DS 45 — By Capt. Bill Pike — October 2000
|Part 2: Linssen DS 45 continued|
The dashboard layout was a sea-savvy one, except that the wheel obscured the tab indicators. To starboard were smooth, definitively detented Volvo Penta electronic engine controls, and to port, tab rockers and a Simrad VHF. VDO tachs and oil-pressure and other gauges were prioritized above a midlevel bank of flush-mounted, top-shelf electronics that included a Furuno CRT radar, Northstar 951X GPS/plotter, Robertson AP2000 autopilot, and a Raytheon ST-60 fluxgate compass. A Ritchie magnetic compass topped the helm layout for redundancy’s sake.
I deployed the push-button convertible top to check its ease of operation, then retracted it into the leading edge of the aluminum radar arch. Took only about a minute. Linssen has been installing the patented Variotop on its steel vessels for years. Its structural components are beefy, and its fabric is both rugged and insulated to allow efficient air conditioning of the helm.
VA-VA-VOOM! Driving the 45 in open water was like ballin’ the jack on smooth tarmac in a big, convertible car with the top down. Virtually flat seas contributed to this, but other factors figured in as well. Sightlines, for instance, were excellent. And while coming out of the hole, I never once had to crane my neck to see ahead. With the boat on plane, Teleflex SeaStar steering hydraulics made handling a breeze, although the turning radius was broad, a deep-V quirk Ross plans to address with larger, sharper-turning rudders. And finally, as a result of the sound-attenuation work of Dutch firm SilentLine, sound levels were exceptionally low at the helm: 74 dB-A at 2250 rpm (65 is the level of normal conversation).
SilentLine’s system is complex. So that the mains can be mounted on special, vibration-absorbing isolators, intermediary Dutch-made Centa bearings absorb all propulsive thrust. Prop shafts are double flex-coupled and encased in hydraulically lubricated stern tubes to further reduce vibration and sound. There’s thermal and acoustic insulation throughout the hull and superstructure, and not only is the entire engine room encased in 15 layers of sound-deadening Melamine foam surfaced with Hylite perforated aluminum, but also all nonintegral parts, from pumps to loose panels, are isolated on resilient pads.
Once the sea trial was over and we’d returned dockside, Ross and I spent the rest of the morning examining other sublimities, starting with the machinery spaces beneath the hinged cockpit step. I found a couple of clever check-valve devices there that made a big impression. Plumbed into the fuel-tank vent lines, they keep fumes corralled and thus nix the eau d’diesel odor common to most diesel-powered boats. Then there was the pair of welded-aluminum day tanks aft. Thanks to cross-connected solenoid valve between them, fuel is automatically prevented from draining to the low side during heel.
The simple beauty of the 45’s two-stateroom/two-head American cherry interior speaks for itself in the photos here. Designed by Italian Roberto del Re, it’s on par styling-wise with just about any custom-build in America, and as precisely finished. Construction is first-rate as well. Essentially, it consists of a hull-deck-superstructure cored with Baltek end-grain balsa from the waterline up and strengthened with all-glass longitudinals, transverse ring frames, and glassed-in, watertight bulkheads. The hull and deck are joined at the bulwarks (under the teak caprail) via bolts and a glass-encapsulated aluminum backing band. To obviate blistering, two layers of isophthalic gelcoat are applied to the bottom, which is laid up without gelcoat to ensure a nonporous surface, followed by three layers of CeramKote 54, a pricey ceramic with low frictional resistance and permeability.
My last glimpse of the DS 45 was from a spot just above Estavayer’s stone jetties. With the test complete and lunch in the offing, Ross and I had rejoined Shead and Linssen on the terrace of the Hotel du Lac, yet another eatery with enough elegance to complement the 45 and her $937,500 price tag. Along came our test boat, heading back to sea with the indefatigable Suntjens at the helm and a troop of prospective buyers at his side. Amidst a whir of motoring sloops, buzzing skiffs, and rumbling power cruisers, the 45 stood out on two major counts. First of all, her patrolboat styling was as gutsy as it was glamorous. And the second count?
"Blimey," Shead said, "You can’t even hear her engines!"
Linssen Yachts Phone: (914) 235-9000. Fax: (914) 235-9089. www.linssenyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.