By Robert Wielaard
Feadship oozes confidence these days. The Dutch company scored a hat-trick at the 2014 World Superyacht Awards gala in May and these days is working on eight new-build projects of up to 100m. That kind of workload is 50% more than Feadship had in recent years of economic slump. Yard officials say the pre-2008 boom days – when global output of superyachts reached 270 a year – are not coming back, but Feadship will remain a dominant force.
“Those boom years saw the emergence of many speculative builders, adventurers,” Farouk Nefzi, Feadship’s marketing and brand director, tells SB. “I don’t think we are going back to that, although it actually makes little difference to Feadship. In days when global output of superyachts went as high as 270, or as low as 100, Feadship always had four to six new-build projects going.”
These days, the company is on a roll. At the 2014 superyacht gala, Feadship’s 99m Madame Gu was named “Superyacht of the Year” and also won top honors as ‘Displacement Motor Yacht of 2,000GT and above.’ Feadship’s 62m Sea Owl was named best ‘Displacement Motor Yacht of 1,300GT to 1,999GT.’ That hat-trick has filled officials at Feadship with a palpable sense of pride. Feadship CEO Dick van Lent says his yard has a knack for innovation that translates into 40% of its clients returning for as second or a third project. He loves to tell the story of an 80-year-old client who came back for a second Feadship yacht project. “At age 84, he came back for his third Feadship,” says Van Lent.
Feadship delivered the Andrew Winch-designed Madame Gu in 2013. It is the largest yacht ever built in the Netherlands. It can achieve top speed of 25 knots and features a fully enclosed helicopter hangar. The projects Feadship is working on today include a 92m yacht whose 12m swimming pool is fringed by a spa, lounging and shower areas and shows the shifting tastes in superyacht features. Feadship says it completes all the engineering – mapping out the cable, pipes, fuel lines, light fixtures, bulkheads, panelling etc – before construction begins. According to Nefzi it ensures construction is an efficient, surprise-free process.
Feadship, says Nefzi, positions itself to be attractive to clients “looking for a company that offers value for money, has a good reputation, can handle the ups and downs of the market.” The company points to a recent survey that found Feadships “to hold resale value better than most other brands,” said Nefzi.
Feadship has launched more than 250 superyachts since 1949. The company is a cooperative of two yards – Royal van Lent & Royal De Vries – and the maritime engineering company De Voogt Naval Architects.