On an exclusive tour of the Van Lent and De Vries shipyards, following the Global Superyacht Forum, The Superyacht Group team gleaned a remarkable insight into the strength behind Feadship. With 1,265 metres of yachts on order and a diverse range of projects in build, the Dutch superyacht brand is on a roll. However, both Henk de Vries and Royal Van Lent director, Jan Bart Verkuyl are quick to point out the challenges of the marketplace since 2008. “The secret of our success is partly down to us building to a zero margin immediately post-GFC,” says Verkuyl, “which meant that we were able to keep our skilled workforce.”
Flexibility is also key to the marque’s success. “We can build from 110 feet to 110 metres,” De Vries quips, and there is little doubt that Feadship is one of the world’s leading examples of a true custom builder. As Verkuyl admits, the brief foray into platform yachts, with the SL39 and F45 models, proved that semi-custom was not the business model for Feadship, and that remains true today. “We are totally focused on custom builds,” Verkuyl emphasises. The result has been some extraordinary recent launches, from 2008’s Predator to Steve Jobs’ yacht Venus, Como and the hybrid-powered Savannah, but these hark back to a long history of innovation that includes groundbreaking yachts such as Azteca and Paraiso.
Such advancement remains a cornerstone of Feadship today. "We will be seeing some very exciting and different designs from Feadship, and it’s important that we show our radical side as well as out traditional Feadship style,” Verkuyl explains. “In fact we have always delivered radical design. The challenge is to innovate. We see most growth in the 70m-plus market, with outside space a key factor. Owners today want to be outside, in touch with the sea and enjoying the environment.” It’s a philosophy that is obviously striking a chord with clients – Feadship’s packed order book means that the next available delivery slot is in 2020.