2019 marked seventy years since the formation of Feadship. While the three main participants in the First Export Association of Dutch SHIPbuilders all have histories dating back decades further, the official establishment of what is today the world’s leading superyacht brand took place in a café in Amsterdam in 1949.
Capri, crowned Queen of the 1953 International Motor Boat Show.
Capri was crowned Queen of the 1953 International Motor Boat Show. Feadship’s high quality impressed judges and owners alike, who were especially wowed by Feadship’s skill with steel, which was rarely used for yachts in North America at the time.
Having set up his own yard in 1913, Henri de Voogt went on to become one of Holland’s greatest designers, working with both the Van Lent and De Vries yards before the establishment of Feadship. Joining the group in 1950, Henri designed many Feadships and played a pivotal role as the lynchpin between the Feadship families.
Dutch Treat 1954 – designed by Al Mason. Few people know that Feadship has a fine fleet of sailing yachts, that were launched until 1972.
As orders started flowing in for motorboats in both steel and aluminium, Feadship stopped building wooden yachts – Souris II in 1955 was the last.
Feadship had now firmly established itself in the lucrative American market and was coming to the attention of some pretty famous people, including Malcolm Forbes, who commissioned the first of three The Highlander Feadships in 1957.
1967 launch of the second of three The Highlander Feadships commissioned by Malcolm Forbes
Onlookers stare in amazement as Feadship Sunrise navigates the narrow roads of Amsterdam en route to the 1962 HISWA boat show. The yacht had already been bought by beer magnate Freddie Heineken but she certainly made waves as the largest yacht displayed to date in an indoor exhibition.
This photo from 2003 captures the spirit and the flair of a man who was a great friend of Feadship for decades.
Carlo Riva designed and built countless beautiful boats in his lifetime, and his projects with Feadship in the 1960s (including Sunrise) have gone down in yachting legend.
Senior naval architect Bastiaan Vermeer (second right) is congratulated by Joh & Henk de Vries and Jan van Lent on being awarded the Order of Oranje-Nassau after forty years of service to both Feadship and his country. In addition to his incredible work at De Voogt, Bastiaan was a powerful force in promoting Feadship as a brand, travelling to visit clients the world over at a time when that was a very different proposition compared to today.
Cees van Lent joined the yard that would later bear his name in 1917 and ran it on his own from 1947 onwards. A prolific designer as well as an expert boatbuilder, Cees was also chair of Feadship from 1950 to 1963. He was delighted and honoured to welcome Prince Bernhard (left), the consort of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, on board the Feadship Billow at the 1960 Amsterdam boat show.
Another Feadship client known the world over was Henry Ford, who caused great excitement every time he visited by handing out gifts to the children of the yard’s workers. In this iconic shot of the christening of Ford’s 33-metre Santa Maria, the captain’s wife Ruth Hargrave gets ready to smash the champagne against her giant bow.
Feadship launched no fewer than 106 yachts during the 1960s, with an average size of 20 metres. The largest of all was Westlake III, launched in 1966, whose 45 metres and three decks placed her at the vanguard of a growing superyacht industry.
The hands-on involvement of clients embracing the Feadship build experience is not a new phenomenon, as this image from 1971 shows. The construction of Kapal IV not only pleased her commissioning owner Lou Kapelski: it has also stood the test of time, with the yacht (now named Victoria) recently completing an exciting circumnavigation of Tasmania.
Talking of fascinating interior features by Pierre Tanter, here’s the hospital he created for Al Riyadh. This 65-metre Feadship was insanely large for the time and remained the longest member of the Feadship fleet for many years. At the start of the three-year build in 1975 the yard was too short to accommodate her and the nose protruded out of the back façade, covered by sails. As one might expect, when completed, Al Riyadh was the most luxurious yacht anyone had ever seen.
