Just imagine having your own sailing yacht built. A yacht made entirely according to your own wishes and requirements, like they do at KM Yachtbuilders. What would be at the top of your wishlist? That’s what we asked the owner of the Zwarte Raaf (Black Raven), the new Bestevaer 49: “Suitable for single handed sailing, a tiller, a minimum amount of technology on board, maximum draught of 2.10 metres, with a modern but nautical interior.”

The Zwarte Raaf is clearly the smaller sister of the Bestevaer II, the yacht privately owned by designer Gerard Dijkstra. The hull shape, superstructure and pilot house are virtually the same as those of this illustrious predecessor.

With the Zwarte Raaf KM Yachtbuilders has delivered another unpainted aluminium yacht. Eeuwe Kooi, shipyard owner: “We would like to show people another one of our painted yachts. But customers are becoming more and more likely to opt for a plain hull. That’s a big compliment for our hull builders!” 

It has been decided to keep the paintwork on deck to a minimum: only the horizontal sections are painted in such a way that the visible aluminium flows into the painted parts. The pilot house and the superstructure are off-white and the deck is light grey. The cockpit is deep, compact, safe and has a tiller. The yacht has a length of almost 15 metres, but sails like a dinghy. Light on the rudder, manoeuvrable and fast.

The rigging is conventional cutter rigging, with an aluminium mast and jib and a Lazy Rack that makes it easier to put the sail away. From the cockpit the owner is able to operate all lines and halyards, including the reefing lines. That does away with the need to go to the mast, which makes single-handed sailing safer.

The pilot house makes it possible for the crew to stay sheltered and safe inside in bad or cold weather while the auto pilot gets on with its job. The all-round windows in the roof provide good visibility, even of the sail and the mast. The pilot house also provides a lot of shelter against wind and spray when crew stand or sit outside.

The interior styling is fresh and light. The walls and the ceiling are painted white, and the cupboards and doors are made of stained mahogany, which gives the wood a deep, warm colour. A nice contrast with the white interior surfaces. Oak has been chosen for the floor. The guest cabin with a wet cell is located at the port side astern. Opposite this is the galley, in a U-shape so that the cook also has enough support with the yacht slanting. In front of the galley there is a long bench with a corner couch and salon table on the other side of the salon. The owner’s cabin with the bed on the port side is situated in the front.

The Zwarte Raaf was sold in 2021 and is currently called Beluga.