Dirk de Jong

Oceanco is the name behind an impressive list of superyacht builds over the last year, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be resting on its laurels any time soon. We visited the Allblasserdam shipyard last week and caught up with head of design Dirk de Jong to talk current projects, PYC and innovation.

“She is definitely something new for us,” says Dirk de Jong, manager of design projects and R&D at Oceanco, as we walk past a large model of the 85m sailing yacht that the yard is currently building. A collaboration between Oceanco and fellow Dutch yard Vitters, the sailing yacht project - known as Y711 - is one that sees the yard working with Vitters and Tripp Design to complete a hull originally built by Zwijnenburg with superstructure by Aluship. De Jong tells me that they worked on the design with the owners, Vitters and Bill Tripp for six months before starting work. “We did have to adjust our way of working to bring together all these groups,” he says, admitting that this new direction for Oceanco could be seen as risky. But he stresses that the people working on the project mean that it has been a risk worth taking: “As long as you have the right people around you, you shouldn’t be afraid of taking risks.” Y711 is due to delivery in 2015 and while it is certainly the shipyard’s first sailing yacht project of this size and nature, De Jong says that if the opportunity arose, the yard would certainly consider working on another yacht like it.

A model of the PYC-compliant Y709 at Oceanco.

En route to the shed to take a look at Y711 and the 85.5m Espen Oeino (Y710) that is in build as well, we passed the 91.5m Y709, recently returned from her sea trials. Designed in-house, De Jong tells us that she is not only the very first yacht Oceanco has built to PYC standards but also the very first PYC superyacht built in the Netherlands from start to finish. De Jong confessed that as a result, building to PYC was far from straightforward. “Everyone is looking at how to interpret the code,” he says. “There is usually a difference of opinion on how to interpret it, especially on aspects like the interior. The restrictions are strict but they are also not specific so everything is open to interpretation.” De Jong explains that often the classification society won’t even have the answers, meaning solutions needed to be developed. With the fire breaks for example, he tells us that there was no answer forthcoming about how they needed to be incorporated and as a result they are different throughout the boat. “Trial and error is fine if you have the time,” says De Jong.

For De Jong, it all comes down to innovation and moving forward. “It is in the yacht industry’s interest to search for the boundaries and push them,” he says.

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