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Special Feature: The 2010 HISWA Yacht Valley Tour!

Discussion in 'Special Features & Live Show Coverage' started by YachtForums, Jul 16, 2010.

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  1. 2010 HISWA Yacht Valley Tour
    A Dutch Treat for Yacht Lovers!

    by Carl Camper​

    Translated into English, HISWA is an acronym for the "The National Association of Watersports
    Industries in the Netherlands", an organization that promotes the Dutch Yacht Building Industry.
    Each year, HISWA organizes special tours for the media, naval architects and interior designers, to visit
    selected yards and become more familiar with their manufacturing processes, engineering and capability.​

    The organizers of the 2010 HISWA Tour made an extraordinary, well orchestrated effort to accommodate writers from all over the world with travel, hotel, dinners and drivers. None of the attendees needed to be concerned with navigation, accommodations or scheduling. It was all done for us, so we could concentrate on the task at hand… to be better informed about the Dutch yacht building machine.

    Over the course of the five day event, visiting 2-3 shipyards each day, I came away with a new level of respect for the logistics these yards are managing. I was also impressed with the “anything is possible” approach behind their engineering. These are the people that most of us will never meet, but they are shaping the future of design, engineering and execution. As an engineer who has been exposed to most facets of boat building, I found the depth of knowledge, attention to detail and work ethic among the project managers, design engineers and craftsmen was exemplary. It is worth noting; some of these yards compete with one-another, but each of them was respectful of their competitors and in most cases, would refer a client or customer if another yard was better suited. It appears the Dutch are not only great craftsmen, but ambassadors to business too!

    Surprisingly, many of the yards use the same contractors, shuffling them around as needed, helping to further hone and diversify their skills. In fact, it’s so common that we saw workers in one yard wearing the t-shirts of another yard. Much like the World Soccer Championships, the Dutch Yacht Industry rallies to support a common goal; to take care of the people that help them produce some of the finest yachts in the world. The pride these people take in their work is evident at every turn.
  2. Monday, June 14th​

    HISWA Conference

    The HISWA tour began Monday morning with a conference at the Wyndham Apollo Hotel that focused on the state of the Dutch yacht building industry. The Dutch yards are taking an optimistic, but guarded approach in the current economy by taking proactive measures to cut costs, consolidate and streamline operations.

    During the new millennium run-up and the explosive growth of new yacht builds, a number of new yards from around the world entered the fray. In contrast to Holland’s established builders, many of whom are family-owned with decades of experience; these new yards have yet to weather a downturn, and certainly nothing like the financial crisis we face today. The Holland Yachting Group maintains the yards under their fold have a unique advantage in the market. They have generations of craftsmen to pull from, all geographically concentric and they have used profits over the past decade to invest in infrastructure.
  3. Feadship’s Royal Van Lent Yard

    Royal van Lent has been building increasingly larger yachts and due to space constraints, they will undergo a major expansion starting in August, which includes an underground extension for prop clearance on larger yachts, in addition to widening the hall doors and moving the dry-dock door five meters forward. Royal Van Lent will also see widening the locks in the nearby city of Gouda from 12 to 14 meters. The bridges in the towns of Oude and Nieuwe Wetering will also be extended to the same width, with an expected completion date of 2012.

    And why is Feadship plowing the ground beneath them, busting down bridges and stretching sheds? Supersize orders! As of June 2010, here’s the latest yet-to-launch list…

    #681 206’ Redman Whitely Dixon Design
    #682 265’ Remi Tesser Design
    #801 223’ Rodney Black Design (Lady Christine)
    #802 254’ Eidsgaard Design
    #804 146’ Sinot Design
    #1002 288’ Sinot Design
    #1003 288’ Sinot Design
  4. To give you an idea how Royal Van Lent has outgrown their island, here’s the house Dick Van Lent grew up in, withstanding the test of time, right smack in front of the Van Lent yard and taking valuable dock space.
  5. The yachting press was greeted by Henk deVries, Dick van Lent and Francis Vermeer among other Feadship dignitaries. Dick gave a brief presentation about Feadship’s order book and expansion plans before embarking on tours of the Van Lent facility, including an F-45 and the newly splashed ‘Lady Christine’.
  6. In the conference room, I turned to look outside and found the stunted growth version of Lady Christine waiting patiently by the window. But something unusual was happening. It was a sunny day, yet it appeared to be raining on Lady Christine...?
  7. And it was! The helipad washdown system was engaged on Lady Christine to ensure the boat was clean prior to the press coming aboard. Seriously, this system was being tested during our visit. It is used to quickly dilute and evacuate aviation fuel in case of a spill, or worse, in case of a fire.
  8. If Christine’s exterior styling looks familiar, you may recall its Oceanco-built predecessor. Here, she is a little light on the water, still waiting on some added weight, such as the interior, tenders, etc.
  9. Tuesday, June 15th​

