By Robert Wielaard
Feadship is on an unprecedented roll. The Dutch superyacht builder says it will launch five yachts in 2015, ranging from 33 to 101.5 metres. It is now working on more than a dozen projects.
“Five yachts will hit the water this year,” says Feadship marketing and brand director Farouk Nefzi (image). “That’s a record. It’s amazing. Our order book is just stunning.” This year, Feadship finished the Symphony, at 101.5m the company’s biggest ever. It was built by Feadship’s Royal Van Lent yard.
Feadship’s fortunes are not unique but reflected right across the Dutch superyacht sector which ended 2014 with a record 70 orders, worth just over €4 billion.
Nefzi says while his yard’s output makes for ever larger yachts he insists “the length discussion is overhyped. Length points to volume, of course. But that is too simplistic. The length debate does no justice to what this industry is doing.” Much more crucial factors, he says, are innovation and commitment to R&D.
Feadship is strong in the 60-80m sized yachts. With 101.5m Symphony, it is looks like the company is snapping at the heels of Germany’s Lürssen Yachts but Nefzi sees no rivalry in length. Instead, he says, Feadship is boosting its R&D and “pushing the boundaries of innovation”.
The yard has created a task force to focus on better designs, more comfort and greener cruising. Factors driving that are the growing ranks of UHNWIs, green technologies and smarter ships. In recent years, Feadship has turned heads with the 83.5m, eco-friendly Savannah, featuring large glass hull surfaces, balconies and a sea-level swimming pool.
Symphony is the first Feadship yacht that complies with the new Passenger Yacht Code enabling the yacht to accommodate up to 20 guests.
Nezi says the USA accounts for half of the company’s business. Next are Europe. Asia and Russia. Feadship says it has not suffered much from Western Europe’s chilling relations with Moscow over the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in the Ukraine.