Moonen 100' Explorer Yacht A Shipping Magnate Builds A Small Ship! Review by Judy Waldman In the clichéd terminology of small ship and expedition vessels, the Moonen 100 Explorer sets a new standard of understated elegance with a yacht that seems simplistically contemporary in her motoryacht persona, yet offers the robust underbody to voyage anywhere in confidence. One would expect no less from Moonen which has provided pedigree of builder, naval architect, designer, and owner to create this cosmic beauty with global aspirations. Rien Moonen was the eldest of 11 children born into a Dutch family paint company founded by his father in 1928. After studying commercial painting and attaining degrees, including 10 diplomas in painting, Rien worked in the family business and eventually, upon his father’s retirement, took over the company ownership and operation at age 28. With the continued and improved profitability of the paint business, Rien Moonen built a new boat for his family’s personal cruising at the de Ruiter shipyard then building motor cruisers under the names of Sea Star and Ocean Star. The 11 meter steel cruiser Rien ordered in 1963 became the anchor for Moonen Yachts. Rien ordered subsequent personal de Ruiter yachts including a 19 meter delivered in 1976. Through real estate development and business expansions, Rien eventually acquired the de Ruiter Shipyard which at that point had built over 300 yachts. In 1981, Rien received his first order for a custom build at the renamed Moonen yard in Den Bosch, Holland. During the next 18 years, Moonen built 35+ yachts between 59 and 108 feet primarily in steel although in the later years constructing aluminum hulls attaining speeds of 30 knots. In 1998 Rien Moonen called on Emile Bilterjist, a naval architect and a project manager at Damen Shipyards, to revitalize the Moonen yard. Emile eventually became an owner partnering with a well-known Scottish yachting family; today Emile is still an owner and the managing partner. Since 1998 Emile achieved success in building Moonen yachts up to 150 feet. A second yard, less than 50 kilometers away from the original de Ruiters yard, was opened in 2008 in Groot-Ammers to accommodate the larger yacht construction. Moonen proudly boasts more than 75 yachts in its fleet. The introduction of the Explorer Series in 2003 brought more success to Moonen’s highly acclaimed displacements models. In 2007 Moonen launched a 94’ aluminum 26 knot custom yacht named Nilo. More than half of Moonen owners have subsequently ordered an additional Moonen. And that includes Salim Erdem who after enjoying his Moonen 94 Nilo set his goals for distant horizons. In 2009 Salim bought out the Scottish family and he and his family became the majority owners of Moonen Yachts. This ownership served well for not only the construction of Salim’s personal yacht, but saw the sale of additional hulls. However, the calling of the sea after the Moonen 100 Explorer launching compelled Salim to sell the Erdem family shares in Moonen Yachts.