Borkumriff IV is a 164-foot schooner Royal Huisman Shipyard completed this spring for a repeat client, a genteel European whose visit to the Dutch yard happened to coincide with mine last year. It is a rare pleasure to see such a yacht under construction and talk with her owner about his dreams for her. His earlier Huisman yacht, Borkumriff III, was completed in 1994. The latest rendition is Royal Huisman’s largest delivery to date, but will be eclipsed next year by the 292-foot Athena.
Designed by John G. Alden and Gerard Dijkstra & Partners, Borkumriff IV reaches back to 19th century New England commercial schooners for her inspiration. Her interior, by John Munford, complements the classic lines of her sheer and deckhouses. Finished in teak and lightly stained raised panel mahogany, the yacht’s belowdecks spaces are softened by white overheads and lots of natural light.
All joinerwork is completed on-site in a new Huisman furniture factory that is a model of efficiency and safety. This facility was a pet project of Wolter Huisman, patriarch of the family-run company. He beamed with pride as he ushered me through. All work stations are fully adjustable, ensuring carpenters can position their work at an optimum height and angle. Not only does this reduce worker stress and injury, but it yields a better product. A large vacuum system keeps the air clean and free of dust. Joinery components, once fabricated, are assembled in on-deck subassemblies and are available for client perusal before being moved into the yacht’s hull.
Borkumriff IV is well equipped for extensive and challenging offshore cruising. This is understandable, given the owner’s love of sailing. He races a 1938 Alden cutter in classic yachting events, but wanted something a bit larger, more comfortable and more capable for personal use. For Borkumriff IV, Royal Huisman turned to sister company Rondal to fabricate the 166-foot Alustar aluminum tapered plate masts.
Rondal also supplied carbon-fiber “Park Avenue main booms, the carbon-fiber gaff and staysail boom, and the many winches that dot the teak deck and varnished cabin tops. In addition, Rondal provided carbon-fiber davits to handle the custom Walsted captain’s gig and the RIB that are on deck amidships.
The schooner is fitted with two deckhouses, the forward serving as an upper saloon and navigation area, the after an on-deck crew lounge adjacent to the two after crew cabins. Between the two houses, Borkumriff IV carries a pair of open cockpits, the forward for guest relaxation, the after for steering and sail management.
Belowdecks, Borkumriff IV has a full-beam saloon amidships, the starboard half of which can convert to a private den by closing a pair of pocket doors. Abaft the saloon, the owner’s suite includes twin berths and an office/sitting room. Forward of the saloon are two guest cabins, each with twin berths. The forward third of the yacht includes the galley, crew mess, captain’s cabin and four crew cabins.
Borkumriff’s owner will certainly sail when the winds allow, but can motor when necessary. An MTU 12V 2000 diesel will supply 1,072 hp for propulsion, and a tunnel thruster at the bow will assist docking and close-quarter maneuvering. -D.D.