Luc Vanthoor
Jachthaven “De Spaanjerd”
B-3640 Kinrooi
+32(0)477 - 43 66 04

Aqua Libra marina in Ophoven Belgium

“The personal relationship with customers is particularly important”

Before also becoming our Belgian dealer in 2018, Luc Vanthoor rented out Linssen yachts for many years. Because of this, he knows exactly what boaters and their passengers do and don’t appreciate in a yacht. He’s known many of his customers for years. Giving personal advice is very important to Luc. “A yacht is a substantial investment and it’s all about true love. Love of sailing and love of the boat.”

Sailing is in Luc’s blood: he took it up when he was only ten years old. In 2008, he and his wife Arlette founded Aqua Libra Yachtcharter, a company that rented out motor boats from De Spaanjerd marina in Kinrooi. “A friend of mine has a hotel there and some of his guests wanted to go sailing,” laughs Luc. “We started with one simple boat.” In 2012, the company became a support centre for Linssen Boating Holidays. Luc: “Kinrooi is relatively close to the Linssen boatyard in Maasbracht. That’s handy, because many potential customers want to try out a boat before buying.” Luc still rents out Linssen charters and, since the end of 2018, he has also been a dealer for Linssen Yachts in Belgium.

Personal relationship with customers
Luc is happy with this dealership. “After chartering a boat for a few years, some people want to buy one,” he says. “Over all these years, you build up a sound, personal relationship with your customers. It’s nice to be able to assist them when they buy their own boat. You know them and you know what they want. That means you can give good advice.” Conversely, the customers also give him valuable tips and advice. “Our boats chalk up a lot of sailing hours and many of our customers have sailed all over the world. They discover possible areas for improvement or things that could be just that little bit more convenient.”

The Linssen Yachts family feeling
Luc will pass these comments on to the Linssen Yachts boatyard in Maasbracht for incorporation in future designs. According to Luc, working with Linssen Yachts is very pleasant and familiar. “As a dealer, you become part of the Linssen family. We feel connected, both with the people and with the Linssen Yachts brand.” This also applies to the customers, Luc often remarks. “Anyone who comes across another Linssen in a harbour often has a chat with the owner. This is another very strong indication of that family feeling.”

Centre of Europe
The marina in Kinrooi - on the border between the Netherlands and Belgium - welcomes guests of many nationalities every year. “Actually, we’re right in the centre of Europe, very central,” says Luc. “In a couple of days, you can be in Friesland, Zeeland, France and beyond. There are many canals and natural waterways nearby. There’s also something for young and old to enjoy: Maastricht, Roermond, the historic town of Thorn, outlet centres, nature reserves and the Meuse lakes. In our region you will find a lot of history, culture, gastronomy, nature and shopping – but also peace and quiet. There’s something for everyone.”

Popularity growing in Belgium
Linssen yachts are becoming increasingly popular in Belgium. On the coast there is traditionally a lot of sailing sport, on sailboats. Luc: “You often find that sailors switch to a motor yacht when they get older. They don’t want that Spartan lifestyle any more, they want a little more comfort. That’s when they discover Linssen Yachts. Boating enthusiasts from Antwerp, Brabant and Limburg sail the inland waterways and are usually also familiar with Linssen. This is less true for the motor boaters from French-speaking Wallonia. They’re not very familiar with Dutch boatyards yet.”

True love
That’s a nice challenge for Aqua Libra. Luc: “For example, we invite motor yacht clubs from Wallonia for a tour of our marina and a visit to the boatyard in Maasbracht. This allows them to see and experience for themselves the high quality Linssen offers. Of course, we’re not selling handbags: a Linssen yacht is a substantial investment that you don’t make every year. You also have to feel the love, the real love for sailing and your boat. And the maker’s love.”

What about the future?
What does the future hold for Aqua Libra? Luc: “With our own office in the marina, we want to set up a support centre for new Linssen owners. We want to give them a ‘welcome home’ feeling in Kinrooi. In our port they will be able to forge contacts with other owners. We will be ready to answer any questions they may have about sailing and the technical aspects and maintenance of their yacht. We want to assist and advise existing boat owners as well. When we maintain their boat, clean and refuel it, they can go straight into the water. So they won’t be losing precious holiday time any more.”

Finishing touch
Luc’s wife Arlette has dedicated herself to the styling and nautical design of the boats. “An interior that you’ve chosen yourself using high-quality materials really finishes your boat off”, Luc explains. “In most cases, it’s the wives who think it’s important to get the total package right: the ambiance, the colours, the towels, the bed linen, kitchen utensils, etc.” That’s what gives it that personal finishing touch. And, of course, everything has to be functional for use on the water.”

Journey more important than destination
So Aqua Libra continues to work hard. Luc: “This makes the personal relationship we have with our customers particularly important. We assist our clients in every way we can, by preparing their boating holiday or mapping out a sailing route. Our objective is to continue improving our service and investing in the quality of our yachts, because that’s what it’s all about. A boating holiday is an adventure, an experience, in which the journey is more important than the destination.”