editor of “Spiegel der Zeilvaart,” a classic boating publication. Interestingly, it has subscribers in 24 nations outside Holland. De Bruijn: “We have a reader in Chile. I don’t know if he reads any Dutch. He must like the photography! But I know there is a Japanese reader who learned Dutch just to be able to read our magazine!”
De Bruijn has been one of the two driving forces behind the annual Classic Boats Show, the only one of its kind in Europe. It’s held for sail and power boaters annually in Enkhuizen. Starting in 2014, it will be merged with the annual indoor Amsterdam show, a boon for both. The old-timers’ event easily attracted 170 exhibitors, 70 to 90 boat displays and 5,000 visitors. De Bruijn, 69, and co-organizer Thedo Fruithof, 66, opted for the Amsterdam boat show when they couldn’t find takers for their event which has been held 17 times. The merger adds a good deal of depth to the Amsterdam show enabling it to offer an unprecedented range of nautical products and services. The merger is a reunion, in fact: classic boats used to be part of the Amsterdam event. “We are back where we started out,” says De Bruijn. “This merger will guarantee the future of classic ships.”
And the Belly Glider-2? At the 2013 Amsterdam HISWA show it won a “Dutch Glory” award of the magazine Nautique in the category of sailing yachts of 12.5 to 17.5-m. Said the jury: “There is still progression in old Dutch boat designs. (The Belly Glider-2) is a centuries-old design … an all-round yacht that strikes a perfect balance between comfort and regatta sailing. A modern classic, very user-friendly and innovative.”