As Dutch yards exit pandemic, they see news, good and bad

TER AAR – As the coronavirus pandemic fades, Vedette Shipyard boasts an orderbook that sprawls into 2023 and a new line of steel cruisers from 9.3 to 14.3m (30 to 47ft). But it is not all blue skies. Vedette Director Hans van Veen, along with other Dutch builders, worries about delivery times, rising payroll costs and a shortage of raw materials.

“Delivery times depend on the availability of raw materials like steel, wood and plastics,” he says.

“These are in short supply globally. That drives up prices. There are supply chain delays in upholstery materials, glass and cloth for sprayhoods. Add to that steel sector wage hikes of 8.5%. This will mean a 12% price rise for Vedette motor yachts.”

Van Veen has already delivered 7 yachts this year. Eleven more to go this year, 5 in 2022 and 3 in 2023.

Van Veen markets steel, semi-custom yachts in 7 model lines to 15m (49ft.). Unlike polyester, steel construction leaves ample room for creating highly different interiors and exteriors. “The client determines what we build”, says Van Veen, “we make an inventory of client wishes and experiences. When I have a full sheet of paper, that’s my cue to build a new model.”

And that’s how his latest model line came about.

Vedette 9.30 cabin Comfort

The Comfort Line, designed by Reinder Posthuma, sports spray rails and a sharp, rising bow, significant departures from other Vedette models. The Vedette Comfort Line is available from 9.3m to 14.3m (30 to 47ft.). Interior clearance is 2m (6.6ft). There are 2 fixed and 2 extra berths.

Some shipyards do all the work themselves. Others, like Vedette, contract out parts of the construction process to specialists.

Vedette uses, what Van Veen calls, ‘a carrousel’ of trucks doing the rounds of co-makers with expertise in a variety of disciplines: from the cutting, shaping and sandblasting of steel plates to the welding of tight, clean seals to pre-hull building positioning of holes and supports. From technical network providers to fairing, paints and coatings specialists.

The paint hall temperature and humidity levels are carefully recorded. That is important data for the application of layers of primer, paint and filler. Van Veen: “Before the carpenter starts, our technicians lay the cables while there is still easy access to the bow thruster, the ceilings etc.”

“No boat leaves our yard with a hidden defect,” says Van Veen. Nor without a festive, red carpet title transfer event. The new owner becomes responsible for the boat and Vedette Shipyard starts an ‘after sales’ phase in which it tracks all relevant yacht data in the cloud.