The first Sichterman was launched in May 2019 to its owner Ruud van Hilst. This lifelong sailor spoke to us about his passion for open water, and the leap he took from sailing vessels to luxury motor yachts.
Can you tell us something about your background in sailing?
“I come from a long history of sailing. For over 35 years, I sailed and competed in various round and flat-bottomed competitions with a Lemsteraak. Alongside that, I sailed in the international 8-meter competition all over the world. After becoming world champion with my ship, the Hollandia, for 6 years in a row, I decided that it had been enough. It was time for something new.”
What made you decide to quit sailing?
“For mainly three reasons. First of all, I missed the challenge of sailing competitions. Second of all, I’ve become a little older. Sailing is hard work and I wanted to be able to relax a bit more on the water. Third, my wife loves being on the water and to travel with a boat, but isn’t a sailor. These three factors made us expand our horizon.” .
“I got information from a lot of parties, but most of them just didn’t feel right.”
So, how did you end up at Sichterman Yachts?
“Like many things in life, that was a bit of a coincidence. I was a longtime customer of Workumer Yacht Services (WYS), and got to talk to Jelle, the front man of WYS, about motor yachts. According to Jelle, a lot of sailors that were looking for something else, came to him to talk about motor yachts. I thought to myself, I might be someone like that as well. Jelle showed me some possibilities and I drove home enthusiastic. This was in the summer of 2016.”
What happened after that first talk with Jelle?
“I started researching the motor yacht industry, a world that I knew relatively little of compared to sailing. I got information from a lot of parties, but most of them just didn’t feel right. The aesthetics and the possibility to actually live on the yachts were often below par. If you want to sail from the seas of Russia to the Mediterranean Sea, it’s a necessity to have a boat that is absolutely seaworthy.
So, after extensive search I came back to where I started. At the WYS wharf, at Sichterman. I told Jelle about my specific wishes and the design and build of the boat could start.”
“As a man who always sailed sailing vessels, it was quite a big leap to acquire a luxury yacht, but so far I’m very happy with my decision”
Are there elements in the Sichterman that were taken from the sailing world?
“Of course I wanted Sichterman to create a yacht that has the best of both worlds. For instance, in sailing, safety is of the utmost importance. I noticed in a lot of motor yachts that the gangways were so small or unpractical that you would have to crawl to get to the front deck. Sichterman yachts are designed with broad gangways that enable you to comfortably walk around the ship.
You already knew WYS, but Sichterman consists of more parties. Van Oossanen Naval Architects and Cor D. Roover both play an important role in the development of the ship as well. What do you think of them?
“I already knew Van Oossanen from the flat bottom sailing competitions, because he builds superfast Aken. He really turned that whole competition upside down, so I knew about the quality of his work. Cor D. Roover I didn’t know, but I immediately liked his design so I’m very happy he’s also on board.”
What are some features that make this such a comfortable boat to travel with?
“Well, the Sichterman team put as many [comfortable] features as possible in this relatively small yacht. Many of these are usually only used in bigger super yachts, such as an aggregate, a watermaker and a seakeeper.
On top of that, every detail is beautifully finished. A good example is the exquisite wood that’s been used on deck and on the walls. We meant to put art on the walls, but decided to leave them empty after we first saw the end result.
Another factor that made us choose Sichterman, is the service and boat management program. This assures that I can focus on what I love to do: sailing and exploring the world on water.”