Published: Friday, 08 March 2013
Mike Fulton

Hoek Design of the Netherlands recently announced the delivery of the first ever Pilot Classic 85 built by Dutch shipyard Aluboot for a Turkish client.  Named Windhunter, it is a spectacular vessel in its own right. Hoek Design’s ‘Pilot Classic’ concept is also currently being brought to fruition in even larger sizes in major custom builds at Royal Huisman.

The brief called for an 85-foot sailing yacht with outstanding performance, flush decks, a plumb bow for a long waterline and the ability to be sailed and maintained by a permanent crew of just two. The yacht was to be classically styled above the water, with a lifting keel that stays below the interior floorboards in order to reduce draft for marinas. Carbon spars were chosen and the yacht was to be fast in light winds and in upwind conditions.

First Pilot Classic 85 Launched By Hoek Design

Hoek Design was responsible for the naval architecture, exterior styling, interior design and workshop drawings. The Aluboot yard specialises in aluminium sailing yachts and lifting keels. Windhunter is the sixth yacht from Hoek Design to be built at Aluboot.

Hoek Design’s first yacht in this style was the 36-foot Tintel, launched in 2001. This exceptionally fast yacht started a new tradition of which Windhunter is the latest example.

Windhunter‘s hull is built in aluminium with longitudinal framing on transverse web frames to give a light yet stiff hull construction. A recessed hydraulically operated side-boarding ladder has been integrated in the construction. Great emphasis was given to eliminating corrosion where stainless steel parts join the aluminium construction as with fairleads, deck drains and hatches. The yacht has an aluminium bowsprit and a high modulus carbon mast and V boom, from Hall Spars, with rod rigging.

The lifting keel was developed between Aluboot and Hoek Design and had previously been used on other Truly Classic designs from Hoek. It keeps the lifting mechanism below the floorboards, freeing up extra interior spaces for the boat’s social spaces.

Hoek’s offices arranged the interior design and soft furnishings came from Esra Gunray of Istanbul. This classic but contemporary look combines mahogany paneling with off-white painted areas, leather floors in mahogany margins and very subtle upholstery.

The owner’s stateroom is located aft across the full beam. It includes ‘his and hers’ bathrooms. ‘His’ has a bathtub – quite a rare feature on a yacht of this size.

The main deckhouse is home to the dining table while the lower saloon features an integrated galley. There are two guest cabins with en-suite bathrooms forward of the saloon and a crew cabin for two even further forward. The crew cabin also has an en-suite bathroom. There is also a small crew mess and galley which rounds out a boat that has been meticulously thought through in every respect.