By Robert Wielaard
Rondal is one of three companies worldwide able to make soaring masts and rigging standing 70 metres and taller. It builds them for yards anywhere including its owner Royal Huisman which is now working on four super sailing yachts. One is a 58m sloop from Dubois Naval Architects, commonly referred to as The Beast for its promise of exceptional performance. The rig features a 71m, five-spreader carbon fibre mast and performance furling boom.
But beyond the headline-grabbing projects like this one, Rondal is increasingly carving out a niche for itself in the production of sliding doors for motor and sail-powered superyachts. Today it is working on doors for Feadship, Oceanco and Lürssen and on four windbreakers for the latter.
“Yachts are getting bigger and more comfortable,” says Rondal sales manager Bas Peute. “There is a need for ever bigger sliding doors that span six, seven or even eight metres.”
Rondal makes fully-customised push-button sliding doors, straight up or angled covering the entrance, for instance, to a sailing yacht saloon from the open cockpit area.
These days, Rondal carries out six or seven such projects annually, each consisting of up to half a dozen doorways. Peute credits Rondal’s heritage in sailing yachts for reeling in door contracts.
“We are good at working in tight spaces,” he says. “It stems from our history in sailing yachts. Our engineers have worked hard on flush deck hatches that show no hinges. And one thing led to the next. We began making very compact, noiseless spindles on water-tight sliding doors. They can be made completely flush with walls, making the door frames invisible.”
At the push of a button, the Rondal doors first ease outward, then slide silently sideways. The reverse operation is equally quiet. Rondal makes sliding doors complete with frames and control systems for plug-and-play installation by yards.