FRANEKER –To really grasp the quality of one-off Dutch-built superyachts, look no further than this town of 13,000 amid the emerald flatlands of the northern Netherlands. It is home to the yard Jelle Talsma launched in 1996, a modest, one-man boat building operation then.
Today, Talsma Shipyards is a prime builder of Dutch superyacht hulls stretching to 75m. Talsma is today a preferred supplier of steel hulls that meet the Lloyds, Bureau Veritas, Rina or ABS classification norms.
On a recent visit, this newsletter found the yard abuzz with projects: several superyacht hulls; an inland cargo vessel in the embrace of a crane; a 3-masted schooner awaiting an upgrade; the hull of a converted houseboat; the Netherlands’ last steam-powered grain elevator getting new rivets and steel pipes being transformed into floating jetties.
Inside, Talsma Shipyards worked on superyacht hulls that form a substantial part of the company’s workload.
“We do both new hull construction and repairs and maintenance,” says Project Manager Fonger Talsma, the founder’s son. “Last winter, we refitted a 44m Royal Hakvoort superyacht. We added a 3m swimming platform, modified the transom, renewed the stabilizers and did necessary paintwork.”
Recently, the yard also did significant maintenance on a 56m Heesen Yachts craft, refitted a 72m expedition yacht, which included rebuilding and extending the transom, overhauling the steering gear room, and fitting new windows.
Heesen Yachts, the yard likes to point out, is a repeat client. “We have a good partnership with them,” says Talsma. “So far, we have built 18 Heesen hulls. We are now on numbers 19 and 20.”
For Heesen, Talsma Shipyards conducted an optimization program to make more efficient use of steel, for example, by combining hull parts. Construction drawings were made clearer, more explicit. Also, drawings of profiles and sub-assembly drawings were refined.
This yielded major benefits for both parties: fewer parts mean less steel, less welding, less grinding. And that, in turn, saved hundreds of production hours on the shop floor and resulted in tighter hulls.
Last fall, Talsma turned the hull of a 34m Moonen 110 and started on the inside of the yacht: foundations, piping, outlets, stabilizers and underwater lighting. It delivered the hull in December. At the same time, it did maintenance on a 56m Heesen, whose hull it once built.
Talsma Shipyards consists of 5 divisions – shipbuilding, superyachts, ship repairs, constructions, and special projects.
The company works from three Dutch sites and employs 120 people, half of them permanent staff. It also targets the leisure sector with houseboats, converts inland cargo craft into houseboats and is now supplying 800 meters of jetties for an Amsterdam water homes project.