“Our history illustrates our ongoing quest for pure custom creation”
The 1970s saw the emergence of dedicated interior designers who were not attached to any single yard. One of the first Feadships produced by such a star was LAC II, launched in 1975. Pierre Tanter created a lavish, Oriental-style interior with highlights such as an exotic trompe l’œil in the main salon and wallpaper with an Asian bamboo motif in the beauty parlour, complete with barber’s chair.
Henk van Gerven, Theo van Lent and Jan van Lent in front of the Feadship Agrippina in 1970. After Cees van Lent passed away in 1963, his sons Theo and Jan took over the Feadship Van Lent yard together with Cees’s right-hand man Henk van Gerven. Dick van Lent also describes Henk as his mentor, illustrating his key support role to three generations of the Van Lent family.
When Feadship established its own office in the United States in 1977, the ideal candidate to become general manager was Don Kenniston. Previously captain of the Feadships Jardell and Big R, Don remained at the helm of Feadship America for 21 years and cemented Feadship’s profile as the go-to-brand for US owners seeking premium quality.
Stopwatch in hand, Frits de Voogt takes a keen interest in the sea trials of one of the many Feadships to which he contributed design and naval architecture. His career spanned almost five decades from the time he started taking over the reins of Feadship De Voogt from his father Henri in 1958 to his retirement a few years shy of the new millennium. Now in his nineties, Frits remains an inspiration to all who know him and his work.
The fourth of eight Feadships called Gallant Lady was launched in 1988. She encapsulates the visionary ideas of the owners Jim and Jan Moran, including a highly detailed interior and a request that the tenders be concealed so as not to spoil the lines of the yacht. The Feadship engineers devised a way to stow the tenders under a special hatch, raise the deck at the push of a button, hoist them up with stainless steel cables and lower them over the side using crane beams. This ingenious solution swiftly set a new trend for tender storage.
1986 was also the year when Malcolm Forbes took possession of his final Feadship called The Highlander. The original design was for a classic canoe-stern yacht but that all changed when Malcolm visited Holland and saw Azteca under construction. Jon Bannenberg was asked to create a ‘capitalist tool’ version in green, while still incorporating one of the finest modern interpretations of a classic stern ever seen. The resulting ‘floating business card’ remains to this day one of the world’s most iconic vessels.
Jim and Jan Moran: This amazing couple built a remarkable eight Feadships called Gallant Lady between 1984 and 2007, ranging from 27 to 52 metres. Jim was the man who introduced Toyota to America and used his Feadships as a floating corporate entertainment and conference centre.
Jon Bannenberg teamed up with Feadship on a number of radical exterior designs from the early eighties onwards. Throwing convention to the wind time and time again, the sparring partnership between Jon and Frits de Voogt has become the stuff of legend.
Jan Kops’s distinguished career as chief designer at Feadship De Voogt spanned decades and over 100 magnificent yachts. His first project was Kapal back in 1971 and by the time Jan retired at the end of the millennium this drawing board master had almost four kilometres worth of Feadships to his credit.
In 1989 Feadship launched Cedar Sea II, an exceptionally complex yacht which included a garage to accommodate a stretched six-door Range Rover, custom tenders in the same style of the yacht, a wealth of exotic marbles and a surgery room with an underwater window. This artist’s impression with the signature of designer Jon Bannenberg illustrates how the stars of the superyacht world were becoming increasingly famous with the wider public.
While some Feadships in the 1990s started to feature more futuristic lightweight interiors, the owners of Virginian went back in time in a very handsome manner. The yacht’s classic exterior lines were matched inside by an old-world maritime atmosphere, complete with an open fireplace in the library. Installing such a feature safely required, of course, the very latest in smart engineering.
Another trend facilitated by Feadship was meeting people’s growing need for speed. Powered by gas turbine-driven water jets, the 50-metre Sussurro had the power of 22,864 horses in order to reach 46 knots, aided by a deep V-shaped hull concept. She was also a mere 196 tonnes, a sign that the age of lightweight interiors was well and truly underway.
