Experience report SRX30 -Yachtline-: Croatia, Holland

  • Boat model: SRX30 -Yachtline-
  • Engine: Volvo Penta V6 280
  • cruising area: Croatia, Netherlands
  • crew: 2 persons and dog
  • crew experience: Experienced

The considerations up to the purchase decision

Ever since the first Drago 29 from Öchsner was presented at the trade fair, we have been completely excited about the possibilities that such a large yet trailerable boat could offer. At that time, however, we were the proud owners of a Drago 26 from Öchsner. We already trailered our Drago 26 to Croatia and enjoyed the Croatian coast together with our daughter and our dog. Otherwise, we sailed Dutch waters from our home port in Kleve at the time. We loved the large cockpit of the Drago 26 and spent many hours on the boat in our free time. Even rainy days didn’t put us off. Even in the Drago 26, we found the storage space gigantic. As all-weather cruisers, however, we found the space below deck for staying in bad weather a little lacking. In the meantime, we decided to buy a larger, non-trailerable boat that also offered more space below deck. We were prepared to swallow the toad of not going south with it. We simply wanted to explore the Dutch waters even further. That was certainly the right idea for a while, but at some point we felt like we knew every spot there, even though that’s certainly not the case. Then Corona slowed us down and finally a leg breakage in 2021, an entire boating season would literally fall through.

That was the moment for us to change course.

We sold our 29-foot, non-trailable boat and thought hard about trailering again as soon as our health would allow it. As mentioned at the beginning, we have followed the development of Öchsner boats over the years with great interest, from the Drago 29 to the Drago 29 -Yachtline- Wide Beam and the SR30 / SRX30 -Yachtline-. So there wasn’t a boat show in Düsseldorf where we didn’t visit the Öchsner stand, admire the further developments and realize that such a boat would be the so-called “egg-laying wool-milk sow” for us. It would be a chic glider in terms of design, the cockpit would be spacious and cozy, there would be enough space below deck for a comfortable stay even in bad weather, the storage space would also be excellent and the enclosed owner’s cabin and the very large underfloor cabin would make it possible to experience a saloon that is always tidy. There would also be space for overnight visitors.

In December 2021, we were sure that we absolutely had to take another close look at the 29 and SRX30 -Yachtline-. As Öchsner would not be exhibiting at the trade fair in Düsseldorf in January 2022 due to the coronavirus, we arranged an appointment directly in Kürnach for January. Sven Küffner informed us very precisely about all the details and the differences between the 29 -Yachtline- and the SRX30 -Yachtline-. We were able to enter both boats, sit on them, climb onto the foredeck and get a feel for what life on such a boat would be like. Technical details were discussed in detail and, of course, what equipment the boat already had and what else was needed. As a result, we were certain that the SRX30 -Yachtline- would be the right boat for us! However, as we would be using the boat in the future both in the south and in our home waters in the Netherlands, we had concerns about the open backrest of the versatile rear bench seat in the cockpit. It was important to us that it could also be closed between the backrest and seat cushion without any loss of function. A very practical solution was quickly developed together with Mr. Küffner. And then there was our question about an additional emergency seat in the cockpit so that we could also sit in a small group. Sven Küffner accepted the request and promised us that Florian Öchsner would also work on a solution. When we found out that an SRX30 would still be available for delivery in summer 2022, we were over the moon. Another season without a boat was over. The contract was signed, we planned our boat handover for July 2022 with the small hope that it could possibly be June 2022. As we had also noted the dimensions of the storage compartments and cupboards during the boat inspection, it was now time for us to set up the boat in theory. Where should what be stowed? We were already living on the boat in our minds. In May we received the call that the boat would actually be ready in June. We should be able to take delivery of the boat on 15.06.2022.

Our plan was to set off from home with all our equipment in the car, pick up the boat in Kürnach and head straight for Croatia. That was quite an organizational feat, but we managed to pull it off. The icing on the cake during the planning was that friends of ours who had also switched from a Drago 26 to a Drago 29 in 2022 would be joining us. This was perfect for us, as they had always trailered to Croatia in previous years and therefore knew the routes both on land and on water very well.

