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First look: Vaan R4 – Yachting World

A recyclable electrical catamaran constructed from recycled alloys and designed for sailors. Is the brand new Vaan R4 a imaginative and prescient of the long run, asks Sam Fortescue?

Even when Vaan’s debut boat had not been the one catamaran moored to the traditional brickwork of the canal at Hellevoetsluis, there would have been no mistaking this fascinating boat. With its smooth silvery ‘spoiler’ arch, open cockpit and sculpted hull, the Vaan R4 is an actual headturner.

The impression is greater than pores and skin deep. Vaan’s 12.8m debut mannequin is constructed to be as sustainable as attainable, with a hull in virtually solely recycled aluminum and a bunch of upcycled or naturally-sourced inside supplies in addition. Fairly merely, the R4 is not like some other catamaran I have been aboard. It’s neither testosterone-laden flyer, nor buxom household caravan, groaning with mod-cons. It is a catamaran designed for those who actually benefit from the feeling of crusing – a little bit of heel, a burst of acceleration and a helming place that places you near the water.

“We constructed this boat additionally for monohull sailors,” says Vaan founder Igor Kluin. “We wished to create a crusing sensation.” He gestures me over to the massive aft lockers the place the steering gear may be seen. Sturdy Jefa direct linkage gears join the dual helms to the rudders. “No hydraulics or wires to get in the best way. There’s actual suggestions.”

And it is true. Out of the wind shadow of the low coast, we get 10, then 12 and 14 knots of true wind, pushing the boat to a day’s better of 8 knots. OK, we’re heading downwind with the massive black gennaker pulling laborious, however there’s loads of info popping out of the helm.

Glossy and classy silvery coachroof arch makes the Vaan R4
stand out from the gang. Photograph: Vaan Yachts

My crew of three makes brief work of snuffing and reducing the gennaker, then unfurling the jib to tack again upwind. With one of many Netherlands’ most storied dinghy sailors whispering recommendation in my ear, I experiment with what this boat will do. On a course of round 50° AWA we make 4.2 knots of boat pace in 8 knots of true wind. It’s respectable, however not stellar for a catamaran. The non-compulsory longer centreboards (fastened or swing) ought to enhance pointing to windward.

Vaan R4 steering positions

Even within the chilly grey that passes for spring right here, this boat is a real pleasure to sail. And although the chilly is just not of Kluin’s making, it does elevate a legitimate level about this boat. Not like many of the ‘household’ cats in the marketplace, there is no such thing as a hefty aft extension to the coachroof – no nice sheet of gleaming white GRP overlaying the cockpit. I admire that, as a result of it seems like actual crusing, however there’s a downside. Mix this with the helms on the quarter, and you might be extra within the parts than you’d be on a Lagoon or a Fountaine-Pajot, as an example. Not uncovered, as a result of the topsides and aft railing hold you protected, whereas an non-compulsory bimini association presents shade. But when the seas had been producing spray, you’d definitely really feel it.

Fortunately there’s a answer, as Kluin factors out. “Simply transfer over right here,” he says, from the leeward helm station. Each helms have a comfortable seat that folds down out of the bulwark, supplying you with one thing akin to the angle loved by a MOD70 helm: again to the water, head turned to windward with the helm at your shoulder.

Snug fold-down helmet seat. Photograph: Vaan Yachts

Sail dealing with is nicely thought out, with the management strains all led beneath the deck to emerge at a singular V-shaped winch ‘tree’ that sprouts from the aft finish of the bridgedeck. The electrics for the lead Harken had been nonetheless ready to be linked up (the boat was six weeks off supply), so a good diploma of elbow grease was required for sail trimming. However the idea is superb. The mainsheet is fastened to a traveler up on the arch, whereas the jib is on a self-tacking system and requires only one sheet. The jib traveler observe has handbook stoppers, so you possibly can confine the sheeting angle for the self-tacker.

