The VanDutch 40 is described as a modern design incorporating advanced technology. With its axe-sharp bow, angular lines and low, raked windshield, the VanDutch 40 stands out. All that may be so, but it’s also one of the coolest boats I have ever tested. The fact that it is built to exacting standards and has exceptional performance and handling attributes is a bonus.
Driving out from The Spit Marina on Sydney Harbour, the first impression was that I was in a big runabout that was just waiting for me to punch the throttles once I got past the 5 knot zone. This beast was ready to go and after a few minutes of idle speed I did just that. Pushing the throttles to the dash, I steered straight out towards Sydney Heads. Passing the Manly Ferry I could feel the envious eyes of the afternoon commuters looking at us as we effortlessly crossed the wake and cruised past at nearly 40 knots. No white caps but enough swell to lift the VanDutch 40 hull almost clear at speed. It felt so good I could have carried on to New Zealand….well maybe not quite that far! Although the boat was fitted with Humphree interceptor tabs I never actually adjusted them. Actually they were in a difficult place to reach and adjust at speed so I left them alone. The VanDutch 40 sat so well on the water as we headed into the swell at the entrance to Sydney Harbour that it didn’t seem to matter anyway.
With the throttles wide open the speedo on the Raymarine E120 indicated 37.5 knots, which I was told by Dennis Van Damme, Sydney agent for the VanDutch range of boats, was a few knots shy of the best speed when the boat was first in the water with a clean bottom.
Turning and running back with a following sea the VanDutch 40 just lapped it up. I found it an extremely easy boat to drive, with positive response to the helm and the hull did everything I asked of it. Obviously you don’t really want to run at maximum rpm all day, so with the tachos on 2000rpm we dropped back to a comfortable cruise speed around 23 knots.
Even at wide open throttle it was no problem carrying on a normal conversation, with the engine noise minimal and the raked screen doing a great job of keeping the wind over your head. Around the helm area was remarkably quiet for an open boat of this size.
This was certainly fast enough for Sydney Harbour as we dodged around the ferries and pleasure boats that no matter what time of the day, seem to pack the Harbour. Coming from doing most of my boating on the Hauraki Gulf, Sydney Harbour never fails to impress me with its totally different and diverse boating style. It is this style that the VanDutch is ideally suited to. I can just see it being moored on a private jetty someplace like Vaucluse, Point Piper or Double Bay.
The VanDutch 40 is offered with three different twin diesel engine Yanmar packages. Traditionally it has only been the Yanmar 6BY260s (260hp) or 6LY3-ETP (480hp), but now available is the new 4.46 litre V8, twin turbo’d 8LV offering 370hp.
Top speed with a pair of Yanmar 260s is around 34 knots.
Powering our boat was a pair of Yanmar 480hp engines through conventional shafts with high efficiency VEEM propellers, running in specially designed tunnels. This ensures a unique and near horizontal running angle. At slow speeds and while docking, manoeuvring is simplified by the boat’s Easy Manoeuvring System (EMS), which combines standard, joystick-controlled bow and stern thrusters. Access to the engines with the hatch open is exceptional and there is still space available for optional accessories such as a genset.
A V-Drive arrangement of the engines has been chosen for the VanDutch 40. This results in optimal use of the available space and the centre of gravity of the VanDutch 40 is as much aft as possible, in order to increase speed and reduce fuel consumption.
Designer Frank Mulder is responsible for the overall design of the VanDutch range from the high speed sea keeping hull shape to the eye catching exterior. This is a 40 footer that stands out from the crowd.
The driving position is very versatile, either seated or standing, with multiple seat and footrest settings to suit different height drivers. Seated, the wrap around tinted acrylic screen affords perfect wind protection and if you want the breeze in your hair then stand up and you are looking over the heavy stainless rail. This was certainly my favoured position during the test on Sydney Harbour as the 27°C heat pounded us in the open cockpit without the bimini up. The soft top bimini is easy to fit and only takes a few minutes to erect.
The dash is kept clean and functional, with a single 12″ Raymarine C120W screen, controls for the thrusters, autopilot and multi function indicators and Teleflex controls. I did however find the instruments not easy to read when seated, due to the flat angle of the dash. Interestingly the helm is on the port side, something we don’t see a lot of these days, with most manufacturers favouring starboard helm locations. There is also a large fridge unit under the helm base.
Let’s be honest, this is not a boat that you’d want to pull a fish aboard, a crab pot or plan to spend a few weeks away on. There are no live bait tanks or rod holders and it doesn’t have a three-cabin, two-bathroom and U-shaped galley layout. This is a party boat….period!
The cockpit layout is such that all it needs is some Vogue models resplendent in form fitting swimsuits spread across the aft lounge. Okay, so maybe that’s just a dream, but the three-squab lounge across the transom is a great area for sun lovers. This also doubles as the engine hatch. Alongside is a nicely concealed fresh water shower, with the fixed full width transom platform making an ideal place to rinse off. A neatly hidden away drop-down ladder makes getting back aboard after a swim so easy.