The journey

So we arrived in Kürnach at 9.30 a.m. on 15.06.2022 with a car packed to the rafters. Sven Küffner took over the technical briefing in the office and then Florian Öchsner took us out on the Main on our boat for the practical briefing. No matter how well prepared you are, slipping out for the first time is a particularly thrilling situation. Thanks to Florian Öchsner’s aplomb, you nevertheless remain calm and realize that slipping this largest trailerable cabin cruiser is actually no witchcraft. Florian Öchsner gave a few very helpful tricks and tips for handling and then we went on to the scales. As promised, the boat weighed less than 3,500 kg. This meant that the bedding for the journey to Croatia could also be put in the boat. Our boat was expertly lashed to the trailer with the travel tarpaulin by the Öchsner team and made ready to go. Our small comment on the Main that the windshield window should be secured against closing in the wind (we had already had bad experiences with this on our previous boat) was also implemented immediately. That’s called service! Incidentally, our boat was now also equipped with a very stylishly designed stool, which we also use to store the ropes and which is a great footstool or side table. At this point, a compliment to the Öchsner company, which is constantly working on improving details.

And then the vacation began! Croatia here we come!

Our friends joined us in Kürnach and we drove to Croatia with two boat teams from Öchsner. The first overnight stay took place in Kürnach. After all, our day had already started at 3.00 am. The next stages took us to Lake Faak and finally to Punat on the island of Krk, where we had a crane appointment for our boats on Saturday, June 18. The journey with the two carriages was very relaxed. Our car pulled our boat wonderfully over the Alps and even on narrow roads we were delighted at how well the trailer followed the road.

In the marina in Punat, it was now time to place everything that had been stowed in the car for the vacation in the dry dock. It turned out that it was good to have thought about which storage space or cupboard to put what in beforehand. Finally, the inflatable boat was pumped up and made ready to go. After the boats were moored at the transit pier of Marina Punat after the crane, we quickly stocked up on provisions and then cast off.

The big moment: starting the engine for the first time on the Adriatic!

Our first trip was then to be to the island of Plavnik and everything went well. The weather was fantastic, the water was clear and our boat was easy to handle. We were already thrilled and so glad that we had chosen the SRX30. On our first day, we anchored our boat off Plavnik, swam, tried out the bathing ladder and the water seat, quickly fitted the dinghy motor and then used the dinghy winch. Everything worked perfectly. We then spent the first night anchored in the beautiful Croatian countryside. That night the wind was blowing at force 4-5, which of course didn’t allow us to sleep so peacefully, but the anchor held and our confidence in our boat grew more and more. The inflatable boat was used the very next morning, as our dog absolutely had to go ashore. And once again everything worked. In the morning, we drove to the so-called Y-Bay to enjoy our beach vacation. We adjusted the sliding roof to suit the desired amount of sunlight, used the adjustable rear seat bench to look out to sea from aft and toasted our boat with a glass of sparkling wine. In the course of the late afternoon, however, it became apparent that the battery capacity of the 2nd battery (consumer battery) was running low. So we decided to return to the Mariana Punat for the next night to recharge the batteries on shore power as soon as possible. When we were already in the harbor, we naturally filled up with fresh water and bought barbecue food for our physical well-being. The next destination was the picturesque Mala Luka bay. The journey there was once again fantastically beautiful. The boat’s handling was convincing. Due to the widebeam hull in particular, the boat behaved exactly like our previous boat, which had a width of 3 meters. All the information could be read very precisely and clearly on the large glass cockpit. We also relaxed in the bay on the very comfortable sun loungers on the foredeck. We had a barbecue together in the evening with our friends. After a quiet night and a leisurely breakfast on board, however, we discovered during the battery check that the consumer battery was once again almost flat. Conclusion: after one night at anchor, one battery is flat. This led us to the conclusion that we would go on a sightseeing tour along the coast and recharge our batteries. We cruised past Vela Luka, Uvala Dubna and Baska at a slow speed and enjoyed the wonderful panorama on our dream boat. Back in Mala Luka Bay, we visited the small konoba with our dinghy, where we were spontaneously offered an excellent fish platter. That was another small highlight.

We visited many other destinations during our vacation. Next we reached the prison island of Grgur. On the way there, we encountered a school of dolphins for the first time. It’s a great feeling to be surrounded by dolphins on your own boat. In glorious weather at anchor off Grgur, we tried out how to put up the camper top to be on the safe side. We wanted to be prepared for an emergency. Should a shower or thunderstorm come up, we didn’t want to have to fight unsuspectingly with soft top parts. This idea turned out to be a very good one. The motto here is: know how!

