World Exclusive - MY Skat_ Lürssens Project 9906

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					THE YACHT REPORT            Incorporating   THE WOOD REPORT
ISSUE 49                                                      SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2002

           World Exclusive - MY Skat, Lürssen’s Project 9906
                       SETTING THE STANDARD
                                     DUTCH              INDUSTRY                  REPORT

For many years the Dutch yacht industry has been recognised as         various figureheads, it becomes clear that they enjoy a friendly
the market leader, providing clear indications of market stability     rivalry and camaraderie that allows the sharing of knowledge and
and activity. In June we spent fours days touring a cross-section      experience to filter throughout their domestic resource pool.
of the major Dutch yards, gathering market information and             There is constant evidence of this, such as research projects,
activity updates. Our tour’s focus was the current new-build           joint facility testing and technical institutes focusing on the
activity, projects on the drawing board, future expectations,          maritime sector. In addition, the prolific growth of their
enquiry levels, plus any major expansion plans for the individual      commercial shipping industry has similarly filtered down to the
yards. It is fair to say that there are no exceptions to the list of   yacht sector, ensuring that they stay ahead of the fleet.
seven yards that we visited. All have good levels of new-build         Only the German industry offers competition to the Dutch business
activity, healthy order books and enquiry levels, with dynamic         model, with similar high-tech support, highly sophisticated yards,
plans for the future. The most important fact, however, is that        research and test facilities, plus highly progressive manufacturing
everyone is remaining cautiously optimistic about the future of our    in the commercial shipping sectors. In our opinion, no other
industry. Nevertheless, expansion plans are in place at most yards     countries are better positioned for significant market growth than
and staffing levels in the major yards are at their highest for some   Holland and their neighbours Germany. The other regional
years. Providing the Iraqi situation does not explode and the          sectors, Italy, America and Australia, plus the smaller groups in
markets do not implode any further, their client confidence should     the UK, France, Spain and Turkey, all seem to have adopted the
remain high, pointing towards further orders into the remaining        concept of working together. However, due to geographical split
half of the current decade. After all, any client discussing a         or location, they do not appear to have reached the same co-
project today will not expect to see the fruits of their discussions   operative technical and business mix, apart from perhaps the New
until after 2005.                                                      Zealand group MAREX.
There have been several theories about the success of the Dutch        Over the next three years, many significant yachts will leave Dutch
industry, ranging from high levels of co-operation and support         waters for the distant locations on our myriad oceans and seas.
from neighbouring companies, ‘marine clusters’ as they are now         As they sail off into the sunset, the yard workers and management
referred to, through to marketing expertise and brand                  quickly tidy up the remains of hand-over parties and get back to
development. All of this is enhanced by HISWA, the Dutch Export        the job of building the next generation of yachts, in many cases
Association, which regularly provides its members with a high-         with the next generation of workforce. De Vries, Van Lent,
profile presence at major events around the world. A variety of        Huisman, Vitters and many more recognisable surnames grace
similar export associations has evolved over the past few years,       the overalls of the craftsmen creating these masterpieces, even
to assist in the development of our regional industries, with          those of the junior apprentices. This is another positive sign for
varying levels of success. The Dutch, however, have led the way,       the Dutch industry and its future.
and due to their expanding number of member companies, the             The eight yards featured in this report are in the order of our tour
pooling of resources will no doubt ensure that they maintain this      only and not of importance. For each yard we have focused on
position.                                                              four key areas – current projects, future enquiry levels and
When touring the yards and discussing the industry with the            prospects, development plans and areas of progression.
                                                        DUTCH YARD REPORT

