By Alan Haig-Brown
Following in a long tradition, the shipyards of the Netherlands continue to produce immaculate inland river vessels. In recent years these have tended to be built on hulls shipped from the cost-effective shipyards of China to be finished to the highest standards in Dutch shipyards.
Last year, the shipyard of De Groot in Dordrecht completed the MS Elja-V for Ellie and Jacob Van der Vlag. With 35 years sailing together this is the couples sixth vessel with the name Elja-V. At 360.8 ft in length the new vessel has the standard 37.5 ft beam for navigation on the Rhine, Mains and Danube. This size also allows for the stowage of the family’s two cars on deck aft of the hydraulically raised and lowered wheelhouse.
Power for the vessel is provided by an electronically-controlled Cummins QSK50-M engine producing 1194 kW (1600 HP) at 1800 RPM. This Tier 2 engine meets the current emission standards for Europes inland waterways. The ship is also fitted with a Cummins QSK15-C bow thruster delivering 530 HP at 1800 RPM for maximum control of the Elja-V in the inland waterway locks. Electrical needs for the vessel, including the comfortable living accommodation, is met by a pair of Cummins 4BT3.9-B4 powered 64 kVa generators.
An indication of how seriously the families that travel Europes inland waterways is the ultra-comfortable in-floor heating system for both the accommodations and the wheelhouse. No matter how far into the more mountainous regions of Europe, even over the divide and down the Danube, they may travel, the Van der Vlag family will enjoy the quality to which they are accustom in the Dutch lowlands.