AMSTERDAM –. There are 300 or so reasons why Feadship, builder of pure custom superyachts, boasts about its knack for innovation, style and quality. All 300 – the number of Feadships built since 1920 – speak for themselves, but none louder than Zephyr, a sleek 15m motor yacht launched in 1939.
A painstaking restoration has returned Zephyr to former glory, 8 decades (!) after it was built. Feadship archives tell us the craft was tank-tested prior to construction and has had several owners, including a Greek who added a flybridge and 2 stern drives.
Jeroen van der Toorn, the current owner, found Zephyr in 2016 in a dismal state, the victim of a refit gone awry for lack of funds.
Zephyr’s original launch did not go unnoticed. In August 1939, Yachting World magazine wrote about her “modern design” and twin V8 engines.
“Very rarely is it considered worthwhile to carry out a series of tank tests of a motor cruiser of less than 50ft,” the magazine article began. “But it is occasionally done in Holland if a high-performance is required. In the case of Zephyr this was very carefully carried out in the tank at Wageningen and it is to the credit of the designer that the scale model showed practically a straight line resistance curve up to 19 knots.”
Today, the city of Wageningen is the home of the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands, the world’s largest, independent hydrodynamic and maritime technology research organization.
Zephyr’s original owners, identified as “the Smit family,” acquired the yacht for 14,000 guilders – only €6,363 today, but no doubt a hefty sum back then.
Feadship has presented Van der Toorn’s Zephyr with a ‘Feadship Authentication Certificate,’ making it the first Feadship Heritage Fleet member so honored. Receiving the certificate, says Van der Toorn, “is the icing on the cake” for the yacht’s restoration.
It future-proofs Zephyr’s value. The yacht was restored at Younique Yachts, a Dutch classic yachts builder, under Feadship’s supervision. “Everyone involved in this project has done a tremendous job in bringing this beauty back to life,” says Feadship Refit & Services Director Pier Posthuma de Boer.
The Feadship Authentication Certificate is an industry-unique system, a seal of approval for Feadships that have been maintained to an exceptional standard of perfection.
Feadship’s roots go back to 1849. Its constituent members have always been a handful of family shipyards. In 1949, they and naval architect Henri de Voogt, founded the First Export Association of Dutch Shipbuilders to target US clients and revive Dutch yacht building ruined by World War II. That has worked like a dream.