                   ROYAL HUISMAN                                             activity, explaining that enquiry levels are still high, but primarily
                                                                             from European clients. The type of projects in discussion range
This is not an unfair statement, but I can honestly say that if I was        from 40m to 70m, all sailing yachts, some with existing clients and
going to build a yacht – and could afford to do so, of course – this         some brand new. Wolter explained that he expects to see some
yard would be my first choice. At the moment, however, it would              enquiries from motor yacht clients after the delivery of the S.Y.
probably only measure 1.6m l.o.a., but it’s a start!                         Athena. The volume, silent running and stability issues added more
                                                                             benefit than was previously expected by these ‘stinkpot’ clients. It
Projects                                                                     was clear from our conversations that the negotiation process has
The yard is currently active with three projects, with the brand new         evolved, with significant developments in bid spec’s and
50m S.Y. Borkumriff IV recently delivered prior to our visit. The            preparation. The complexity and detail required added serious
40m Dick Young-designed S.Y. Cecilie Marie is nearing completion             workloads to the yard, with two months allocated and a budget of
and should be ready for hand-over in August. This project is                 approximately 30,000 euros for each bid package. He explained
currently for sale due to financial difficulties encountered by the          that their research has indicated a client base of just over 200
current client. At 15.8 million euros, this full MCA yacht will be an        clients worldwide for their product. From their existing client base
ideal project for an impatient client who wants a stunning brand             they enjoy a 40% repeat ratio, and at any one time they are in
new yacht in time for this year’s Caribbean season. Their most               discussion with six clients for projects; all of which indicates a
impressive project to date, the 89m (including spars) S.Y. Athena,           small but solid foundation for business.
is taking shape in the brand new build hall. Slated for delivery in
September 2004, this project is testing the yard to the full, with a         Plans
whole host of new systems being implemented. Finally, they have              Over the last six years, the management has made significant
recently secured a new project from the drawing board of Bill                investment for the future, with a focus on consolidation of the
Dixon, again at 40m, but with a ketch rig. The Antares project will          operation, including the Rondal mast division, into one central
hit the water in March 2005.                                                 location. Their aim has been to improve efficiency and logistics, all
                                                                             of which has been achieved through internal discussion and
Prospects                                                                    experience. The current level of investment has reached
As you would expect, any yard at the top of the industry’s                   12,000,000 euros, which includes the first, second and third
evolutionary scale will enjoy good prospects. Huisman are no                 phases of development, and comprises the new canteen, design
exception. Wolter Huisman gave an insight into their current client          offices, new major build shed and the furniture factory. The final
                                                                             stage that has received local approval is the relocation of the
                                                                             Rondal factory on to an adjacent site at a cost of 4,500,000
                                                                             euros. In addition, Wolter explained that their next level of
                                                                             investment will include further high-tech machinery, including a
                                                                             450,000 euro, six-axis milling machine for high-accuracy modelling
                                                                             of wood work, modelling and complex structures, all of which are
                                                                             demanded by today’s clients and their designers.

                                                                             In simple terms, Huisman are continually making progress in all
                                                                             areas of their business. With a current staff level of 330 and a total
                                                                             number of man hours reaching 500,000 per annum, they need to.
                                                                             In terms of technical progress, the yard is an innovator. This was
                                                                             evident in the creation of the project S.Y Hyperion, but, as is often
                                                                             the case, this demand for innovation is owner-driven. Similar
                                                                             technological advances will be evident on the new project for the
                                                                             same owner, on board S.Y. Athena. These will include brand new
                                                                             insulation materials developed in conjunction with Illbruck in
                                                                             Germany, the integration of a spray-jet nozzle system into the
                                                                             yacht’s rub rail for hull cleaning, newly developed water-tight doors
                                                                             in conjunction with Feadship – which offers a significant weight
                                                                             saving, and finally the introduction of the first application of the
                                                                             Corus aluminium Coraldec into the interior deck (see issue 36 for
                                                                             product news report). In addition to the efficiency of building the
                                                                             interior floor system more efficiently, the yard had created an
                                                                             intelligent framework on which to support the Coraldec floor
                                                                             approximately half a metre above the actual floor level. This
                                                                             allowed the workforce to work at a much more comfortable level
                                                                             on the overhead pipework, wiring and other aspects of the upper
                                                                             most parts of the interior, removing the need for internal scaffolds
                                                                             or ladders.
                                                                             Although I might be slightly biased, the yard always demonstrates
                                                                             intelligence, efficiency and incredible levels of quality, but without a
                                                                             shred of arrogance. In reality, they are great people to work with. In
                                                                             order to experience this first hand, they anticipate the next available
                                                                             build slot will be for a 40m project, for example, delivered by the
                                                                             end of 2005, whereby drawings and specifications need to be
                                                                             completed by May/June 2003. Sorry, Wolter, I won’t be ready.

                                                            THE YACHT REPORT
                                                         DUTCH YARD REPORT

                           VITTERS                                            panels, with a sandwich core of 22mm foam, the yard is faced
                                                                              with problems of attaching handles, hinges and other metal
Our next port of call after Huisman was the smaller Vitters facility,         hardware to this ‘empty’ material. Methods of reinforcing the
located at nearby Zwaartsluis. The yard’s director, Jan Vitters,              panels with ply and other materials have been a technical solution
spent ten years at the Huisman facility as service manager, prior             to a common problem that the yard’s team has had to solve.
to setting out on his own shipbuilding quest.                                 Carbon fibre has been the other obvious solution to the weight-
                                                                              saving demand, with floor plates and carbon-fibre hatches being
Projects                                                                      incorporated into the design. The overall weight saving that has
At the time of our visit, the yard had just launched their latest             been achieved exceeds 30 tons. With the high-performance
project, the 43m sloop S.Y. African Queen, which was undergoing               requirements of the Dubois project, coupled with the carbon fibre
final tweaks prior to delivery. Their two sheds housed two further            dagger board that delivers a further 1.8m draft to the bulb keel,
projects – firstly, the 42m Dubois-designed S.Y. Whirlaway, and the           the Whirlaway project should show a good turn of speed. In fact,
larger project, the 54m classic Andre Hoek-designed S.Y. Adele,               the project is scheduled to travel by lift-ship down south to New
was taking shape. These projects are scheduled for delivery at the            Zealand, in time to compete for the Millennium Cup, purely to save
end of 2002 and the early part of 2005 respectively.                          on wear and tear prior to the racing.

