WAALWIJK – Van der Valk Shipyard will deliver this year ‘Lady Lene,’ a 34m aluminum explorer for which it has reeled in notable names in the Dutch superyacht sector. It is a ‘threshold’ yacht, on the cusp of superyacht territory, a segment the Dutch yard excels in.
Lady Lene’s owners, a South American couple, were so pleased with their previous Van der Valk, they returned to the company’s yard in Waalwijk, a town of 50,000 in the watery southern part of Holland, and ordered Lady Lene.
It is a custom project, fully wheelchair-accessible, with an elevator connecting all decks, a superstructure with large windows and wing stations for easy mooring.
At 34m, Lady Lene sits just inside superyacht territory that starts at 30m. The yard excels at making ‘threshold yachts,’ shortish craft, perhaps, but packed with stem-to-stern superyacht quality.
In recent years, Van der Valk has marketed several high-end yachts of just under or over 30m. Right now, this is harsh territory. Industry data show tepid sales in the 30 to 36m segment.
“One of the reasons for our success is our ability to enable an enormously productive collaboration between designers, owners, suppliers and the shipyard. By bringing in the best people for the job, we are assured of flexibility, specialization and superior solutions for clients,” says Bijker, head of sales and marketing at Van der Valk.
Van der Valk spent years making yachts of 20m, “but that market is locked up,” says Bijker. “So, over the past decade our yachts kept going up, to 25m, to 30m as clients pushed for yachts that are ‘little bigger’.”
Lady Lene’s owners came to Van der Valk by way of Fort Lauderdale-based YachtCreators, a company that scouts builders worldwide for one-off projects: sportfishing boats, trawlers, tenders, fast motor yachts, superyachts etc. Van der Valk also worked with YachtCreators on the 27.5m Leven, a Vripack-designed yacht that won the ‘New Series’ award at the 2020 BOAT International Design & Innovation Awards.
For Lady Lene, Van der Valk reached out to Guido de Groot Yacht Design, Ginton Naval Architects and Diana Yacht Design (for engineering and construction drawings). Lady Lene sports a Hull Vane, an underwater foil behind the transom that saves fuel and generates a comfortable and quiet ride.
Lady Lene has a wave-piercing, ‘fast displacement hull’ and can accommodate eight guests, with a VIP passenger cabin on the bridge deck, a balcony and a rear terrace. The owner’s suite with an office is located on the lower deck, along with 2 double cabins in the bow and a single cabin. There are 4 cabins for a 7-strong crew.
The main deck has a ‘dining room’ with ample natural light, a large open saloon and a generous swimming platform. The ceilings are high everywhere – a specific wish of the owners who also asked for uninterrupted floors, wheelchair access and an elevator. “By now, of course, you’ll get that this is a full-custom yacht,” says Bijker.
And what makes a 34m Van der Valk an explorer yacht? “To us,” says Bijker, “an explorer yacht is a craft that can make a trans-Atlantic crossing on one fuel tank (Lady Lene’s fuel capacity is 30,000 liters), can handle rough weather, be ‘autonomous’ at sea for 2 or 3 weeks and can store garbage on board for that long.”