DS 45 — By Capt. Bill Pike
— October 2000
|A European builder of steel motoryachts, Linssen debuts a fiberglass beauty with avant-garde features.|
Okay, so maybe Switzerland’s an odd place to introduce a Dutch-built, Brit-designed, soon-to-be-marketed-in-America, offshore performance cruiser like the Linssen DS 45. But the alpine scenery around Estavayer-le-Lac is spectacular, Lake Neuchatel is almost oceanic in its vastness, and there are scads of beachfront restaurants, one of which I was taken to immediately after my arrival from the States.
A salty bunch joined me. To my left sat Jos Linssen, a builder of elegant steel motoryachts from Maasbracht, Holland, who with the 45’s scenic intro, is pushing his yard’s expertise into the realm of fiberglass. To his left was Andre Suntjens, employee, sidekick, and test driver, who would later display an astonishing level of maritime dexterity by steering the 45 (while I recorded acceleration data on my laptop), hand-rolling a cigarette, and talking on the VHF–all at the same time. To my right sat Jim Ross, sales rep for the 45 in the States.
Don Shead sat across from me. A two-fisted offshore racer turned yacht designer, the tall, rumpled Englishman was the unrivaled life of the party, not least of all because his passion for things fast and flamboyant burns as hot today as it did four decades ago, at the start of his legendary career. He enthused about the 45’s more obvious charms, among them her bold, military-looking exterior, a departure from the sleek curvaceousness of the Sunseekers he’s best known for these days. Then he discussed a few less noticeable tricks and tweaks he’d incorporated into the boat’s 22-degree, deep-V running surface, explicating with a pencil and a scale model he’d brought for the purpose.
Propeller pockets came first. A collaboration between Shead and the hydrodynamics department of Rotterdam’s Delft Technical University (which did extensive tank testing on the project), the 45’s pockets are shaped not only to nozzle water flow for increased thrust at low rpm, but to empty partially beyond 2200 rpm, thereby aerating the props and boosting speeds via a surface-piercing effect. Another feature Shead hit upon was the sophistication of the props themselves. High-skew 23"x29" five- bladers from Teignbridge, they’re designed to significantly reduce vibration and noise. Shead’s last bit of fervor zeroed in on the downward flare or "wedge" at the aft end of the running surface. Thanks to its complex shape, it generates the stern lift necessary for an optimum running angle and provides the landing recesses for the tabs and optional, teak-planked transom that electrically swings flat to create a cockpit-sole extension.
The next morning, while Shead and Linssen met to discuss a flying bridge version of the 45, the rest of us boarded the prototype for some boat testing. I began by getting comfortable at the helm, thanks to a push-button, double-wide seat that adjusts vertically via a scissors-type jacking mechanism of heavy stainless steel and horizontally via tracks of the same material. A sculpted stainless steel, multilevel footrest, solidly affixed to the teak and holly sole, finished out the arrangement.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.