With two main build sheds of 70m and 50m in length, two projects
can be accommodated at any one time; therefore, their next build
slot is early 2003, although work could obviously start earlier in
terms of planning and development. Enquiry levels are similarly
high to Huisman’s, and with an organisational structure of 55 full-
time staff and the remaining workforce hailing from sub-
contractors, their management issues are more controllable. With
two projects in build at any one time, Vitters seem to demonstrate
future stability. By concentrating on quality issues, they will no
doubt enjoy good prospects as more and more of their projects
enter the world’s fleet. Both the S.Y. Timoneer, delivered in 2001,
and the S.Y. African Queen were built for experienced captains
and owners, another important indication of their rapid ascent to
being another player in the sailing scene.

Jan Vitters provided little indication of major expansion plans for
the facility. However, he maintained that the yard’s focus will be
on quality, coupled with a high level of after-sales service. With
such a controllable operation, you can understand that their plans
will be simple and effective. Why expand beyond your needs? Just
keep the business on an even keel. His main statement related to
quality, explaining that with five other yards in the world seen as
his main competitors, three of which are in Holland, he will aim to
provide their mutual client base with the best price-to-quality ratio.
(No information was available about how their prices compare.)

Pieter Lassche, one of the yard’s four project managers,
explained how the yard is making progress in technical terms.
After the first ten years of operation it has been clear that their
projects are evolving, in terms not only of size but also technical
complexity. By operating with such a small yard team, they rely
heavily on the technical input of sub-contractors, but also their
own teams are constantly striving to keep up with developments.
(Lassche himself hails from Nirvana Spars, concentrating on
masts, rigging and deck systems for eight years.) One of the
typical aspects of their current projects is the demand for
lightweight, higher-performance yachts, the focus of which is the
vessel’s internal space. By working with Soundown in the USA,
they have incorporated a new lightweight insulation, Polymite. An
example of its effective weight saving is forward of the first
bulkhead area on the new Dubois sloop, where this zone’s
insulation weight is recorded at 12 kg. In fact, the fasteners of the
insulation material weigh more than the material itself. One of the
inherent problems with the demand for lightweight interiors and
structures is the content of the structure and how little support it
can provide for fastenings. In this case we are referring to doors
and cabin hardware. With lightweight panels comprising 4mm ply

                                                             THE YACHT REPORT
                                                        DUTCH YARD REPORT

                          MOONEN                                             Their philosophy encompasses an on-going testbed for problems
                                                                             and technical solutions, and by working with a variety of local sub-
Projects                                                                     contractors, they feel comfortable in creating new working
Renowned for their stylish 80 footers, with high quality engineering,        practices and discovering ways of improving production. Sound
high-specification steel hulls and pocket super yacht image, the             insulation and noise and vibration control are two principal areas
Moonen brand has enjoyed a stable platform for many years, with              that they have been working on. They discovered that the quieter
one or two yachts hitting the water with consistently high quality.          the yacht becomes in one area, the more noise is apparent in
The 83ft range, developed in 1989, has seen seven versions                   others. One main aspect referred to is the propellers, for
delivered; also an 89ft version has entered their stable.                    example. Originally, over two and a half tons of noise insulation
Furthermore, in 2001 a new classic line of 84ft was conceived and            were used to dampen the noise created by a four-bladed
the first project, M.Y. Mimi, was delivered last year. The second            propeller. After further tests and calculations, they discovered
84ft will be delivered this year, with a further three in production,        that a correctly designed propeller, with one more blade, worked
the fourth being built speculatively. Their largest project to date,         better with their hull form and the required insulation was
M.Y. White Heaven III, was delivered last year, and at 36.4m with a          significantly reduced.
price tag of US$11 million, it provides a very competitive product           Another significant development is the use of a joint extrusion with
for the market place. In addition, in a joint venture with Bradford          their window manufacturer Rafa. This incorporates an integrated
Yachts in Fort Lauderdale, they have started work on two identical           insulation compound within the frame. The aim is to reduce
Vripack Design projects, destined for the U.S. market with an                condensation within the window cavity. The resulting problem was
equally attractive price. These are all aluminium projects with vast         to calculate how to weld such a product; this is an on-going
interior volume for their 24m l.w.l, coupled with a workboat style           research project. With nylon bushes to create a safe connection
bulwark exterior line and wheelhouse. These will no doubt be                 between the dissimilar metals and protection of the insulation
comfortable cruising yachts for northwest US waters, but, equally,           material, they have almost solved the issue. When the next project
they would not look out of place in the Caribbean.                           hits the water, we plan to see all these aspects incorporated into
                                                                             the yacht, and to report on many more of the details that this
Prospects                                                                    evolving yard is developing.
Four years ago the current managing director, Emile Bilterijst,
took over the reigns of the shipyard and started on a mission to
build a more dynamic operation with a specific range of projects
that met market expectations. He focused his attentions on the
23m to 40m projects. While in negotiations with some new clients
for their latest yacht, he got more than he bargained for. This
group of four brothers and their mother admired the company so
much that they acquired 80% of the stock from the previous
majority shareholder. The Snowie family, hailing from Scotland,
whose fortune was amassed by dealing with mess (they specialise
in waste handling and sewage treatment), have decided that yacht
building is an industry they are passionate about. They want to
use the Moonen brand as an entry strategy. At a later stage we
hope to arrange a meeting with the new shareholders and discuss
their plans more fully.

