Altena 53 Happy Hours – A Successful Refit by KM Yachtbuilders

Over a year after the start of the refit of Happy Hours at KM Yachtbuilders, we reflect with Sabina, the owner of the Altena 50 Happy Hours, on the process, challenges, and the beautiful results.

Background and Passion for Sailing
Sabina and her partner Ernst-Jan share a passion for boating that goes back to their youth. Originally from the western part of the Netherlands, Sabina was introduced to sailing through family and her work at a dredging company. Ernst-Jan, from the same region near Haarlem, had a connection with water since his earliest memories, stepping onto motorboats at the age of two. His parents had a sailboat before that, but ultimately, his mother preferred a motorboat. When Sabina and Ernst-Jan came together about forty years ago, Sabina entered the world of motorboats for the first time. They fell in love with sailing on Ernst-Jan’s father’s boat. After a fifteen-year search, they purchased a second-hand motorboat. In the following ten years, the decision to have a custom motorboat built was made, but it was the first built of a specific model that caught their attention and ultimately led them to the purchase of the Altena 53 ‘Happy Hours’.

Choosing KM Yachtbuilders for the Refit
The decision to partner with KM Yachtbuilders for the refit stemmed from their connection with Oscar, who was previously closely involved in the construction of their second boat. They were looking for his craftsmanship, knowledge, and experience once again. Sabina highlights the openness and sustainable approach of the shipyard as decisive factors. The interaction between the workshop and office areas, along with the sustainable nature, appealed to them.

The Process and the Final Result
Sabina acknowledged that the process took longer than expected, but the couple accepted this, understanding the complexity of the project. However, the final result exceeded all expectations. When asked about what she is particularly satisfied with, Sabina struggles to pinpoint something specific because it’s really the overall salon that impresses her. There are so many charming and creative solutions that it’s difficult for her to single out just one thing. “KM Yachtbuilders’ professional approach was evident in every detail, from the salon to the chart table and from the cabinet wall to the window sills.” Sabina says. The couple appreciates not only the craftsmanship but also the creative solutions proposed during the process.

Challenges and Solutions
Throughout the process, there were challenges, but Sabina praises the team’s passion and creativity in finding solutions. She highlights the openness and honesty of Hylke: “An enormous asset to the company. What an open man, direct, honest, but also creative. Hylke can listen exceptionally well and hold up a mirror. He was our anchor and guided the process exceptionally well.” Sabina notes that there were occasional hiccups, but she finds this normal for a project requiring not just two changes but a whole lot. In essence, all challenges were resolved thanks to experience and creativity.

Collaboration and Areas for Improvement
“What I think is important is that you not only say what you do but also do what you say, and I really liked that here, that people do what they say,” says Sabina. Despite a highly positive collaboration, she points out some areas for improvement in the administrative process and communication regarding certain agreements and changes. She advocates for more structured procedures to avoid confusion.

Future Plans for the Boat
With plans for the Gota Canal, Greenland, Denmark, and Sweden, and potential explorations in America and the rest of Europe, the owners have exciting future plans for Happy Hours. The couple wants to do it all, but Sabina emphasizes the need to stay healthy so they can actually accomplish everything. As long as that’s the case, they want to go as far as possible.

Evaluation and Recommendation
When asked if they would collaborate with us again or recommend us to others, Sabina responds briefly but powerfully: “Absolutely!” She highlights the team’s hospitality and the pride she feels because her boat is at KM Yachtbuilders. Sabina concludes, “We’re just completely happy. I’m extremely proud that my boat is here.”

Click here for more info and pictures of the yacht

As a thank-you gesture, Sabine and Ernst-Jan had rented a pizza truck for the staff. Together, we celebrated Happy Hours’ successful refit.