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Vaan R5 review by Nautique Magazine

21 Aug 2023

Beautiful Dutch sailing magazine Nautique tested the Vaan R5 in Hellevoetsluis.

Hans Brouwers reviewed the Vaan R5 for Nautique Magazine. Read the article below in English.

If you want to see the whole article (Dutch), you can also download a PDF of the article here >>

 

VAAN R5

BRAND NEW DUTCH MULTIHULL WINS INTERNATIONAL AWARDS

Multihulls are immensely popular these days. Not only because of the space, luxury and comfort on board, but also because this type of vessel can be built sustainably and one can also sail completely emission-free. The young Dutch yard of VAAN Yachts earned an international nomination as ecological “Multihull of the Year 2023” with its firstling, the VAAN R4. Recently, the yard presented a size up: the VAAN R5. And an R6 is also already in the planning. Nautique went to Hellevoetsluis to find out the success story behind this innovative and sustainable Dutch concept.

 

While boarding the VAAN R5, built from recycled aluminum, in the harbor of Hellevoetsluis, we see how further away an old polyester sailing yacht is loaded into a container, on its way to the shredder. It seems staged, but this is reality. And for us today, a particularly apt comparison. After all, polyester and epoxy resins have been the main building materials for beautiful yachts for many decades but they are hardly recyclable, if at all, so they don’t really fit into our circular economy. As a result, there are many tens of thousands of abandoned polyester yachts languishing at the end of their existence in harbors, ditches and canals, before being disposed of to incinerators. According to Igor Kluin, director of VAAN Yachts, things can be different. This yard’s multihulls are built from 60 percent recycled aluminum, which comes from old road signs, license plates and window frames, among other things. Some parts even contain eighty percent recycled aluminum. At the end of their lives, these ships are also one hundred percent recyclable again. So good news for sustainable Dutch yacht building! But that’s not all. At VAAN, all building materials are carefully selected for sustainability. For example, no teak is used for the deck, but cork. The upholstery is made of recycled fabrics and bio-fibers, including pineapple leaves. Even the propulsion of the yacht is done sustainably with electric motors which in turn, as hydro-generators, provide electricity when sailing.

NOMINATED FOR MULTIHULL OF THE YEAR 2023

The VAAN R4 and the VAAN R5 moored side by side here in Hellevoetsluis show that our country can also be innovative in the field of multihulls. Indeed, this type of vessel is, almost by definition, built in France. The French yards of Lagoon, Outremer, Bali, Catana, Fountaine Pajot, among others, together produce more than 1,250 multihulls per year today. In fact, that enormous popularity of these types of space wonders makes them quite competitive with the sales figures of monohulls these days. That VAAN Yachts can become a standout and innovator in this market was demonstrated this spring at the major International Multihull Boat Show in the French port of La Grande Motte. There, among seventy brand-new Multihulls, the very first VAAN R4 was directly nominated internationally for the title “Multihull of the Year 2023” and in the key category of “Forever Green. This means that VAAN is considered one of the most environmentally friendly multihulls in the world. By the way, in the Netherlands the VAAN R4 had already been noticed before: in 2022 the HISWA jury already crowned this ship as Dutch Boat of the Year.


BOTH INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR OWN DESIGN

Due to the corona crisis, the yard’s start-up was far from flawless, by the way. Igor Kluin explains, “We started exploring the market and making the first drawings in 2018. Together with my partner and co-founder of VAAN, Nienke van ‘t Klooster, we worked out the idea in detail, both the exterior and the interior. Dykstra Naval Architects then took on the ‘naval engineering’. Dykstra’s vast experience and worldwide reputation in designing superyachts was, of course, a very big advantage. To begin with, we presented a scale model of that first VAAN at the 2019 HISWA. That was enthusiastically received and then we immediately started working on the first hull. We outsourced that construction to a specialized aluminum builder. The nice thing is that here in the Netherlands we have all the specialties and suppliers in high-quality yacht building close by. Because we did not have our own shipyard at that time, we accommodated the finishing of the Vaan R4 during the corona crisis in the hall of a colleague in Drimmelen, where the ship was finally launched at the end of 2021. Fortunately, we now have a beautiful new hall here in Hellevoetsluis, right on the water, and also plenty of room for expansion. As you have seen, the hull for the next R4 is already ready here and soon we will be able to finish here in two positions in parallel. If necessary, we can even scale up to six construction positions in the future.”

VAAN APARTMENT

Together with Igor Kluin and sales manager Remco Immink, we step aboard the VAAN 5, and then it is immediately confirmed why multihulls are so popular. The aft deck of this nearly eight-meter wide yacht looks like a beautiful terrace and in the salon, with sliding doors, you imagine yourself in a modern apartment. And then there is also a terrace on the foredeck. Whereas the appearance of catamarans used not to fit our expectations of traditional “ship-like” shapes, in recent years there has been a clear turnaround in this. Professional and talented designers are increasingly succeeding in designing modern, aesthetic and ‘sexy’ lines even for these types of wide yachts. With the combination of the vertical black hulls, the contrasting metallic ‘roll bar’, the light-colored cork upholstery of the aft deck and the minimalist interior, we think this ‘VAAN apartment’ could easily feature in a modern design magazine. Because the two helm stations are positioned on the far sides of the aft deck, a large space remains available between them. There is also the choice of placing the wide sliding door between the aft deck and the saloon more inward or more outward. A larger seat on the aft terrace or a larger living room, in other words. This owner has opted for a larger living room and so the façade is placed further aft. At VAAN, this is called the “live aboard” version. The salon itself is divided into a sleek white L-shaped kitchen to starboard and a very spacious seating area to port. The windows are coated glass, and these offer 360-degree panoramic sea views here.