Our host for the visit was Pim Kuijper, one of the yard’s senior
project managers, whose previous experience was gained during
five and half years in the Heesen drawing office, checking all
construction and design drawings. He explained that with all their
aluminium projects, they have secured a working arrangement
with a Polish facility to build the hulls and superstructure. This
allows them to be more efficient in the Dutch facility and ensure
that the existing sheds can be used for more of the final
engineering work and cosmetic aspects. They are discussing
plans for an additional shed, whereby the two existing sheds can
be configured for finishing. Their current temporary arrangements
include using the steel fabrication shed, which obviously is not
ideal. But with only two yachts in build at any one time, the steel
production time can be controlled and will reduce cross-over of

Whenever we have had the opportunity of viewing a finished
Moonen, we cannot help but be impressed with the final product -
a simple well-engineered yacht that looks happy at sea, even at
24m l.oa. Behind the well-executed cosmetic façade is seen the
true expertise of this small yard. Their technical ability is always
improving and, within their small team of 50 full-time workers, the
expertise is focused on woodworking, systems and engineering.

                                                            THE YACHT REPORT
                                                        DUTCH YARD REPORT

                           HEESEN                                            displacement, steel and aluminium hulls, the task becomes even
                                                                             more complicated, but somehow they manage it. The primary
                                                                             reason for this is continued expansion of the facility to
Projects                                                                     accommodate the necessary workflow. A few years ago we visited
With 15 yachts ordered since the start of the millennium, all of             the shipyard and the dramatic improvement to their efficiencies
which are scheduled for delivery before the end of 2005, this                and yard floor operations bears witness to their rapid
operation clearly demonstrates the level of activity that our                transformation. You get a productive feeling when walking through
industry has enjoyed recently.                                               the yard, things are definitely happening at Heesen.
Four of the 15 projects were delivered in 2001, not an easy task
for any shipyard. Hans van Aartrijk, the yard’s sales director,              Prospects
explained that to maintain this activity is the hardest part; selling        The future seems to reflect the brightness of today’s order book,
the contracts over the last four years was much less difficult. The          with one or two management plans. As is always the case, many
industry was in a dream world. Over the coming twelve months,                companies like to study business models in order to gain
three further projects will be delivered, possibly four. This                knowledge of improving their market share. Previously, clients
becomes a complex task, with high pressure exerted on the                    came to Heesen for fast semi-displacement yachts, due to high-
management structure. With motor yacht projects ranging from                 profile projects such as M.Y. Octopussy. However, the
30m to 46m, and vessel types including displacement, semi-                   management has recognised that the displacement hull is part of
                                                                             their future. In addition, they also have high demands to deliver
                                                                             large numbers of projects in record time. This, as for any custom
                                                                             yacht builder, adds unnecessary pressure. By studying
                                                                             organisations like the Damen Group and the Rodriguez Group, the
                                                                             potential of delivering a Heesen concept with a semi-custom
                                                                             specification may be their answer. The facility expansion could
                                                                             provide three sheds for semi-custom yachts and two specifically
                                                                             for the full-custom range. This would allow them to service their
                                                                             market well and still develop the business. Their next available
                                                                             build slot is the end of 2002, with a scheduled delivery of summer
                                                                             2005. With over 25 potential clients in discussion with van
                                                                             Aartrijk, it would appear that this slot might soon disappear.

