HEEG – In a country where shipyards offer a peerless choice in sailboats from 3.5 to 80m (11.5 – 262ft) and longer, Jachtwerf Heeg is no outlier. It successfully markets half a dozen sailboat brands. Importantly, owner Geert Wijma knows when and where to stop.
In 2021, he marked his yard’s 70th anniversary with a significant expansion. In 2009, he said architecture goodbye and began building sailboats by acquiring Jachtwerf Heeg with two other investors.
His timing was lousy.
The global financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 with the implosion of the Lehmann Brothers financial services giant was starting to bite. As demand faded, Wijma laid-off workers and almost lost his yard.
“We serve a niche market of small boats,” he tells this newsletter. “We don’t want to build longer than 10n (33ft) because of our production capacity.” That sounds easy, but it is not. In the Netherlands, large yacht builders have a vacuum effect, luring modest yards into building ever longer motor and sailing yachts.
Wijma may stop at 10m, but he adds, “We are going one step further in luxury and size with the Pointer 30. With that cabin sailboat, we stay in the lounge segment but with a high-end interior, including swivel chairs, separate sleeping areas and a toilet.”
His Pointers come in three lengths: 22ft, 25ft, and 30ft (6.7m, 7.6m, and 9.1m). The latter goes into production this year. Wijma has an uncommon marketing strategy: buyers can go
online to pick the colors of the hull and the interior, down to the cushions. They can also tick boxes to select the rigging size they want. And the type of keel. And as they tick boxes, they see the total costs of their prospective yachts.
The Pointer 30 has a base price of around €70,000. It sports clean hull lines, a roomy cockpit, quality deckware and an aft swimming platform.
“Everyone warned me about investing in a new sailing yacht,” he remembers. “But I had a very clear concept in mind: a handy, comfortable cabin boat with excellent sailing qualities and modern lines. A design for couples with kids, with a large cockpit, a closed transom and overnight accommodation.”
Wijma says he “cannot compete with the mass production of big-name French and German yards. But what we can deliver is quality and design for we build everything in-house. And what we lure to the Pointer-25 are sailors of large yachts who look for a more manageable boat.” Jachtwerf Heeg’s portfolio spans a broad range:
The Splash is a 3.5m (11.5ft) single-hander for teenagers. It has an unstayed mono rig. The craft is popular in Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, New Zealand, China and Panama.
- The G2 is a 7.8m (25.6ft) double-handed, classically lined boat with a revolutionary keel and a patented fold-away system for storing the outboard in a space behind the cockpit.
- The Randmeer, like the
G2, is a Van de Stadt Design. A 6.5m (21ft) open cockpit craft, it has served sporty sailors for over 50 years. Wijma restyled it in 1992 and, again, in 2008. The boat has two siblings: a touring and an advanced version.
- The 3.6ft (12ft) Olympia dinghy, introduced at the 1936 Olympics, is by now a “modern classic.” Wijma recently bought the build rights from another Dutch yard. “I expect to build about 10 over the next two years,” he says.
“We have built 54 Pointer 22s in six years,” he adds. Wijma’s Pointers come with a 10HP Yanmar diesel or a 4kW electric motor. The model comes off the boards of Peter Bosgraaf of Bosgraaf Yacht Design.
Recent years have been hectic. The expansion of Wijma’s fleet led to a significant addition of new build and storage capacity. His new production hall is for polyester processing for his brands and the Winner 8 and 9 cabin cruisers of Germany’s Nordic Yachting. His new cold-weather storage hall holds 170 boats.
www.pointeryachts.com / www.jachtwerf-heeg.nl