“I wished to construct a ship that had respectable low-wind efficiency, so that you just had been extra possible to make use of the sail as an alternative of switching on the motor,” says Kluin.

Engine hours are a giant difficulty on the R4, as a result of the boat is designed for electrical saildrives from both Oceanvolt (2 x 15kW) or Torqeedo (2 x 12kW). The usual gear consists of 22kWh of batteries – sufficient for almost an hour of motoring at full throttle, or 4 to seven hours at cruising pace. Naturally, some homeowners have opted to extend that considerably. Energy is paramount for lodge hundreds too, because the boat makes use of a Canbus system to function lights (with a backup on-off on the switchboard), induction hob and electrical cooker.

Single V-shaped winch pedestal. Photograph: Vaan Yachts

energy technology

However the Vaan can even generate energy because it goes. There may be 1,650W of excessive output, semi-flexible Solbian photo voltaic panels on the coachroof, with the choice of one other 400W on the spoiler. And Oceanvolt’s variable pitch Servoprop is able to regenerating 350W at 5 knots, and even 5kW at 10 knots – a pace it’s simply able to grazing with the large gennaker on a broad attain in 20 knots.

saloon structure is sort of plain, however aft doorways open out onto a broad, snug cockpit. Photograph: Vaan Yachts

“I’ve a background in renewable vitality,” says Kluin. “So I might all the time counsel that bluewater homeowners set up some emergency technology. It would not must be built-in – you could possibly simply use a conveyable generator for the crossing.”

Sustainability is a really real design precept for Vaan, not simply window dressing. The hull is in-built aluminium, as much as 75% of which is recycled from previous window frames and visitors indicators. The idea extends to the inside fittings, the place cork decking, linen and glassfibre wool insulation are used. Pineapple leaves even assist create a leather-based different. There isn’t any melamine or carbon on board, and the joinery is all in plywood veneer.

The port hull homes a beneficiant homeowners’ suite. Photograph: Vaan Yachts

To my eyes the saloon is just a little empty, with the galley lining one half and a settee the opposite. There’s only a small desk, so I am not stunned to listen to that some homeowners have added island items and different paraphernalia. The headline is that two of the 4 aft doorways slide open to connect with the broad, cozy cockpit. The port hull makes a beneficiant proprietor’s suite, full with ample storage, heads and bathe. To starboard, you possibly can select between a second double or a twin, and even a 3rd cabin ahead with bunks or a V-berth. Bluewater cruisers will wish to use a few of the stowage house right here for a washer, as within the first hull.

The check boat had been fitted out on the water and wasn’t solely full, so there have been some unfastened ends, however end high quality is more likely to get a lift from the approaching transfer to devoted manufacturing services.

When you loved this….

Yachting World is the world’s main journal for bluewater cruisers and offshore sailors. Each month we’ve got inspirational adventures and sensible options that can assist you notice your crusing desires.

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Vaan’s sustainable R4 marks the evolution of the catamaran in the direction of a yacht that’s genuinely enjoyable to sail, with out being racy. It presents the soundness and volumes of a multihull with dealing with extra akin to a monohull. The inside is snug with the look of a classy lodge, however Vaan has not sought to fill each cubic centimetre. Some might discover it too primary, and missing within the armchairs, wine coolers and flybridges that characterize this market. However many will admire the aesthetic – and the lighter displacement it brings. And with an aluminum hull this needs to be a ship that may take you safely into larger latitudes.


LOA:12.80m / 42ft 0in

LWL:12.75m / 41ft 11in

beam:7.06m / 24ft 11in

Displacement:10,900kg / 24,030lbs

Draft:1.30m-1.95m / 4ft 3in-6ft 5in

Sail space important:55m2 / 592ft2

Sail space jib:30m2 / 323ft2

Sail space gennaker:135m2 / 1,453ft2

Engines:2 x Torqeedo 12FP (25hp eq) or 2 x Oceanvolt SD15 (30hp eq)


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