                                                                             Many yards focus their attention on technical developments and
                                                                             expansion of the facility. It would appear that Heesen over the
                                                                             past few years have made a variety of steps already that indicate
                                                                             their next focus is how they do business. With high levels of
                                                                             demand and clients visiting a whole variety of yards, getting
                                                                             everyone to run around after them, the sales process seems to be
                                                                             the one area that is ready for change. Van Aartrijk has looked
                                                                             closely at ways of improving the productivity of working with
                                                                             clients. Contractual arrangements are definitely an area of
                                                                             concern for all, and one of the ambitious steps taken by Heesen is
                                                                             the addition of a standard three-year warranty for all their yachts.
                                                                             This will cover all aspects of the yacht and, for a minimal extra of
                                                                             50,000 to 60,000 euros, an additional engine warranty will be
                                                                             incorporated. Items such as flying servicemen for remote
                                                                             warranty cover will be part of their programme, as will the
                                                                             introduction of a standard MCA Certificate on all new builds from
                                                                             2003. To make life easier for the client, they are discussing a
                                                                             variety of finance options that can be written into the same
                                                                             contract, to allow clients to see all their options. The specification
                                                                             will also attempt to include everything in the agreed price. The
                                                                             margin will be calculated to facilitate change orders at the yard’s
                                                                             expense and without discussion. Additionally, the yacht will be
                                                                             delivered complete and turn-key. One further area to protect the
                                                                             builder, however, is the concept of build slot reservations,
                                                                             whereby if a client is serious, a 500,000 euro deposit guarantees
                                                                             an agreed build slot, thus ensuring the client’s commitment.

                                                                             With such a prolific order book and the opportunity to deliver a 30m
                                                                             20 knot motor yacht for 6.9 million euros, progress can only be
                                                                             described as good. The foundations for this sound business model
                                                                             will allow the yard to expand according to their market demands.
                                                                             Also, until 2005, they have a solid order book, so any market change
                                                                             can happen without a huge impact on their current business. The
                                                                             next three years will therefore be interesting for Heesen.

                                                            THE YACHT REPORT
                                                        DUTCH YARD REPORT

             HOLLAND JACHTBOUW                                               issues at stake, their knowledge is still very vague as to the
                                                                             benefits versus extra cost. In many cases, the issue is one of
Projects                                                                     safety, which they understand, but invariably it is the brokers who
Once again, prior to our visit, a major project had left the yard. In        are selling it as a resale issue This is where it clouds the
this case, the S.Y. Windrose, at 46m plus, had left several months           judgement. Owners want to know are they getting a better boat.
earlier. She recently completed an impressive Transatlantic
Challenge with the 58m three-masted schooner Adix, both yachts               Progress
arriving back in Cowes prior to our arrival in Holland. Hot on her           With the financial stability offered by their principal shareholder
heels are two very different projects - the Dijkstra-designed 32m            and the level of projects they are currently working on, coupled
cutter rigged Christoffel’s Lighthouse and the Ted Hood Group-               with the average age of their three operating directors, the future
designed 35m sloop, S.Y. Whisper, both for US clients. The first             looks bright for this fledgling shipyard. Their knowledge base and
project is scheduled to launch in October this year, with an early           business strategy point towards delivering a well-priced product
2003 handover. The Whisper project is scheduled for an April                 with some good inherent technical features, including excellent
2003 launch and delivery at the beginning of the Mediterranean               hydraulic systems, utilising two to three electric pumps off the
season. In addition to the prolific sailing projects that Holland            main engine power take-off, running through a ring main system
Jachtbouw has become renowned for, they have a new departure                 throughout the yacht. Valve blocks and electric pumps create the
in build – their first motor yacht project. The project, at 31m, is          necessary pressure at the required location. For example, the
again for a US client, and from the board of Bill Langan, this US-           bow thruster can consume the necessary power while the main
styled semi-displacement yacht, with a top speed of 27 knots,                engine is running, rather than from the gensets, reducing any
promises to expand the yard’s horizons. With the hull currently in           power starvation. In addition, in conjunction with De Keizer, they
build in their sub-contracting yard in Enkhuizen, the vessel will            have developed a double-bus system that has been class
soon arrive in the main facility, ready for completion, which is             approved by Lloyds. This saves on the amount of cabling
scheduled for spring 2004.                                                   required, plus offers a significant weight reduction, allowing more
                                                                             flexibility elsewhere. We plan to talk to De Keizer in more detail at
Prospects                                                                    a later date when the system has been installed.
Four and a half years ago, the operation moved to the current
facility, under the control of the founding shareholder and yacht
owner Chris Gongreip. He has stepped down from the day-to-day
operation, leaving the control now to his three co-directors, all of
whom are in their early ’30s, providing a good base for the long
term. Victor Caminada, the yard’s sales director, explained that
business has been good in recent times, and with each delivered
project the enquiries change and evolve. In fact, since the S.Y.
Windrose launch, enquiries have expanded further into the larger
yacht segment. This ensures that their business will focus on the
80ft to 150ft projects. However, their main build hall could be
extended to accommodate projects of up to 170ft if required. At
the moment, their main production hall can accommodate one
45m+ project and the second hall can facilitate two projects in
the 30m+ range. Once the Christoffel’s Lighthouse project has left
the yard, there is an immediate slot to start a new project. What is
important, however, is to start the process now, with all its pre-
engineering and planning. With the hull due for delivery to the yard
in January 2003, this will ensure a new delivery in early 2005. At
the moment, Caminada reports high levels of interest and
negotiations in place, with eight serious enquiries from both
Europe and the U.S. They are currently working on a sister ship to
S.Y. Christoffel’s Lighthouse, which is 20 feet longer and,
depending on the bid specification, pricing is approximately six
million euros. This is highly comparable to the New Zealand yards
and well below their main competition in Europe.