There is always a clear connection to the water on this yacht, both inside and out. The design of this striking interior design stayed indoors. Those minimalist lines were conceived by Nienke van ‘t Klooster who is familiar with furnishing luxury hotel suites. Even in both hulls, everything breathes the atmosphere of a hotel suite with – again – clean shapes, light colors and a sisal floor covering made of natural fibers. The port hull contains a complete owner’s apartment with a large bathroom in the bow. The starboard hull houses two bedrooms and a bathroom, with the forward cabin equipped with two bunk beds. The interior is not as extreme as that of the Jeanneau Yachts 60; it is rather conventional and modest. But it still feels extremely comfortable, quiet and cozy. The paneling is light oak, as are the floorboards, and quiet colors are used for the upholstery. Plenty of light enters through the hatches and windows, and indirect LED lighting under the baseboards creates a warm atmosphere. To port we find a corner sofa with ingeniously adjustable tables and to starboard a sofa. Seating space in abundance, in other words. Amidships, the designers devised an elongated, narrow island. A good invention! It serves both as a hold in seaway conditions and as extra storage space in the salon. On the starboard side, space has also been found for an extensive navigation center. The luxurious swivel chair behind it gives this handsome workstation the look of a home office. The kitchen on this yacht is planned all the way forward across the full width. The walk-through to the owner’s cabin in the bow divides the kitchen into two sections. To starboard we find the cooking area, with sink, cooktop and other useful attributes. The port side is reserved for supplies. There are large stainless steel refrigerators and freezers, and under the floor is a real wine cellar. On yachts of this size, designers have plenty of room to plan the layout functionally and ergonomically, and this VAAN R5 shows that.

MINIMALISM IS NOT OMISSION

According to Igor, the minimalist design was well thought out on this yacht. In that, of course, you cannot leave out functional things. According to him, it is better to let that functionality come together in the design. A good example is the edge of the roof. The hand rail is integrated into it. This eliminates the need for an additional rail on the roof. The same goes for the benches behind the steering consoles on the smaller R4. These are concealed in the walls of the hull and therefore do not take up space when not in use. The foredeck terrace, with a cork table, is also simple but functional. A surprising, but important, detail is the V-shaped “grinder” in the middle of the aft deck. This is not only a clever reference to the V of VAAN, but also an efficient place where all sailing operations are carried out. In fact, all lines run from the mast through the bridge deck under the floor to the aft and can be effortlessly operated here using the electric Harken Performa winches. Which brings us to today’s goal: sailing!

THIS IS HOW SAILING LOOKS SIMPLE!

Since the R5 is being prepared for a round-the-world trip today, we switch to its smaller sister, the R4. This yacht has the standard layout and so the sliding door is further forward. That offers a large sheltered aft deck with outdoor terrace and a smaller saloon. Everything else on board is true to the VAAN design, just one size smaller than on the R5. Both electric motors push us gently humming out of the harbor. Remco Immink demonstrates that docking and sailing away with this ship without bow thrusters is problem-free. When both propellers turn in opposite directions, the yacht literally maneuvers around its own axis. Once offshore, the expanded and battened Quantum Sails mainsail goes up electrically, and thus without problems. The turning jib also rolls out easily. Today we encounter ideal conditions on the Haringvliet. 12.5 knots of sea wind and a few knots more near the dike. In these conditions the VAAN easily sails 6.5 knots and in a gust a knot more. The direct steering feels natural and any correction provides a quick response. Even the tack maneuvers are flawless. This is how sailing looks simple! According to Igor, even better performance is possible with the optional folding keels (2 meters) instead of these standard keels of 1.20 meters. Back in port, we inspect the “garages” in both wide aft decks of the hulls. Here there is plenty of storage space for storing ‘toys’, diving gear, electric bicycles and even a 2.5-meter dinghy, with empty hulls, fits in easily.

SUMMARY

The VAAN concept is already proving to be a success story. Nominations for major awards have already brought this new brand much international interest. Now that the first R4 and the first R5 are sailing around, that interest will only increase. According to the yard, all the interested “prospects” are experienced sailors, which means that the transition from monohulls to multihulls is becoming more commonplace. Meanwhile, we saw that another new R4 is already hard at work in the yard, another R5 and several R4s are in the order books, and VAAN has announced an R6 for the near future. We look forward to it with great interest.

CAPTIONS

– The VAAN R5 is made in part from recycled traffic signs, license plates and frames.

– On board, cork is used instead of the familiar teak.

– The VAAN R5 has a sleek L-shaped kitchen.

– On board, one imagines oneself in a modern apartment.

– The minimalist interior fits right into a design magazine.

– The direct steering makes sailing almost simple!

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