BOAT TEST 780 D SUPER SLOOP

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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The 780 D Super Sloop is a traditional Dutch canal cruiser finding home on Australia’s waterside developments, rivers and estuaries. Kevin Smith warms to the entertaining aspects of this slow-paced people mover.

BOAT TEST 780 D SUPER SLOOP
780 D SUPER SLOOP

When summoned to test the latest 780 D Super Sloop I had no idea what I was in for, besides the assumption that it was possibly going to be something quite different and unique considering its Dutch heritage. After further educating myself through Google on what it was, and that being a modern age version of the original wooden Dutch Sloops (Sloeps) that have frequented European waterways for centuries, it was apparent that they are something quite classical.

When researching the history of these boats, a few hours on the 'net led me to some inconclusive answers. I'm still a bit confused, but after adding the diverse information together I came to a probable answer that they originate from the Dutch Republic in the early 1600s - forgive me if I'm wrong.

In those days they varied in size and were primarily used for fishing, as lifeboats, sailboats and for the transportation of goods and people throughout the canals of Europe. Instead of being motorised like they are today they were more of a one-masted sailboat, with fore-and-aft mainsail and jib, and rounded bottom with full-length keel -a displacement-style boat.

There are still a number older models in use that have been restored to original condition. Over time the evolution led to the Dutch Sloops and similar vessels being constructed out of glass materials rather than wood, as well as becoming motorised rather than using sail-power. To date many sloops still operate as commercial and recreational vessels throughout Europe's canals as well as worldwide, maintaining traditional designs but now produced from new-age materials, just like the latest 780 D Super Sloop recently launched in Australia.

 

ELEGANT CRUISER

First impressions of the 780 D Super Sloop naturally puts you in a 'happy' place, where you can quite easily visualise yourself sitting wearing a good old captain's hat and pipe, enjoying some good company, a glass of chardonnay and some caviar, while being chaperoned along the canals in Amsterdam. In fact they remind me of an oversized gondola, so just like in the movies slow cruising and elegant romance comes to mind. Now that's great but before getting into that retired fantasy world you need to remember that those trips are about 16,000km away, and a good few grand later.

The point I am getting at is that Australia has an abundance of beautiful estuaries, tidal river systems and canals that are very well suited to a gentleman's cruiser of this nature.

With Noosa being the test venue and home to the importer of the Original Dutch Super Sloop, I couldn't think of a better venue to take a very mellow cruise along the picturesque crystal-clear Noosa River and canals riddled with million-dollar homes.

Stepping aboard the sloop there's an abundance of space and it's no surprise to see it rated to carry 12 passengers. There is a choice of wraparound lounge-style seating in the stern under the bimini cover or wraparound seating in the bow, with colour-coordinated cushions to match the boat, along with teak trimmings and teak decking to finish it off nicely.

For the coxswain - well in this instance anyway - a genuine old captain's hat and a pipe would not be frowned upon. The helm and console is situated just in front of the stern lounge - a super-sized stainless steel wheel hydraulically operating the rear rudder - along with a simple, side-mount box for the controls.

 

LEAN MACHINE

The console not only serves as an area to drive from but is also a spot to mount a few small electronics and serves as the cover to the 27hp Craftsman Mitsubishi CM 3.27 diesel motor.

Designed as a slow cruiser, or putt-putt so to say, the three-cylinder diesel (with closed-circuit cooling, heat exchanger and ZF 2:1 ratio gearbox with water-cooled shaft) is sufficient enough to get the sloop around comfortably at 5kts where the revs sit around the 2400rpm range. Consumption wise, this diesel operates at such low revs the 50lt tank should seemingly last indefinitely.

What I did notice was that there was very little difference in speed from 2400rpm to wide open throttle of 2700rpm. Five knots is fine for cruising in calm waters but could be a bit slow when taking on some of our tidal currents, so the propping is being changed from a four-blader to three-blade with 14.5in diameter to increase speed.

When it comes to manoeuvring you have to consider that the 780 D is long and narrow and you don't have the high-horsepower to throw it into fast turns. Instead, it comes standard in Australia with a bowthruster, and that makes the world of difference with the manoeuvrability underway and for docking.

After spending a few hours on the water driving and relaxing while taking in the scenery I found the drone of the diesel quite noticeable and subsequently 30mm insulation has been added to the engine compartment.

I will say the black upholstery looks fantastic but on a 35-degree day could leave you with a set of pink rumps. As standard you do have a wide choice of colours to choose from so it's a non-issue - one in these boats in white with cream cushions would look stunning.

Up front the wraparound bow seating-cum-daybed works a treat; it's spacious and has loads of storage space below. A nice addition to this area would include some form of dining table. Perhaps something that simply converts from the daybed infill to a table, as it's the perfect place to sit back and enjoy a cold one and a big plate of fresh prawns. Once again, the idea seemed welcoming and should be a new feature on future models.

 

FINAL SAY

Nowadays, you can't expect to get too much change out of 50 grand, so for what you are getting I feel the price is fair, especially considering the size and character of the boat. Besides being ideal for executive canal cruising I could quite easily see myself sitting back and relaxing with a rod in hand casually chasing a few bream.




[HIGHS]

› Trailerable

› Low-maintenance diesel

› Super economical

› Load capacity of 12

› Classic looks built into a modern dayboat

 

[LOWS]

› Could do with a ladder system for boarding from the beach

› Noise factor from diesel (now rectified)

› Needs a dining table in bow (currently being designed)

 

[TRADE-A-BOAT SAYS…]

Overall, engaging in some mellow cruising for a change was most enjoyable. The 780 D Super Sloop's simple and spacious layout, along with its traditional design and looks, makes it quite a head-turner on the water. For those looking for something a bit unique that's easy to maintain, is a great little entertainer/cruiser and conversation piece, these boats are definitely worth a look.




Specifications: 780 D SUPER SLOOP

 

PRICE AS TESTED

$49,999

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Tandem-axle galvanised braked trailer, bowthruster, Fusion radio/CD/MP3 stereo with remote, bimini, hydraulic steering, full boat cover, daybed with cushions, coloured gelcoat hull of choice, twin batteries with isolator, teak decking and fire extinguisher

 

PRICED FROM

As above

 

PERFORMANCE TRIAL

Single 27hp Craftsman Mitsubishi CM 3.27 diesel

RPM SPEED

2400 4.8kts

2600 5.2kts

2700 5.3kts

* Data supplied by the author.

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Handlaid GRP

TYPE Monohull

LENGTH 7.8m

BEAM 2.3m

WEIGHT 1500kg

DRAFT 0.33m

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (DAY) 12

REC. HP 27

REC. MAX HP 27

FUEL 50lt

WATER n/a

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Craftsman Mitsubishi CM 3.27

TYPE Three-cylinder diesel

WEIGHT 113kg (inc. transmission)

DISPLACEMENT 952cc

GEARBOX (MAKE/RATIO) ZF/2:1

PROPELLER Bronze four-blade in enclosed shroud

 

SUPPLIED BY

The Original Dutch Sloop,

Noosa Heads, QLD, 4567

Contact: Rudy Walstyn

Phone: 0409 409 007

Email: rudy@dutchsloop.com.au

Website: www.dutchsloop.com.au

 

Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #437, March 2013.

Find Dutch Sloop boats for sale.

 


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