Their current order book and future plans look healthy. The boom
in the last few years seems to be driving clients on to bigger and
better projects. However, as the yards reach capacity across
Holland, the one issue that needs addressing is the capacity of all
the various sub-contractors common to the high number of
shipyards. It would appear that this key issue is being addressed
and the more projects that are signed, the more the sub-
contractors are gearing up their production capabilities. In
addition, the yard is very keen to adopt the MCA Code as a
standard procedure for all projects, with the majority of their
yachts operating under the Cayman Flag. This is an education
process that is on-going with clients. While they are aware of the

                                                            THE YACHT REPORT
                                                      DUTCH YARD REPORT

                  AMELS SCHELDE                                           scheduled to arrive at the facility early next year, also 52m, but
                                                                          one of which is from the board of Alberto Pinto. These are due to
Projects                                                                  be delivered in late 2003 and early 2004. At the Makkum facility
The Damen-owned Amels facilities have recently expanded from              back in the north, the recent departure of the 62m M.Y. Sarah
the Makkum yard in the north of Holland to incorporate an equally         project has made space for the 73.2m hull arriving in September
impressive facility in the southern most part of Holland in               for build number 442. This will accompany the Disdale-designed
Vlissingen. This new addition to the organisation currently houses        55m project, build number 439, which will leave in early 2003
two major projects in the principal drydock – build number 435            and again make way for the new 65m Franchini design, build
and build number 440. The first project is the M.Y. Solemar,              number 446. As is clear from this hive of activity, both facilities
under build supervision and control of our old friend, Captain            are working hard on several significant projects, with many more
Julien Joualt. Julien has eaten, slept and dreamt this project for        on the drawing board or negotiating table.
several years and it was good to catch up with him and see the
progress that is being made on this new 61.5m Mick Leach                  Prospects
design. Yard number 440 is an adaptation of the highly                    In terms of major plans and projects, many projects in the 50m to
successful Tigre D’Or series. Both projects are scheduled for             100m range are being discussed, including build number 444, a
delivery in the spring of 2003. Two further projects are                  93m project with lines and construction drawings in progress. In
                                                                          addition, two 100m+ projects are also at negotiation stage.
                                                                          Looking at the new facility, they would be able to accommodate
                                                                          comfortably these projects under cover. In fact, the main frigate
                                                                          building dock at the Amels Schelde yard in Vlissingen will be
                                                                          vacated at the end of 2003 and will allow the organisation to
                                                                          provide a significant and secure facility for these ‘giga’ yachts.
                                                                          Although the facility covers a huge acreage, it provides a facility
                                                                          for a variety of marine projects and is wholly owned by the parent,
                                                                          Damen Group. This allows them to use the space very efficiently:
                                                                          the engineering division of the original Royal Schelde company,
                                                                          the gears division and other businesses could, in time, provide
                                                                          some levels of support to the Amels operation. In addition,
                                                                          significant areas are being sold back to the town for real-estate
                                                                          development. Over the next five years this new Amels facility will
                                                                          become a major player in the large yacht sector.

                                                                          In order to achieve this position, they have identified the key areas
                                                                          that require focus. Due to the collapse of the Royal Schelde
                                                                          operation a couple of years ago, a redundant labour force is in
                                                                          plentiful supply. Although they currently operate with 35 full-time
                                                                          Amels staff at this facility, they operate with 120 additional
                                                                          shipyard staff from sub-contractors and hired labour for specific
                                                                          workloads. In addition to construction workers, they recognise the
                                                                          need for design and project staff. This is another area where they
                                                                          are seriously recruiting for the long term, and coupled with a
                                                                          trainee scheme for the development of a future workforce, the
                                                                          Schelde operation is clearly not a short-term project.
                                                                          The principal dry dock, housing build numbers 435 and 440, has
                                                                          been refurbished over the past twelve months. All aspects of
                                                                          workflow and sub-contractor integration have been other areas to
                                                                          concentrate on. The main dry dock is neighbour to a significant
                                                                          floor area, where specific workshops and offices have been
                                                                          created. This provides all the necessary sub-contractor support
                                                                          for the projects in close proximity.

