A tour to superyacht builders and their suppliers reveals an industry on a roll, with yards filled to capacity to meet demand for bigger boats. Robert Wielaard reports.

Superyacht Business took part in the annual press tour organised by HISWA Holland Yachting Group alongside fourteen international journalists who toured HISWA members Van Berge Henegouwen, Hakvoort shipyard and Feadship. The event revealed an industry on a roll, with yards filled to capacity and gearing up to meet the demand for bigger boats.

Feadship will soon start on its 4th yard where it can build to 160m. Due to open in Amsterdam in 2019, it’ll be its second with a capacity to build over 100m.

Similarly, Oceanco, Heesen and Amels have added massive air conditioned halls to their facilities. At the shorter end of the market, Van der Valk Continental Yachts, which builds to 45m, has been granted a permit to expand. Marketing manager Joeri Bijker says the company could double its capacity.

Bigger projects
Amels will be offering one-offs in the 80m-110m segment. Managing director Rob Luyendijk comments: “In the top segment of that market we are really talking about full custom.” Luyendijk said, however, that the company remains committed to its Limited Editions series.

Heesen Yachts just launched the 70m Galactica Super Nova, its largest ever. Built in only 41 months, it has Perry van Oossanen’s Fast Displacement Hull Form. Half of new Heesens now sport that bottom.

Suppliers also do well in the Dutch superyacht industry. Audio and video integrator Van Berge Henegouwen (VBH) will soon have offices in Fort Lauderdale, the Caribbean and Antibes. “Servicing client systems today accounts for more than half of our revenues,” says CEO Michiel Haverkorn van Rijsewijk.

In addition, Piet Keizer Marine Engineering just opened an Antibes office and will soon move into Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

Royal Huisman sibling Rondal just delivered a 70m carbon mast. The company has reduced its aluminum workshop to boost its composite parts manufacturing. “Since mid-2015, we have sold more than 100 composite hatches,” says sales manager Bas Peute.

The canvas side of the industry is reported to be in flux. Balk Shipyard has bought aluminum hull-maker Bloemsma Vitters Shipyard and Claasen Shipyards have pooled resources to boost choice. Vitters owns Britain’s composite specialist Green Marine whose expertise is now available to Claasen sailing yachts.

Vitters works on three yachts, including a J-Class. Managing director Louis Hamming says his innovation attracts business. “Five years ago, a retractable prop was not normal on a custom sailing yacht boat,” he says. Today, Vitters makes yachts with lifting keels, sophisticated winches and below-deck drums that stow away massive asymmetrical sails.