Skip to main content

Urk is a Dutch town with a long history. For centuries it was based on an island in the Zuiderzee, a large inlet that divided northern Holland. It was the epicenter of the Dutch fishing industry, as fishing boats headed back from a day on the North Sea laden with the day’s catch to sell in local markets. Then, some 90 years ago, a long dike was built across the entrance to the Zuiderzee and the land was reclaimed. Urk was no longer an island, and it was no longer directly connected to the sea.

Still the town has retained its heritage of seamanship, and Urk’s legacy of innovation has kept the town at the forefront of the fishing industry. It was this enduring tradition that inspired Johan Hartman, owner of Hartman Yachts, to create something new when he wanted a yacht for his own. So was born the Livingstone range of motor yachts. A refined, stylish trawler yacht designed for long-range cruising in considerable comfort, the Livingstone is a brilliant family trawler.

The Livingstone 24 has the look of a proper little ship from all angles.

The Livingstone 24 has the look of a proper little ship from all angles.

The hull is constructed from steel, which is still the number one building material in the Netherlands. And it is a tribute to the skill of the cutters and welders that this round bilge hull has been beautifully formed. The bow is nearly vertical while at the stern there is a rounded transom that drops down to the propeller aperture and a deep skeg in classic seaworthy style. The frames supporting the bulwarks forward have been left exposed so that the quality of construction is in public view.

Hartman Yachts new Livingstone 24.

Hartman Yachts new Livingstone 24.

The hull is quite beautiful, but what grabs your attention first is the upright style of this yacht. The two masts are upright, the wheelhouse windows are vertical, and even the funnel on this boat stands up straight. (The funnel is not a dry stack and is there purely for style.) The Livingstone was set in dramatic contrast in style to the fishing boats we passed as we headed into the North Sea. But when you look closely at the detail of this fine yacht, you realize that there is a strong practical element to every feature—form and function living happily side by side.

Livingstone Innovations

Custom stainless steel anchors adorn the bow on both sides.

Custom stainless steel anchors adorn the bow on both sides.

Hidden from view are many of the more practical features of the Livingstone, such as the innovative alternative anchoring system. At the bow there is a pair of polished stainless steel anchors that were specially fabricated for this yacht because nothing suitable was available on the market. However, to save condemning these works of art to a life in the mud or sand of the seabed, there is an alternative system similar to that used on dredgers. Two spud poles can be lowered, digging into the seabed to hold the yacht firmly in the chosen location.

One of these spud poles is located in a tube in the engine compartment and the other is right forward. Anchored fore and aft, the yacht cannot move an inch. Of course, you must have calm water to use this mooring system because there is virtually no flexibility for the yacht to move once firmly anchored in place. And you wouldn’t want much rise and fall of the tide either. But you could use the poles to moor quayside instead of sending out mooring lines.

The Livingstone 24 stainless steel anchors are not just for looks, they are built to be used.

The Livingstone 24 stainless steel anchors are not just for looks, they are built to be used.

Another innovation is the large battery pack that is located in the lazarette. There is enough power stored here to run the whole domestic load overnight, including the air conditioning, so that you do not need to run the generator at night. The main engine is fitted with a pair of high-capacity alternators so the battery charge can be quickly restored once you get underway. A diesel-powered generator can perform a duplicate function.

The main engine is a 345-horsepower MAN six-cylinder unit that looks positively tiny in the spacious engine room, and everything can be easily accessed for servicing. Reflecting Hartman’s workboat and shipping experience, the heat exchanger is entirely separate from the engine, which greatly reduces the seawater piping in the ship and therefore reduces the risk of flooding from leaks. The fuel system is also similar to those found on big ships: The Livingstone makes use of a day tank that is gravity-fed and thereby reduces the risk of contaminated fuel.

Engineering Considerations

The lazarette located abaft the engine compartment has ample storage space for bicycles, deck chairs, and other equipment so that nothing has to be stowed on deck during passages. Also located aft of the engine compartment is the steering gear, another component that mimics big ship design. The Livingstone is fitted with a Becker rudder, which features a flap behind the main blade. When the rudder is turned, the flap turns even more to create a deflector, allowing the rudder to work even when turned to 60 degrees instead of the normal 35 degrees. This means that the propeller thrust is directed almost sideways, so it can act like a stern thruster to give excellent maneuverability in close quarters. Complemented by the usual bow thruster, this setup allows the Livingstone to be easily parked in most tight spaces.

Underwater, the yacht is fitted with Naiad fin stabilizers, and although the conditions on the sea trial did not require any sort of stabilization, their effectiveness was demonstrated by making the yacht rock in calm water.

Overhead showing the immense deck space, particularly on the “toy deck” or lounge area behind the pilothouse.

Overhead showing the immense deck space, particularly on the “toy deck” or lounge area behind the pilothouse.

Behind the raised pilothouse is a large open space that on many yachts would be the flybridge. Here it can be the location of a hot tub and sun pads, or simply used as a large lounging area. On the aft section of the upper deck there is a dedicated crane for launch and recovery of a dinghy or shoreside toys. A wide stairway aft provides easy access and leads to the cockpit, which, once more, is an open space large enough to accommodate a dining table for the owners and multiple guests. A gas barbecue is fitted into the lockers on the port side by the saloon doors.


