WASPIK – Invite yachting media types to your yard and you have a captive audience to hear the story of you and your brand. In 2017, this true-and-tried marketing trick had an eye-opening effect on Van den Hoven Jachtbouw. “We hosted visiting journalists from Italy, Spain and Scandinavia,” owner Bart van den Hoven remembers today.
“We showed them our steel-hulled Executive motor yacht series. They loved the design and the finishing of our boats, but said I’d not be able to sell my yachts in their countries. Far too slow! The long distances there require a yacht to achieve at least 21 knots.”
The comment did not fall on deaf ears. Van den Hoven commissioned designer Rene van der Velden to draw a fast, 18m yacht. It will boast a Van Oossanen Fast Displacement Hull and twin, 6-cylinder Volvo Penta engines (2 x 725HP each) for a maximum speed of around 21 knots. The new yacht will have a plumb bow and be an edgy, aluminum-hulled addition to the yard’s portfolio of steel cabin cruisers ranging from 15 to 21m (49 to 69ft.) .
Van den Hoven is not alone. Recent visits by Dutch Yacht Building to half a dozen yards making motor yachts to 30m showed half engaged in adding fast series to their portfolios.
Unlike many Dutch yards, Van den Hoven Jachtbouw’s pedigree does not go back a century. Bart van Hoven, a trained carpenter, began building a 10m yacht in his backyard as a hobby in 1992. But like the vast majority of Dutch builders, he builds in steel.
His Executive series now runs from 15 to 21m, yachts designed for navigating Europe’s inland and coastal waters. He launched a 17m Executive MK2 fairly soon after introducing his new 1500 Mk2 and 1850. Van den Hoven reports significant market demand for yachts around the 17m and 18m marks.
Today, he builds his 53rd yacht. His planing Voyager series is for people looking further afield. “This could include anything from sailing from fjord to fjord in Norway,” says Van den Hoven. “Or island hopping in Greece, or circumnavigating the British isles.”
Increasingly, Van den Hoven is focused on reeling in refit work to keep existing clients.