                                                                          With nine significant projects on order and clearly more to come,
                                                                          progress in business terms can be described as positive. The
                                                                          important factor to consider is the level of management expertise
                                                                          that can cope with the sudden explosion of their business. It has
                                                                          evolved from a company that historically had two yachts in build
                                                                          at any one time to one that now expects to have five in build at
                                                                          their main facilities, plus more in planning, design and build stage
                                                                          at other Damen-owned suppliers. The steepest learning curve has
                                                                          to be at the management level. All signs point in the right
                                                                          direction and providing the next three years’ worth of orders
                                                                          meet client expectations, this financially sound organisation
                                                                          promises to maintain its position in the top echelons of the yacht
                                                                          building hierarchy.

                                                         THE YACHT REPORT
                                                      DUTCH YARD REPORT

                       HAKVOORT                                           This yacht was nearing delivery and is due to hit the water in
                                                                          September 2002. Three further projects were on order with this
Projects                                                                  small family-owned yard. It demonstrates the fact that small is
At the time of our arrival at the yard, our host was unavailable.         still beautiful and equally successful. A 46m Vripack-designed
Klaas Hakvoort had to leave for a meeting on board the recently           motor yacht, M.Y. Family Daze, was at the hull construction stage
launched M.Y. Campbell Bay, the 44.6m motor yacht that was due            in a sub-contractor yard further south. This project, hull number
to be in the Mediterranean for the owners’ first cruise. We caught        235, is scheduled to hand over in November 2003. One of their
up with the yacht following our tour and Captain Michael Howorth          largest projects, Espen Oieno-designed at just under 50m, will
spent some valuable time with Captain Rusty Allen on board his            arrive at the yard in November this year and will be accompanied
new command, see page 93.                                                 by a 29m river barge, designed by H2 Design. This is a
The next project scheduled for completion was the 33m M.Y.                replacement barge for the owner and creator of the Tigre D’Or
Midnight Saga, a replacement for his smaller cruising yacht that          series at Amels. With such a small facility, it’s hard to imagine
lives in the northern European waters.                                    where these projects will evolve from, but they assured me all
                                                                          had been planned and would happen, as it has done in the past.

                                                                          Hakvoort are currently expanding their interior construction
                                                                          facilities as they recognise that the requirements and standards of
                                                                          interior construction have increased every year. In order to stay
                                                                          competitive, they want to build at least 50% to 60% of the
                                                                          interiors in-house. At the moment, this percentage is 35%. As part
                                                                          of their on-going development, they have just completed the
                                                                          construction of a dock in one of the existing sheds and have
                                                                          completely rebuilt the management offices, captain’s offices and
                                                                          storage facilities. They are now investigating the building of a third
                                                                          construction shed, scheduled to take place in about six years
                                                                          from now. Hakvoort have already purchased the necessary
                                                                          property for it. This clearly demonstrates how serious they are in
                                                                          their plans for the future.

                                                                          Although their enquiry levels are currently low, the shipyard still
                                                                          has a good solid order book, with three yachts in build. In
                                                                          addition, they explained that they are close to signing a new
                                                                          contract. This would fill the order book completely until the end of
                                                                          2004, so they currently have no need to worry. Demands for build
                                                                          slots is still high and with their next slot available in 2003, we can
                                                                          indicate that the next 18 months will be a crucial time for clients
                                                                          who wish to see their new projects hit the water in 2005.
                                                                          Hakvoort explained that for yachts ranging from 35m to 50m,
                                                                          their next available slot is May 2006 delivery, and for yachts up to
                                                                          35m their next available slot is February 2005, although contract
                                                                          negotiations suggest that they are close to selling it any time after
                                                                          that and delivery will also be May 2006.

                                                                          Hakvoort explained that they follow the market in technical
                                                                          development through their sub-contractors. This is not unusual for
                                                                          small yards which do not have the capacity for in-house
                                                                          development. However, they constantly strive to improve their
                                                                          construction methods every year, especially their methods of
                                                                          interior construction. The interiors are built completely outside the
                                                                          ship, with finished walls and ceilings. All equipment is then
                                                                          installed before to check position and location. Following this, the
                                                                          interior is dismantled and installed on board. In our experience,
                                                                          this method makes the shipyard unique.
                                                                          Their principal competitors are Heesen, De Vries and Royal Van
                                                                          Lent (Feadship) and Amels for yachts under 50m. Their major
                                                                          competition is therefore located in the Netherlands. Pricing is
                                                                          equal or less (5%) than Heesen, 15% less than Amels and 25% to
                                                                          30% less than Feadship. They claim that they can deliver a yacht
                                                                          equal to or better in quality than Feadship or Amels, against very
                                                                          competitive pricing. They claim this is due to their very low
                                                                          overheads, in-house sales operation, good productivity and the
                                                                          team spirit of the workforce. Witnessing the quality of M.Y.
                                                                          Midnight Saga, it is certainly hard to counter their claim.

