Dutch yard expands, plans to build J-Class racer

ENKHUIZEN – VMG Yachtbuilders has long been a gutsy yard, keen to take on challenging, one-off projects. But its next target truly takes the cake: It has plans to build a J-Class racer, one of those over-rigged sailboats that raced in the Jazz Age America’s Cup a century ago.

The J-Class project is part of a wider undertaking to ramp up its profile in yacht building, refits, maintenance, and brokerage.

J-Class Yacht TOPAZ Lanzarote November 2015

In this northern town – where the sea once misbehaved before it was tamed by a massive causeway – VMG Yachtbuilders is seriously expanding. It has bought the waterfront terrain and buildings of a neighboring yard, is building new offices and halls.

“Our ultimate goal is to build a J-Class yacht one day,” says VMG Yachtbuilders owner Tim van Daal.

Significantly, he has obtained the legacy of the former Holland Jachtbouw yard – its brands, logos, archives, drawings, designs and rights. Holland Jachtbouw tanked when its founder, Dutch businessman Chris Gongriep, died in 2016

No heirs wanted to continue the yard’s operations in the Port of Amsterdam. Holland Jachtbouw’s legacy includes the 40m (131ft) Rainbow and 43m (141ft) Topaz, two J-Class racers.

To keep the J-Class fleet and races alive, new class rules were established for Replica Rebuilds. There are now 9 such replicas. Two more may emerge in the years ahead.

To make its expansion possible, VMG Yachtbuilders has created VMG Group. It holds VMG Yachtbuilders, Holland Jachtbouw’s name and expertise, the For Sail Yacht brokerage and a Super Duplex steel unit. The group’s head of marketing, Barend Kol, is a sailing enthusiast and a participant in Olympic campaigns for the Netherlands.

Baruna of 1938

VMG Yachtbuilders has a solid history in building ‘future classics’ in collaboration with such legacy builders as Olivier van Meer Design, Hoek Design and Simonis-Voogd Design. This year, the company expects to complete the restoration of the 22m (72ft) Sparkman & Stephens-designed Baruna of 1938.