10 February 2015
10 February 2015
Do you own a boat? Why not? Too messy? Too expensive? That is what Stephan Boden thought when he sat down with two yacht designers, Alexander Vrolijk and Jan Kuhnert to discuss his project to construct a new and modern folk boat – racy, but still affordable. The result is Bente 24, an innovative prototype model now awaiting a commercial builder.
“The industry is outdated”, said Stephan Boden, the father of the project. “Many young sailors never make the leap from a dinghy to a cruiser. They consider the bigger boats too big and too expensive. I wanted to design a small, fast sailing ship that would be racy but affordable. Simple and inexpensive, yet very seaworthy”
The 47-year-old Hamburger met with Alexander Vrolijk and Jan Kuhnert, two yacht designers at Judel/Vrolijk in Bremerhaven, Germany, who immediately warmed to his idea. By chance the trio later met Professor Michael Adlkofer, from the University of Hanover, Germany. He gave them the crazy idea to make the project a student assignment. Using concepts from the papers presented to them, along with suggestions from social media, the crafting of Bente 24 began.
“Sailing is a fun sport, but very often it is not presented like that. We wanted to change it, so we published the whole development of Bente in blogs, news portals and on Facebook. Bente is not only a boat, it’s an event.” Boden said. “Within an hour, its Facebook group had 500 followers. Now more than 20,000 people are following the project.”
“The same with the building of the prototype; when we found the shipyard of our dreams, we came up with the idea to show the construction work in public, using a webcam”, and so Bente’s construction went live every day.
A prototype of Bente 24 was first shown at the Hamburg International Boat Show (hanseboot) in October 2014. The stand proved to be a real crowd puller. The three initiators of the project attracted a lot of interest from visitors and industry representatives, and reported on what were sometimes heated discussions on the further development of Bente.
The boat itself is 7.55 metres long and quite purist. Built in DIAB’s Divinycell HM80, it is very light, yet exceptionally stable and sails quickly and easily. There is still no shipyard that will build it, but, according to DIAB, there are many prospects who want to participate as investors. When commercially available, Bente 24 is thought to cost around €30,000. “Maybe within a year a first real Bente is actually floating” concluded Stephan Boden.
Photo provided by DIAB
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