Dutch Sloop canal boats a surprise hit at boat show.

Mention the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS) and the first thing that comes to mind is the glitz, glamour and awe-inspiring sight of hundreds of big white boats lining the marina. Sanctuary Cove is indeed an event that caters to boats of all lengths and materials, but it’s an unspoken rule that the big girls are arguably the stars of the show.

Yet one small player – small both in terms of the size of boats and in the scale of the operation – has quietly emerged as a surprise hit from the event. That player is the Dutch Sloop brand of European-style canal cruisers, headed by principal and official importer Rudy Walstyn. When SCIBS closed, Walstyn says he had at least six confirmed orders, with more to follow in New Zealand.

The Dutch Sloop is essentially a seaworthy traditional putt putt boat (try to imagine a large life-boat with a shaft-drive diesel) with a handlaid ’glass hull. Three models are currently available, all of which are unashamedly intended for relaxed, leisurely, peaceful cruising. These are the 580 E, 580 D and 780 D Super Sloop. Power comes from a small diesel engine or an electric on the 580 E.

Australian boaters received their first in-depth look at these boats just a couple of months ago when Trade-a-Boat magazine boat tester Kevin Smith took a 780 D Super Sloop (rated to 12 people) for a cruise around Noosa, prompting him to point out how "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."

Walstyn attributes the success of the Dutch Sloop boats at SCIBS to several factors. Chief among them are their head-turning nature — these boats are popular in Europe but are almost unheard of locally — while the other is their competitive pricing. For example, the 780D Super Sloop tested by Trade-a-Boat magazine came in under $50,000 including trailer and options.

As mentioned, Dutch Sloop is currently filling orders from SCIBS 2013. The company also welcomes dealer enquiries. Rudy Walstyn can be contacted on 0409 409 007 or emailed on

Find Dutch Sloop boats for sale.


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.