“The aim [of Monaco] for us is to produce more orders in this new segment of the industry,” starts Bijker. “Santa Maria, in terms of dimensions, was a big step for us as she is over a third larger than any of our previous projects.” Van der Valk already had the capacity to build such a yacht, but what had not been present was the desire or the signature, so the challenges that presented themselves were not matters of facility.
“We can build yachts up to 42m; what was new were the demands of the clientele. Owners are more demanding, have special requests, and there is a significant increase in third party involvement. This is what we adapted to,” explains Bijker.
Previous clientele had included local Dutch, Belgian and German owners who visited the yard once a month, or in some cases, once every two weeks to track progress and provide feedback. “However, the owners of larger vessels only visit the yard during the build - maybe four times a year. You see them less often, but the less you see them the higher the expectations are per visit,” he continues.
That being said, the owner is pleased with Santa Maria T and Van der Valk is now actively pursuing new clients for vessels up to 40m. “The success of one large vessel will hopefully lead to a lot of business for us, but we do not have any desire to grow in terms of employees and size,” says Bijker.
“The aim for boat show season is to attract new customers and we will also be in discussion with clients who are already close to a deal with us. We are moving very close to the signing of two contracts, a 27m and a 38m Continental Three raised pilot house.”
In a SuperyachtNews.com exclusive, Bijker also revealed that the name of the Continental Trawler will be changed to the Continental Four, “In order to match the current naming style and also so we can introduce the Continental Five.” The Continental Five will be a tri-deck explorer vessel with masculine lines available in the 35-42m range. Van der Valk also provided an exclusive look at one of initial concept designs. The official announcement will be made shortly before the Cannes.