Over the next few days, we continued via Sahara Bay to Supetraska Draga, stopping for a swim, and on to a bay near the Frkanj restaurant, where we were surprised by a rain shower after an excellent meal. Good thing we had already tried closing the boat. So we managed everything quite well. However, we found the large rear hood section difficult to handle in an emergency. Now the soft top had been inaugurated and had passed its baptism of fire and water baptism.

Now more friends should join us. They also ride a Drago 29 and have been doing so for years. From now on we continued with three Dragos, first to Marina Rab, where we could enjoy the beautiful view of the old town of Rab. Simply fantastic! It should also be mentioned at this point that mooring in harbors is easy thanks to the bow and stern thrusters. Especially if a crew member is unable to quickly step or even jump onto the jetty or quay due to a broken leg. The dinghy holder, which can also be used as a gangway, could not do its job here because there was a bollard right there on the jetty. Unfortunately, we have often experienced this phenomenon. We continued to the beautiful Zavratnica bay, where an old shipwreck lies and where Karl May films were shot. Then it was off to Cres, where we once again had the pleasure of seeing dolphins on the journey between Rab and Cres. We moored in the beautiful little harbor of Pogana. The small bathing bay of Baldarin was also worth a visit, including an overnight stay. We continued to the small harbor of Veli Lošinj, visited the town harbor of Mali Lošinj, then spent the night in the bay of Krivica in a buoy field and continued past Ilovic to Ist, where we spent the night at anchor. Once again, we had to have a lot of trust in the anchor. The night was very restless. Some of the boats around us had to re-anchor, but for us the Anchor.

We continued the next day via Dugi Otok, including a stop for a swim, to the island of Ugljan, where we moored in the very well-kept harbor of the Olive Island marina. Due to the weather forecast of a very strong bora, we undertook a short day trip from there via Veli Iz, Knezak and Uvala Mulin and returned to the safe harbor of the marina. The next day, the port of Zadar was on the agenda. We stopped for a swim in the bay of Juzna Luka. There we met the crew of the Carpe Diem, on an Öchsner SR25, to whom we enthusiastically reported on our experiences with our SRX30. Several days in port at the Olive Island marina followed due to the bora. On the spacious boat and the great cockpit, however, this was no punishment. After the weather calmed down, we went to the island of Ilovic, where we again spent the night at a buoy. The scenery there was fantastic. The next few days were spent planning the return route. We then headed back to Marina Punat via Marina Rab and the bay of Kruscica off Cres.

A wonderful vacation comes to an end

An eventful and wonderful vacation came to an end. Our boat impressed in terms of handling, sailing characteristics and, last but not least, living comfort. All of Öchsner’s “promises” regarding the boat’s characteristics were fulfilled. During this first vacation with the boat, we covered a lot of distance, saw and experienced a lot. We were completely happy with the boat. One drawback, however, was the battery capacity problem mentioned at the beginning. After an overnight stay at anchor or on a buoy, a longer onward journey or an overnight stay in a harbor to charge the batteries was unavoidable if you didn’t want to tap the first battery, which was supposed to remain sacred (untouched) as the starter battery. So we turned off the second fridge in the cockpit at the beginning of our vacation to save battery power. It would have literally eaten away our electricity. As we are also planning to spend several days and nights at anchor next year, we will retrofit solar charging options. This should solve the problem.

After we had made the boat ready for the return journey in Punat, we also managed the return trip with the team to our home port in Rhederlaag in the Netherlands without any complications. When we arrived in the Netherlands, we slipped it and moored it at our berth, where it then waited for its next deployment in our home waters.

Netherlands

In our home territory, we enjoyed wonderful trips on the lake, where we were able to enjoy the glorious late summer weather. It also served as our weekend home on the water. Our children and grandchildren also visited us there to join us on a trip to the lake. The space available on the boat also proved to be excellent. There were now four adults and two children on board and no one found it cramped. The adjustable backrest also came into play again. In the seating area, the children played UNO, while on the outside of the back seat we drank a glass of champagne with a view of the lake. It could be worse. The large bathing platform proved to be another highlight. Here you could place both the barbecue and the wok to prepare food outdoors.

In addition to the trips on the lake, we also took a short tour down the IJssel to Hattem, a small picturesque Hanseatic town, and to Deventer.

All in all, we realized that our home territory in the Netherlands is also a real pleasure with our SRX30. Our first wonderful boating season came to an end at the end of September. We took our boat to the Öchsner company for its first inspection and winter maintenance, picked it up again a few weeks later and are now giving it a winter break in winter storage at home.

Of course, we already have plans for the coming year. The anticipation is huge!

Ulrike and Ulli

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