Regardless of their style, Feadships in all formats were increasingly going on ever- longer journeys in the 1990s. Battered Bull and her owner Don Flynn set the standard by embarking on a two-year circumnavigation. The yacht also carried the largest tender seen on a superyacht at the time in the form of a 12-metre powerboat capable of 80 knots.
Dick van Lent grew up next to the yard that carries his name and started work there in 1974. Over the next 33 years, first as assistant manager and later as CEO, Dick was one of the driving forces of Feadship. A lifetime of achievement was recognised recently when he was awarded one of the highest distinctions possible in the Netherlands, membership of the chivalric Order of Oranje-Nassau.
By the 1990s the Feadship name had become a corporate identity in its own right in the yachting world. Hein Velema implemented a more market- oriented strategy long before other yards had even considered doing so, which matched the quality of the yachts being built.
Wedge Too, the first superyacht project for French designer Philippe Starck, was a radical departure with her art deco exterior and oiled teak deckhouse sides. The minimalist interior was equally eclectic, including wheelbarrow chairs and a bowler-hat pouf stuffed with a huge green apple. The epitome of a bespoke yacht, Wedge Too never ceases to amaze.
Another game changing speed machine was the mighty Predator, built for an owner who wanted to hit the 25-knot mark without using gas turbines. The answer was a knife-sharp, aft-raked vertical bow combined with a slender, low resistance underbody, four MTU diesels, special gearboxes and massive Rolls Royce controllable pitch propellers.
In a decade where speed was king for some, other Feadships were built with distance in mind. The 43-metre Andiamo was the first expedition- style Feadship and has completed four circumnavigations of the earth since her launch in 2003. Visiting some of the most remote places on the planet, Andiamo is the ultimate floating home with an industrial-scale full beam galley.
The 78-metre Venus was as ingeniously different as the man for whom she was built. The world’s first mastless motoryacht had her antennae and domes hidden within an architectural statement. The yacht also featured an unprecedented amount of glass with huge windows extending the length of all main deck staterooms and an all-glass pavilion deck that offers unprecedented vistas at sea.
This phenomenal 2018 launch for a repeat client is also the largest Feadship to date. The 110-metre Anna features a wide range of bespoke innovations such as diesel- electric propulsion, an aircraft landing pad, a stunning two-deck atrium, a giant health club and a football pitch.
When the International Superyacht Society presented Feadship directors Henk and Tom de Vries with the prestigious Leadership Award several years ago, the committee of peers and competitors succinctly summarised the decades-long service of the two cousins: “They have an extraordinary ability to believe: to believe that it can and it will happen.”
When Dick van Lent retired in 2016 as CEO of the Royal Van Lent yard, everyone knew he would be a hard act to follow. Jan-Bart Verkuyl has since successfully taken over the helm, leveraging on a career in the maritime world that saw him join Feadship in 2006.
Since joining Feadship as a director in 2013, Farouk Nefzi has taken the marketing and branding strategy to a whole new level. The diverse elements within the organisation have been brought even closer together under the ‘One Feadship’ umbrella.
The world’s first hybrid motor-superyacht, Savannah made a clean sweep of all the industry awards in 2016. In addition to her eco-friendly propulsion, she was the largest object given a metallic paint livery to date (in Sea Foam green). Savannah’s awesome floating superstructure also won many hearts, as did the extraordinary interior with its semi-submerged Nemo room.
Feadship crossed the 100-metre mark in 2015 with the spectacular Symphony. As the first superyacht to sail under the Passenger Yacht Code, she is allowed to carry up to 36 guests. There are around 200 different finishes in Symphony‘s remarkable interior, of all which had to be certified for fire resistance by class in a masterful synergy of artisanship and engineering.
Built for the youngest owner to date, the 70-metre Joy offers an unprecedented amount of outdoor space for all members of the family for whom she was created and the maximum length possible for a gross tonnage of around 1000 GT. Her super-cool looks were created with Bannenberg & Rowell in the first joint exterior design since Jon Bannenberg’s death in 2002.
Making history by shaping the future...