Other seating is provided from a large forward lounger to starboard, a bench seat to port, plus a double helm seat. A starboard side high/low table with built-in drink-holders is the only cockpit table provided. There is also an extra seat cushion covering the small cockpit galley/wet bar, which conceals a single burner ceramic hob, plus a stainless sink unit with hot/cold water. It’s more than enough to heat up the prawns or hot canapés. Deep storage lockers in the cockpit sole and side coamings take care of a lot of your gear. Even with all this, there is still loads of working space to party and then of course there is the cabin area.
Let there be White
Inside is very ultra modern, with a stark white finish on everything from the wall panels to the upholstery, vanity tops and table. You can have any colour you like as long as it is white.
There is room for eight people around the hydraulically lifted table that can effortlessly be transformed into a very spacious bed. LED lighting and surround sound helps establish a convivial mood and presents a very inviting atmosphere. The forward bulkhead mirror can be changed into a large flat screen TV with the click of a button. When you shut off the TV all you see is the mirror. More cool! Natural ventilation comes from two deck hatches, but then there is the air conditioning to make it even cooler or warmer to suit.
Storage is provided under the squabs as well as in a starboard cabinet that incorporates a small hanging locker, cupboard, fridge and drawers. Above is the storage for the coffee machine and a convection microwave oven.
Opposite the galley is the reasonably generous head compartment with a hand held shower, composite vanity top and storage above and below. While you have all the amenities you need to stay aboard overnight or even longer, this is unquestionably not what the VanDutch 40 is really designed for.
The minimalistic 40’s deck is made of Esthec, an environmentally friendly alternative to teak. There are no bowrails forward, or visible cleats, as this would detract from the boat’s sleek lines. Everything on deck is flush mounted; eight cleats which are a work of art themselves, riding lights, twin forward hatches and the entire anchoring system, bollard, fairlead and all. The stainless steel plough anchor is mounted on a hydraulic fold-out fairlead that rises above the deck when required and is operated with an electric all-chain winch. It’s only when in use that anything pops up above the deck. Another cool!
The challenge for the builders, Vanguard Dutch Marine, was to build a yacht that was light as well as strong, fast as well as economical. To realise this, the hull and deck are constructed in composite sandwich, using vacuum-injection, resulting in a stiff and light boat. In strategic areas the hull is reinforced with Kevlar.
The VanDutch range is built in Northern Holland and carries the Dutch heritage for the utmost quality, from the finish and design of the hull to the exceptional attention to detail of things as small as cleats or the hidden anchoring system. There is nowhere on the boat that hasn’t been considered for either its practicality or its style. The VanDutch 40 is not alone, with the V30, V55 and V755 models also available in the growing family. Interestingly, all are based on the same axe bow, low and sleek open cockpit profile which has already proven to be a winner for the brand, especially around the Med. Will it become a boat for the likes of Sydney Harbour or the Whitsundays? Only time will tell.
It may not be your everyday Aussie or Kiwi boat, but this is a seriously cool day cruiser that stands out from the crowd whether it’s tied up in the marina or cruising on the harbour. It will not be hard to find at SCIBS or SIBS, just follow the crowd. Potential local buyers will have to be well heeled to afford such a boat as it comes with a $A825,000 / $NZ1m price tag. If I win lotto I might just have to trade in my runabout.
- Design name: VanDutch 40
- Boat name: Coco Noir
- Builder: VanDutch Marine Ltd.
- Shipyard: Zaadnoordijk Yachtbuilders, NL
- Country of origin: Holland
- Designer: Frank Mulder
- Year launched: 2011
- LOA: 12.30m
- LOH: 11.98m
- Beam: 3.50m
- Draft: 0.8m
- Displacement: 8.9 tonnes
- Max speed on test: 37.5 knots
- Cruise speed: 24 knots
- Fuel capacity: 870 litres
- Water capacity: 115 litres
- Construction: Sandwich construction/Kevlar
- Classification: B – CE
- Engines make: twin 480hp Yanmar diesels
- Gearboxes: Yanmar
- Drive train: Shafts and tunnels
- Propellers: VEEM
- Inverter: Mastervolt
- Battery charger: Mastervolt
- Air conditioning: Webasto
- Bow thruster: MaxPower
- Stern thruster: MaxPower
- Trim tabs: QL interceptors
- Lighting: LED
- Underwater lights: LED
- Engine controls: Teleflex
- Instruments: Yanmar digital
- Paint (topsides): AWL Grip
- Deck hatches: Oceanair
- Upholstery: Leather / Silvertex Vinyl
- Entertainment sys: Mirror with a TV / DVD system
- Autopilot: Raymarine C120W
- GPS/plotter: Raymarine C120W
- Depth sounder: Raymarine C120W
- VHF: Raymarine
- Base price: $A825,000