Tales of our Heritage

In the PILOT book article on the members of the Feadship Heritage Fleet attending the SAIL Amsterdam event we talked to the owners of four different classic Feadships. Here we take a pictorial look at these beautiful boats as well as the other FHF members who took part in the event but were not featured in the story, and add in some extra nuggets of information from our original interviews.

Current name: D'ouwe Freddy Launch name: Nanette Year: 1939 Length: 9.20 m Beam: 2.40 m

Google the words ‘Super Holland Kruiser’ and you will come across many fine examples of this type of motoryacht in which the Royal Van Lent yard excelled before the Second World War and in the early years of Feadship. The fact that so many are still afloat today is a testimony to their superior build quality and the love and adoration they have inspired in owners over the decades. Launched as Navette in 1939, the 9.20-metre D'ouwe Freddy looked fantastic at SAIL.

Current name: De Keizer Previous name: Robert-Jan Year: 1933 Length: 7.75 m Beam: 2.50 m

Kees de Keizer, owner of one of the smallest members of the FHF, captures perfectly the excitement of finding a classic Feadship in his interview in PILOT. He is no stranger to Feadship, having worked on a number of current-day builds as an owner’s rep. But to realise that the boat you have seen moored on a canal opposite your office in Amsterdam is also a Feadship was a great surprise – especially as Kees had already bought her for restoration!  “I instantly texted Henk de Vries saying: ‘you’re never going to believe what I’ve found!’ I also discovered that Henri de Voogt initially designed Robert-Jan in 1928 but had no funds to build her due to the recession. Four years later he made a deal with the De Vries yard in Aalsmeer to build the boat in steel: This is a small yacht with a big history!”

Current name: New Wave Launch name: Contentus Year: 1958 Length: 10.50 m Beam: 3.50 m  

Names can speak volumes as this 10.50-metre classic Feadship proves. She certainly won over a New Wave of admirers during SAIL Amsterdam and her original launch name of Contentus sums up the pleasures she has brought to various owners since being launched at Royal Van Lent in 1958.

Current name: Thor Launch name: De Ruyter Year: 1961 Length: 10.30 m Beam: 3.22 m  

De Ruyter first saw the light of day in 1961. She is a mighty little Feadship and deserving of the name Thor, given by her current owner Hans Zijdenbos. Having initially bought her in 1995, Hans and a friend only needed to make minor repairs as the yacht was in great condition even after three and a half decades of use. “Thor was my first boat and had already stolen my heart by the time I completed the renovation of the engine,” Hans says. “It still feels very good to sail her 20 years on and I love taking good friends out on her. I have also met some very nice people as a member of the Feadship Heritage Fleet and enjoy attending the annual meetings.”

Current name: Ammerland Launch name: Ammerland Year: 1966 Length: 15.57 m Beam: 4.27 m  

One of the first three original members of the Feadship Heritage Fleet when it was launched in April 2013, Ammerland is owned by Feadship director Arthur van Berge Henegouwen. This means that this lovely 16-metre classic is often used to give guests at FHF events and on other occasions the chance to experience the timeless pleasure that a yacht launched in the 1960s can still offer today. Arthur is also the treasurer of the FHF and dedicated to its continuing success.

Current name: Katja Launch name: Katja Year: 1966 Length: 19.80 m Beam: 3.90 m Draught: 1.50 m  

The 1966 Feadship Katja was one of a number of yachts designed by Johan de Vries for motor and sail yachts in the sixties. Like the 24.51-metre Ale II and 17.25-metre Mi-Do II, she was built on spec in order to be sold at a boat show (not something you can imagine Feadship doing today). Her current owner Paul Hoffman knew nothing of this when he found the yacht in 2010 nor, as he explains in PILOT, about Feadship in general. 

Katja had been converted into a house boat with an ordinary kitchen and boiler in it. A retired priest was living on board and we got chatting. He was a lovely man who was facing some challenges with his pension so I assisted him with this problem from my legal background. I didn’t have a clue about yachts and only really bought her to help out. Katja was at that pivotal moment in history where she would either be scrapped or saved for the next generations. It took me four years to make the latter option come true and I’m mighty glad I did. It has been an adventure rebuilding this boat and meeting people with an interest in classic yachts via the Feadship Heritage Fleet. I spent way too much doing her up but the whole family adores Katja so, in that way too, she is priceless.”

Current name: Torno Launch name: Joma Year: 1934 Length: 12.50 m Beam: 3.20 m Draught: 0.90 m  

It is uncanny how many people buy a classic Feadship without initially realising the pedigree of the boat they have bought. However, this was certainly not the case for the owners of Joma who run their own marina and repairs yard. But they are the first to admit that it took them much longer to restore this 12.50-metre beauty from 1934 than they originally anticipated when purchasing her in 1990. 

“She was in pretty good shape actually but needed lots of modernising. Our research shows that when launched as Torno she sailed with two crew members in the aft of the yacht and cost her owners 8,700 Dutch guilders. We had promised her previous owners we would do justice to her long history with the refit but other work got in the way. Although it took us to around 2005 to get everything right, we did finally succeed. Her quality is exceptional and we are really enjoying sharing her with other members of the Feadship Heritage Fleet. We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how easy going everyone is.”

Add SAIL Amsterdam to your diary 

Showcasing the city’s maritime legacy, SAIL Amsterdam is the largest free public event in the world. The inaugural event took place in 1975 as part of the celebrations marking Amsterdam’s 700th jubilee. It proved such a success that SAIL has since returned to Amsterdam’s waterways every five years.  The next SAIL event is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2020, which might seem a while away but will be upon us in no time… The exact dates are still to be confirmed but there is a good chance that even more members of the Feadship Heritage Fleet will be there. We hope to see you too in Amsterdam!

The original article on Feadship at SAIL was featured in issue 19 of PILOT.