It may look el­e­gant as ever, but a new fo­cus on af­ford­abil­ity means that fa­mous Dutch build qual­ity is open to an even big­ger au­di­ence

Motorboat & Yachting - - Boat Test - Words Jack Haines

Though from the out­side it may not look like it, the Grand Sturdy 35.0 Sedan is a brand new model in the Linssen range. The idea be­hind this new Dot Zero brand is to de­liver Linssen’s rep­u­ta­tion for high-qual­ity steel cruis­ing boats but at a slightly more com­pet­i­tive price point – hence why the 35.0 falls nicely in line with our the­o­ret­i­cal £250,000 bud­get and of­fers some­thing en­tirely dif­fer­ent from the other two boats on our list. It isn’t a rad­i­cal de­par­ture from pre­vi­ous Linssens, but when Linssen is to in­land cruis­ing boats what Hoover is to vac­uum clean­ers, why would you change it? Its boats de­fine the cat­e­gory, and Linssen is fine with that.

This is the week­end cot­tage, the home away from home, a boat that will com­fort­ably look af­ter a cou­ple for a two or three-week cruise. The 35.0 comes in Sedan or Aft Cabin vari­ants and we’ve opted for the Sedan as it’s the best-value model in this new range. The two ver­sions are iden­ti­cal from the gal­ley for­ward but the AC re­places the Sedan’s well-pro­tected aft cock­pit with a dou­ble en­suite cabin. The two deck lay­outs make the choice easy de­pend­ing on whether you need sleep­ing space or sin­gle-level liv­ing, and it’s telling that in re­cent times, the split of AC to Sedan ver­sions sold has bal­anced up from 75/25 to around 65/35.

It’s a hand­some lit­tle thing in Sedan form, bristling with tra­di­tional charm from the cream hull and full bow sec­tions to the rope fend­er­ing draped like a neck­lace around the boat’s

perime­ter. If looks come into the equa­tion at all, the Sedan is the sweeter look­ing of the two and avoids the top-heavy lines of the AC and its pram-hood-like canopies.

It’s a de­light­fully easy boat to crew, lend­ing it­self to year-round use thanks to wide, safe side decks and hand­holds ev­ery­where. Its shut-the-door-and-turn-the-key ethos al­lows the owner to notch up the heat­ing and en­joy a winter pic­nic just as read­ily as open­ing up the cock­pit doors and op­tional man­ual sun­roof on a warm sum­mer’s day. If longer cruises are more your style then the 35.0 is ready for those, too. For its size, it has an ex­tra­or­di­nary amount of deck stor­age, from the usual lock­ers be­neath the cock­pit seat­ing to a vast lazarette in the cock­pit and an ex­cel­lent dry stor­age area be­neath the sa­loon, com­plete with au­to­matic light­ing and built-in trays to or­gan­ise tools or sup­plies.

The gal­ley isn’t for show on a boat of this type so there is a three-burner gas hob and fit-out for an oven, so you can retro­fit one later even if you don’t think you’ll need it from new. Stor­age, again, is in abun­dance with even the shal­low cup­board built into the helm seat base adapted into a spice rack.

The Sedan is a sin­gle-cabin boat but there is a so­lu­tion for

oc­ca­sional guests that sees the dinette ta­ble slide out of the way to leave space to ex­tend a rea­son­ably gen­er­ous bed set­tee. It would be a bit of a squeeze for adults, and guests have nowhere to store bags or clothes, but for oc­ca­sional guests it’s use­ful to have.

The owner’s cabin pri­ori­tises a larger, more com­fort­able bed over floor space in which to get dressed, which, on bal­ance, is prob­a­bly more valu­able on a boat that is most likely to be used by a cou­ple. There isn’t space to in­clude hang­ing stor­age in the cabin though, so clothes have to go in a wardrobe just aft of the bath­room – again, not a prob­lem if there’s just the two of you.

The helm sta­tion keeps things very sim­ple, the ef­fect even more stark on our test boat, which didn’t even have a chart­plot­ter. With­out that, all there is to fill the dash is Ray­ma­rine’s sim­ple depth mon­i­tor and dig­i­tal com­pass and the ana­logue rev counter oddly mounted on the flat part of the dash ad­ja­cent to the throt­tle.

The leather helm seat has a good amount of ad­just­ment so it’s easy to pull your­self closer to the large steer­ing wheel and tac­tile Morse throt­tle. There’s some­thing about click­ing that red-topped throt­tle lever in and out of gear that is so proper and it com­ple­ments the boat’s time­less charm per­fectly. This be­ing a sin­gle-screw dis­place­ment craft, there is some mod­ern trick­ery to help you in and out of tight berths, specif­i­cally a stan­dard bow thruster and op­tional stern thruster gutsy enough to ex­tract you from the stick­i­est close-quar­ter sit­u­a­tions.

The sin­gle 75hp Volvo Penta D2 chugs away gamely be­neath the sa­loon, soon melt­ing into the back­ground as you pick up the com­fort­able cruis­ing speed of around 6 knots. Push the revs and you will top out at just over 8 knots but it’s best to keep them down and en­joy the peace and quiet. It’s not like some of the larger Linssen mod­els where you have to check the cool­ing ducts to know if the en­gine is even run­ning, but re­fine­ment is still might­ily im­pres­sive con­sid­er­ing the en­gine is mounted be­low the sa­loon floor.

The test boat didn’t have real-time fuel mon­i­tor­ing avail­able and Linssen is yet to take a full set of its own fig­ures, but the yard says that at its 6-knot cruis­ing speed, the 35.0 will con­sume a miserly 7lph.

It’s not a boat that you buy to blast from point to point; it makes the jour­ney as much a part of the trip as your fi­nal des­ti­na­tion. You will find your­self us­ing the gal­ley on the move and ven­tur­ing on to the decks, hence why that safe­ty­first at­ti­tude to de­sign is so im­por­tant.

On long, slow pas­sages, the boat’s tidy track­ing is wel­come as it soon be­comes tire­some to make tiny ad­just­ments to the wheel dur­ing pas­sages on wind­ing in­land routes where you can’t sim­ply set the au­topi­lot.

The Linssen ham­mers home our point so well as it couldn’t be more dif­fer­ent from the other two boats in our group. That is the beauty of buy­ing a boat – the sheer va­ri­ety. Where the XO and Sea Ray de­liver thrills and per­for­mance, the Linssen al­lows you to ex­plore for weeks on end in com­fort­able sur­round­ings that are more akin to a water­side prop­erty than a boat.

Con­tact Boat Show­rooms. Tel: +44 (0)1932 260261. Web: www.linsseny­

You’re un­likely to find more liv­ing space on any other 35-footer

All the com­forts of home in­clud­ing a gas hob, fridge and do­mes­tic-sized kitchen sink

The Linssen has ex­cel­lent stor­age fa­cil­i­ties

The cock­pit is large, ex­tremely safe and well pro­tected from the el­e­ments

The for­ward mas­ter cabin is per­fect for cou­ples want­ing a home from home Even the heads has its own open­ing porthole and stor­age lock­ers

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