    Vitters Shipyard

    After a night of sleep that is best described as jet-lag, the sequel, probably due to a bed bought from Fred Flintstone, I found myself in uncharted waters, heading for a shipyard I only knew in name. I knew Vitters built blow boats, but I wasn’t aware of the number of sticks they’ve raised. During our tour, Vitters was putting the finishing touches on Marie, a 180’ Ketch that is the sister-ship to Adele, an old-school, double deckhouse delight with all the right modern touches, such as Alustar construction, a light weight interior, composite rigging and high modulus carbon spars.
  10. Unusual for a flash-back build, Marie will have a fold-out beach platform on her port side. Workers, by the dozens, are scurrying with last minute details. At the time of the HISWA tour, Marie was 3 weeks from going maiden.
  11. Vitters director Louis Hamming took us through Marie, pointing out aspects of the build and Vitters approach to shipbuilding. Louis is a very detailed gent that knows every aspect of his builds, from engineering to design and every reason behind.
  12. The all-black, carbon fiber masts were built by Southern Spars and are a work of art. Wiring harnesses await hook-up after the sticks are raised.
  13. Royal Huisman Shipyard

    The review I wrote on Royal Huisman’s “Athena”, the largest review on YF has received a little over 213,000 views… and for good reason. These folks really know how to build a sailboat! This aerial image of Royal Huisman gives you an idea of the magnitude of the operation, with nearly 400 employees. The building to the right is Rondal’s facility, where sticks and drums are made by a band of Dutch rockers.
  14. Huisman's current hallelujah is "Twizzle", which should be renamed Baffle, because she’ll leave most sailors bewildered. If Twizzle sounds familiar, it was the name of the owner’s previous Feadship. And now it’s a sailboat, which gives new meaning to the term Twizzle Stick. I took a ton of detail shots, but none of them come close to the details displayed in these shots of the model, shown here...
  15. A few things have gone missing on this sailboat with sequential sticks, namely the equipment needed to sail; like capstans and such. The owner of Twizzle set a clutter-free build directive, void of the typical trip & fall hardware found on the deck of most sailboats. And this mandate carries over to everything. From pneumatics to associated paraphernalia, everything is cleverly hidden from sight. The result is boat with clean, uninterrupted lines. Baffling? No, dazzling.
  16. Twizzle’s tenders are hidden behind massive port/starboard deck hatches with an embedded crane at centerline, keeping roll momentum minimized and equidistant to each side. Notice the pair of Rondal winches located under the centerline crane door. See the next photo for a close-up.
  17. Rondals proprietary, lightweight, reduced signature carbon winches are hidden under deck hatches, away from view. The engineering behind this build far exceeds most motoryachts, but it’s the stuff you can’t see that leaves you baffled. The hydraulic system alone must take miles of pipe!
  18. Among many engineering challenges, Twizzle will feature a fold-out stern platform, again void of anything that reflects the mechanics behind the contraption. It’s almost indicative of the way most mortals look at a mechanism. They don’t want to know how it works; they just want to see it in action. Too bad, because they’re missing the beauty behind it. And the brains.
  19. Wednesday, June 16th​

    Hakvoort Shipyards

    As one of many Dutch Treats, we visited Hakvoort Shipyards in the town of Monnickendam, which should be renamed Hakvoortville, because the village sprawled as a result of Hakvoort. 95 years young, this yard has been the foundation the local economy for decades and Hakvoort owns a fair amount of land around town, giving them investment income that will withstand economic downturns. While the yard is conservative in size compared to some of the yards on the tour, it was rich in experience and may be one of the most fiscally sound. They don’t have a lot of overhead and their infrastructure has long been amortized. They maintain a small, full time crew and sub-contract as needed. It’s a mindset that has kept them in business for nearly a century.
  20. Although Havvoort has a highly automated woodworking shop located off-site, they still do a few things the old-fashioned way using a few tools from yesteryear. The tool shop, located near the main shed is a throw-back in time. While it’s not state-of-the-art, the machinery used is still just as viable today, especially for one-off pieces. In fact, some of these tools are actually better for short run production, requiring less programming, but decidedly more skill.
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