In Feadship’s care, old icons live forever

HAARLEM – Feadship has restored to splendor a 24m Caravelle (79ft.), one of 7 spectacular motor yachts the Dutch custom builder made in the 1960s in a partnership with legendary Italian designer Carlo Riva.

Launched between August, 1961, and October, 1965, the 7 Caravelles epitomize 1960s maritime cool. The latest refit, a one-year undertaking, was the 5th Caravelle. It was launched in 1965 and named Quien Sabe.

The current owners found it in the Mediterranean and ordered a Feadship refit that included stripping and rebuilding the engine room, installing 4 RotorSwing stabilizers, repainting the hull and interior and upgrading systems.

Feadship Caravelle

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 yachtbuilding ruined by World War II.

Refitted Caravelle

The newly refitted Caravelle is part of a global fleet of Feadship old-timers. “We don’t know all of them,” says Wim van Kampen, chairman of the Feadship Heritage Fleet that was founded in 2013. “We estimate there are some 300 that are older than 30 years.” They range from modest inland water cruisers to ocean-going craft.

Feadship built small yachts in series before 1949. But its talent for custom building revealed itself in the 1950s when Feadship’s De Vries yard explored new production techniques but stuck to building to customers’ wishes.

“The Feadship Heritage Fleet has some US members,” says Van Kampen. He is looking for more. “Given Feadship’s history and success in the USA, these owners and yachts ought to be part of the Feadship Heritage Fleet.”

The first FHF gathering took place in 2014 at the Feadship site in Aalsmeer, near Amsterdam. “It featured 18 classic Feadships,” says Van Kampen. By now, 100 or so FHF members and guests attend the annual Dutch gatherings. The 2019 event will be held in Amsterdam May 17-19. In the Mediterranean, classic Feadships show up for Monaco’s Grand Prix Historique, held every other year.

FHF is not a Feadship outfit but run by owners of classic Feadship. “The FHF is an ode to the craftmanship for which Feadship has been known for decades,” says Van Kampen.