As one would expect on a nearly 80-foot yacht, the saloon features additional dining space, a lounge, and an open-plan galley with a countertop reserved just for serving guests. The fully equipped galley emphasizes the serious cruising nature of the yacht. There are even fiddles around the electric stove (although those who have cruised on the yacht assured me these aren’t necessary, even in rough seas).

Salon 1

Inside you get the same aura of dignity and timeless style that comes from using high-quality materials and superb craftsmanship. At the forward end of the saloon, one set of stairs leads up to the pilothouse and another leads down to the accommodations level, with a day head tucked into the starboard corner.

Livingstone (17a)

The current layout of the cabins is designed for a single family, but the entire space that occupies the forward two-thirds of the hull can be customized with a layout to suit any owner. In the current layout, the master suite is forward with an ensuite bathroom. The three additional cabins, which comprise a twin-bunk cabin, a double, and a twin, all share one bathroom. This layout affords space for a large family, but other owners might prefer to have a large master suite amidships with the guest cabins forward.

A guest stateroom.

A guest stateroom.

It was remarkable just how quiet it was in these accommodations even when the Livingstone was running at full speed. Though the engine is directly below the saloon deck, you can hear only a faint hum and it was possible to hold conversation at a normal volume. It was even quieter in the pilothouse where I found myself looking at the engine dials to convince myself that the engine was actually running.

Guests are well provided for in the pilothouse as well, with a corner settee and table on the port side and a desk and matching chair in the starboard aft corner. Visibility from the helm is excellent, with windows that surround the captain and guests, and sun blinds that can be pulled down.

Wheelhouse 1

On the Water

The Livingstone is well equipped with electronics, including three large Simrad displays. The hull I tested included the latest GPS compass, but just for reassurance there is a backup magnetic compass installed in front of the helm. Engine controls are simple with just the one thruster control and the one throttle/gear lever in addition to the central wheel. Apart from the wheel, these controls are replicated at twin control positions on each side of the pilothouse to give a good view when coming alongside to either a port or starboard tie.

Leaving the dock was a simple matter, and because of the quiet progress I was hardly aware of the yacht moving. Out at sea our progress would best be described as stately. However, with the minimal sea conditions (a wind that wasn’t enough to fill sails), this was hardly surprising. Yet crew who have been on a passage across the North Sea commented that they experienced this same degree of seakindliness even in rough seas, and the fine bow entry helps to reduce pitching.

Opener 1

The Livingstone’s top speed is close to 11 knots, but cruising at 8 knots provides more economical performance. At that speed fuel consumption is only 8 gallons per hour, just half of what it is at top speed. Running at 8 knots, the engine is turning at somewhere around 1,500 rpm, so it is not under a lot of stress. With close to 3,000 gallons of fuel tank capacity, you can go a long way between refueling stops. For long-range cruising, the Livingstone has the fresh water capacity to match and a watermaker to ensure there are no shortages.

In my view there is always a concern about trying to recreate the past with yacht designs because it means missing out on so many of the features that make a modern yacht safe and reliable. However, Hartman Yachts has done a wonderful job with the Livingstone 24, which is perhaps not surprising when you look at the history of the company. Johan Hartman, who was the driving force behind this design, is a seventh-generation seafarer and captain from a family whose legacy of owning and building ships goes back more than two centuries. Apart from building yachts and running a shipyard, the Hartman Marine Group owns a fleet of cargo ships, and Johan is a qualified ship captain. “We know the ins and outs of the nautical trade as no other,” said Hartman. “Values and standards that have stood the test of time are at the core of our company and underpin all our activities.”

Rendering of the Hartman Yachts Livingstone 24

Rendering of the Hartman Yachts Livingstone 24

The Livingstone 24 reflects these high standards for quality and innovation. The yard’s background and experience is apparent in every element of the yacht, which seamlessly combines luxury with a robust structure to create a hardy, classic yacht with true exploration capabilities. This is combined with fine Dutch craftsmanship and is characterized by a warm and welcoming atmosphere with contemporary elements.

And why is this yacht named Livingstone? It takes its name from British explorer David Livingstone who traveled around Africa in the mid-1800s, suggesting this vessel gives its owner the same capacity for exploring and adventure. There are larger versions on the drawing board, including 34- and a 42-meter models (112 and 138 feet, respectively). And if the traditional look is not your style, also under construction in the yard is the first of a contemporary range of explorer yachts, the Amundsen Series, named for Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. These yachts are based on a Polar Class hull and designed for cruising in all sea conditions. 

General Arrangements (click to enlarge)

General Arrangements
(click to enlarge)


LOA: 78’ 7”
Beam: 22’ 6”
Draft: 5’ 8”
Displacement: 229,281 lb.
Fuel: 3,000 gal.
Water: 1,320 gal.
Power: 1 x MAN 345 hp
Propulsion: Shaft and propeller
Design: Sheerline Yacht Design

Hartman Yachts
The Netherlands
+31 527 686008