In early December 2017, the smaller of Jan Verkerk’s two yachts, 69.65m Sherakhan, emerged from the Icon Yachts shipyard in Harlingen, Netherlands, having completed a substantial refit in just three well-planned and well-executed months.
Verkerk’s acquaintance with the yard is enduring – his other yacht, 77.4m Legend, had a phenomenal conversion in 2014 – from a burnt and barely floating chassis into, in my opinion, one of the most inspiring explorer yachts on the water. Thus, his return to the yard with Sherakhan is unsurprising.
“It’s very important for an owner to have a good relationship with a good shipyard,” Verkerk explained, during an exclusive conversation with SuperyachtNews. “It’s much easier when you know what you can expect of each other. You have to be on the same page. I am an owner, captain and engineer, and I want to be dealing with a yard that I know is capable of delivering what I want to achieve and Icon was that yard.”
"Only Jan can do that amount of work in three months."
The most visible of the works completed during Sherakhan’s refit is her hull colour change from blue to white. Verkerk added: “All the technical spaces have also been painted; there are new decks over the whole boat; we did an interior refit on the salon, cabins and hallways; and there are new electronics, entertainment systems, navigation systems and new internet”. This follows a tenders and toys upgrade that was completed in 2016.
“The boat was completely taken apart,” said Jan Jaap Minnema, who is representing the sale of both Verkerk’s yachts at Fraser, in collaboration with co-central agent, IYC. “Only Jan [Verkerk] can do that amount of work in three months. He organises his refits in such an efficient way that he knows exactly where they will begin and end, and how long each part should take.
“He has a tremendous ability to make decisions on the spot, which speeds up the whole project. Because it’s very time-consuming, the process of preparing, meeting, discussing, agreeing, making decisions and having sketches pencilled – and then making changes to the sketches…”
The charter revenue from Legend and Sherakhan is Verkerk’s business income, so understandably he doesn’t want them out the water for long. Until this refit, the most significant refit work completed on Sherakhan over the past 10 years was the addition of some new furnishings, yet she’s managed to turn a profit in each of those 10 years, which is particularly impressive.
"It's very time-consuming, the process of preparing, meeting, discussing, agreeing, making decisions and having sketches pencilled – and then making changes to the sketches…"
They are almost perfect case studies for how yachts can be chartered. “Sherakhan does between 10 and 14 weeks of charter per year and Legend did 17 weeks in 2016 and 13 weeks in 2017. It’s all about putting a fantastic boat in a fantastic place for a fantastic holiday,” Verkerk said.
During this Caribbean season, Sherakhan will be donating a portion of her charter proceeds to rebuilding the Caribbean islands, following the destruction of Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year (click here to read more).
It came as a surprise to many when Verkerk listed the two yachts for sale in March 2017, but the yachts are realistically priced and he has said he is “very serious” about selling them and that the decision to do so is “nothing to do with the business, but my personal life and retirement plans”.
Verkerk said he has received a number of enquiries since the Monaco Yacht Show and is in the process of trying to get deals together. After the yachts are sold, and he has passed on his heritage, he plans to remain in the industry and impart his wisdom on a consultative level for owners looking to complete significant refits or conversions.
Pictured: Sherakhan, post-refit (image one) and pre-refit (image two).