AMSTERDAM – After years at sea, large, complex yachts need a makeover. In recent years, Royal Huisman, the Dutch maker of one-off performance yachts, received a stream of maintenance, repair and refit orders. Not just for yachts it built, but also other yards’ boats.
Since 2019, its Huisfit unit, has been working in three halls on a deep-water channel linking Amsterdam to the North Sea, 20 kms (13 mi) away, and even closer to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
Its makeovers run from classification-driven refits to maintenance to refurbishing interiors. Royal Huisman’s home is at Vollenhove, an hour away, where it makes luxury sailing yachts. That is a niche business. Refits provide extra revenue.
“Refits are different from new build projects,” says Jurjen van ‘t Verlaat, Royal Huisman marketing and communications chief. “They take less time but can have hidden surprises. When a refit request comes in, a couple of colleagues visit the boat. They draft a list of what needs to be done, write a specification and draw up a planning schedule.”
Some examples of recent Huisfit projects:
— — The 52m Feadship-built Broadwater was launched in 2000. At the time, it was then the largest aluminum Feadship ever built. Broadwater was repainted and given a new stern that added 4 meters. “This refit required so much work, it amounted to a new build project,” says Van ’t Verlaat.
An external naval architect was hired to handle the configuration of the underwater hull. The yacht’s Chesterfield-style interior was replaced, its equipment upgraded and a new carbon mast unit, built by Royal Huisman’s specialist rig maker unit, Rondal, was installed.
— The 42m J-Class yacht Hanuman, built by Royal Huisman, underwent serious maintenance. Its owner is US internet entrepreneur Jim H. Clark who also commissioned Huisfit to work on his classic 1930s motorsailer Atlantide and his classic yacht Vagrant, a 37m (122ft) schooner built by the English yard Philip & Sons in 1913.
Clark is a Royal Huisman regular. The yard built for him the 48m (156ft) Hyperion and the 90m (295ft) Athena, a three-masted schooner, launched in 1998 and 2004, respectively. “I like the Dutch,” says Clark. “Like the Germans, they are precise, work diligently and focus on quality.”
— The two-masted, 58m sailing yacht Ethereal underwent a refit that includes regular maintenance and upgrading of on-board computer systems.
— And sailing yacht Juliet, a 35m ketch built in 1993 by Royal Huisman, received hybrid propulsion last year.
— Of a completely different order, was work on the 43m. J-class Topaz, built by Holland Jachtbouw and launched in 2015. The yacht was badly damaged in March 2020, when J-Class yacht Svea struck its stern in the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. The repair work was carried out by F. Bloemsma Aluminiumbouw of the Netherlands that built Topaz’s hull.