                                                         THE YACHT REPORT
                                                          DUTCH YARD REPORT

                          FEADSHIP                                             impressive and technically interesting projects to wear the
                                                                               Feadship brand.
During the tour, we spent part of our time at the brand new                    Prospects
headquarters of Feadship and De Voogt Naval Architects, in                     Hein Velema, Feadship’s marketing director, was our host for the
Haarlem. The initial impression is more super-high-tech architecture           tour and he gave an insight into the level of activity the
practice meets New York advertising agency rather than a yacht                 organisation is enjoying. Enquiry levels are still high and clients
design team, but perhaps that is where we are all heading, with the            are still keeping the yards on their toes with more advanced
complexity and size of today’s projects. In addition to the obvious            projects than before. He clarified the point, though, that the
investment in this new facility, where a team of 75 design and                 clients are in less of a hurry than before. They are more aware of
management specialists create every conceivable detail required                the planning issues for these complex projects and are willing to
by the two yards, we also witnessed their recent investment in the             accept longer delivery times. During our walk through the vast
new Royal van Lent facility on Kaag Island. It is fair to say that with        offices of De Voogt, the walls were pasted with drawings and
a consistent production level of three to four yachts per year,                plans for a whole host of new projects currently in discussion and
equating to 18 yachts every five years, the Feadship organisation              negotiation. Unfortunately, my spy camera was not working and,
is clearly still at the top of the custom-yacht tree. Their current            as is the case these days, the information available on these
order book demonstrates this clearly, with three projects at the De            projects remains sketchy and under wraps. Suffice to say, the
Vries yard and four at the Royal Van Lent facility, all scheduled for          prospects for Feadship look healthy, with many clients still holding
delivery over the next three years. De Vries currently have a 65 m,            them in high esteem.
a 38.5m and a 70.6m all in build and scheduled for launching in
2002, 2003 and 2004 respectively. Royal Van Lent, however, have                Plans
a 42.5m, a 51.75m and a 46.5m, scheduled for 2002 for the first                The centre of knowledge – as the new De Voogt office is referred
project and 2003 for the second two. Plus at the time of our tour,             to – has been created with knowledge-sharing as their principal
a brand new project had just arrived under a veil of secrecy. In               focus. The 2500m2 office provides perfect space for all the
fact, we were unable to tour the project. However, we believe that             necessary disciplines to work closely together, in an effort to
this 80m+ project will be delivered in 2004. No further details are            constantly improve the product. Their new design suite includes
to be published, but we understand that she will be one of the most            the latest 3D design and CAD CAM systems to enable the yards to
                                                                               build their projects with a new level of accuracy. The project
                                                                               drawings can be supplied to the yard’s project teams directly from
                                                                               the design office to the computers in the build facility. The
                                                                               accuracy of lofting has reached a tolerance of 0.5mm. This
                                                                               enables the manufacturing process to require little or no changes
                                                                               to the plans. As is the case with all complex designs, the need for
                                                                               information has expanded proportionately. In fact, the number of
                                                                               drawings over the last ten years has increased from 80 to
                                                                               approximately 450. This requires extra workloads for all
                                                                               disciplines. As with complex designs, a more rigorous specification
                                                                               is required, which always adds time to the process. When a client
                                                                               understands this and sees the process in action, it leads to a more
                                                                               realistic programme of build. This becomes an important
                                                                               development in the process of building a quality product.

                                                                               We completed our tour with a visit to the new Royal Van Lent
                                                                               facility. The upgraded sheds and dry docks have created an
                                                                               admirable facility for building yachts with high levels of efficiency.
                                                                               We saw the four current projects in build, one of which, due to
                                                                               client illness, has recently entered the market for sale and was
                                                                               littered with brokers all making inspections with new, impatient
                                                                               prospects in mind. The most advanced (in production terms)
                                                                               project due for delivery at the end of this year was the 42.5m
                                                                               Explorer-styled yacht M.Y. Andiamo. Captain Bob McGarty spent
                                                                               some of his valuable time to proudly show us around his first new
                                                                               build. Although the project is not a high-tech yacht full of gadgets
                                                                               and wizardry, she has been carefully thought out for the type of
                                                                               operation that her owner needs. Most interestingly this includes a
                                                                               huge galley arrangement on the main deck forward. This suggests
                                                                               that the owner will most probably use it as a place to hang out in
                                                                               the way that people do in a kitchen at home. Above the galley is
                                                                               the bridge, with its reversed angle windows and commercial-ship-
                                                                               style layout. This yacht is destined to travel the oceans. It’s
                                                                               refreshing to see a yacht designed and built for the intended
                                                                               purpose without over-the-top input from a designer or stylist,
                                                                               creating something that the client does not need or want. This
                                                                               yacht has been built for the client with the client’s input evident
                                                                               throughout. We look forward to seeing the finished product.

                                                              THE YACHT REPORT

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