Yacht Class n°18 (sept-oct-nov 2019)
Yes, Dutch shipyards are, for the most part, entitled to boast about their know-how, especially in terms of quality. And Mulder is no exception, as we easily acknowledged during a day of navigation, off Naples, on the Mulder ThirtySix. Indeed, this unit was quick to reveal all her assets.
Written by: Alain Brousse – Photos: All rights reserved
Much to our chagrin, we had to wait for two years to test this 36 metre. But patience is a virtue, a fortiori when it comes to a model from the Netherlands, and especially when her name is Mulder, like the 81-year-old shipyard, led by Dirk Mulder and his son Nick (see box). A company that has never deviated from its trajectory: building units with quality at all levels. In this respect, they further confirm the reputation of the Dutch shipyards. The 36 metre is actually the largest model of a family that consists of two “Lobster” hard-top, the Favorite 1500 and 1700, one 23-metres-long Dutch trawler, a 28 m flybridge and finally this 36 metre, named Calypso. She was waiting for us in the Marina di Stabia, at about ten kilometres south of Naples. On board, the captain and his crew were slightly tense as they were preparing to set sail within forty-eight hours for a week’s charter. Our arrival could not have happened at a better time, as it gave them the opportunity to do some training.
May there be silence!
After the usual introductions, the captain turned on the two Caterpillar diesels (2 x 1 150 hp), while we headed for the flybridge helm. First surprise, there is no steering wheel. The owner actually opted for a five-centimetre lever, placed on the horizontal part of the dashboard, which is actually just as, if not more, handy. To be honest, leaving the harbour did not require much attention: only one push forward and a 90-degree turn were required before we set sail to Sorrente and then to the famous Amalfi coast, all within reach of the wonderful island of Capri. Unfortunately, no time for these magical spots, as we were focused on the performance of this hull designed by a very famous naval architecture studio: Van Oossanen, known for its collaboration with Heesen, among others. Her displacement hull was designed for all seas but also, to offer good performance, with a propulsion that could not be more traditional: two Caterpillar CAT C18 diesels, coupled with classic shaft lines. We immediately commended the work carried out to ensure the lack of vibrations and a more than reasonable sound level. Thus, at the recommended cruising speed of 12 knots (1 600 rpm), our monitoring device displayed 51 decibels – practically no perceptible noise – and even less in the open plan main deck and in the master: 48,8 dBA! An excellent performance that Dirk Robert Mulder still intends to improve on future models. We are obviously dealing with a perfectionist. Another detail that will please “miles eaters”: thanks to a consumption of 70 litres per hour and engine at 12 knots, this 36 metre can cover 2 430 miles without refuelling. At 10 knots, she can cross the Atlantic from the Azores to Florida (range: 3 000 miles). Yet, she can also hit a top speed of 16 knots, slightly less than the yard’s figures (16.9 knots), which may have been caused by a few micro-organisms on the hull and a full load on the day of our test. As for the hull’s behaviour, unfortunately we only were able to assess her ease in a series of turns since the Mediterranean was flat calm. She is reactive and easy to handle, no doubt about it.
Her flybrige is a charmer
The profile of the Mulder ThirtySix is a subtle balance between an open hard-top and a trendy unit, combining seriousness and quality. With her plumb bow, she inspires confidence thanks to the exterior design studio Claydon Reeves, a London-based British company. The particularly massive deckhouse can be converted into a large sunbed while, forward, the rather small technical area accommodates a settee. But clearly the ideal spot for “farniente” in the open air is the flybridge of about 50 m2, accessible via the wheelhouse or by a staircase on the starboard walkway. Sunbathing aficionados will be delighted by its jacuzzi surrounded by a sunbed, concealing storage spaces, and a bar (counter and stools). A second bar has been fitted on portside. The roof (a glazed one is an option) provides shade to the two vis-a-vis lounges and to the dining room table. From the flybridge, we head down directly to the half-deck housing the main wheelhouse, where the visibility is good on over 200-degree. In its centre, a particularly ergonomic electrically adjustable armchair facing a five-screen dashboard, provides the essential comfort for long cruises. This place also features a saloon and a seating area for the passengers curious to see how is steered such a unit that requires vigilance on an almost permanent basis. Indeed, the sea is not a desert, especially on the eve of summer, and when it comes to alarms, there is nothing like the professional eye of a captain with a 3 000 certificate.
An award for the master
A quick glance at the Mulder’s cockpit shows that it looks a priori like many others on units of this size, with three major details: the top of its transom is glazed (guaranteed sea view), there is a passage between the latter and the back of the U-shaped sofa that will quickly prove to be very useful, especially for crew members, and finally the “partition” separating it from the interior saloon, is entirely glazed. An asset obvious from inside as it offers a generous sea view, which is now one of the things expected on a yacht… The space on the main deck captures as much daylight as possible and consequently conceals little or nothing of the outside. With the “bar on board” concept (two on the flybridge) dear to the owner, it will come as no surprise to see a third one between the living and the dining area. It is slightly artistic but not as much as the partition separating this area from the main galley, decorated with a very stylized old sailboat plan. Another “key room” is the master suite on the forward part of the foredeck. Frankly, it deserves praise for both its ergonomics and its decoration, enhanced by abundant natural lighting thanks to the side glazing and the skylight ceiling. We envy the Mulder’s owner… but also his guests, who were not left behind. Indeed, the lower deck accommodates a spacious VIP and two twins totally in line with the general decoration: light colours based on off-white, bleached oak and dark walnut.
We left this Mulder ThirtySix with the certainty that we navigated on a successful unit the yard and its managers have every reason to be proud of. Let’s hope the future will bring us more Mulder of the same calibre.
Dirk Robert & Nick Mulder
1938: creation of the shipyard in the Netherlands, which quickly produced canoes and small sailboats. It’s only in 1953 that the founder Dirk Mulder, launched his first motorboat, a 7.5 m named “The Baby Favorite”. 30 years later, Dirk handed the yard to his son Dirk Robert, who was then 22. He dreamed big and pictured models of 15 metres and over. He opted for the flybridge category with a 22 metre (1998). At the beginning of the third millennial, he focused on the “lobster” style: open hard-tops with a vintage look without dismissing habitable units of 20 metre and over. Now, the yard, located since 2013 in Zoeterwoude-Rijndijk, close to The Hague, can produce models up to 45 metres. It is headed by Dirk Robert Mulder and his son Nick, both equally passionate.