YARD UPDATE ‘06: Vitters...

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YARD UPDATE ‘06: Vitters...

Yard Updates

Busy in Holland and Turkey.

JUNE 2006

Vitters Shipyard had three significant sailing superyachts at various stages of completion as of June ‘06. The most advanced of the three was Mystère, which was in the process of handing over. This beautiful 43.2m (140ft) Bill Tripp-designed modern sloop features an aluminium hull and carbon deck and superstructure, as well as a lift-keel that will vary her draught from 3.5m (11.5ft) to 5.8m (19ft). Her colour scheme is arresting, a dark-blue hull and silver deck-house. She displaces 182 tons and has a lot of rig power. Her 18m (59ft) Leisure-Furl composite boom is one of the largest that Marten Marine has done thus far and her mast towers 53m (174ft) above her decks.

'Really cool is the pilot-station to starboard under the windscreen...'

The work of Dick Young’s team, Mystère’s interior makes use of dark-stained and satin-varnished cherry veneers, bare teak and black leathers. The soles are varnished wenge, not the most practical of finishes but very striking. Really cool is the pilot-station to starboard under the windscreen. Despite a couple of low pilot seats, the view when seated is fantastic, straight along the deck. The owner of this one surprisingly owned a Mangusta previously.
The second of Vitters’ current projects is Nirvana, an Ed Dubois-designed 53.5m (175ft), similar to Tiara, which launched a couple of years ago in New Zealand. Her displacement will be around 155 tons and she will benefit from a lifting keel capable of varying her draught from 3-10m (10-30ft). Delivery is scheduled for July ’07.
Following on from that, the third project is Boreas, a 52.5m (172ft) traditional sloop drawn by André Hoek, who has had four other sailing yachts built by Vitters over the years. She will have a Redman Whiteley Dixon interior. Fabrication of this one has already started at a subcontractor (Gouwerok). Eventual delivery to her owner will be in ’08.
Vitters is also currently busy refitting the ’63-built Abeking & Rasmussen 35.6m (117ft) sailing yacht Tiziana.
The two Vitters launches of ’05 were the 37.2m (122ft) composite Ghost, which left at the beginning of the year, and the beautiful white-hulled aluminium 54.6m (179ft) André Hoek-designed retro-ketch Adele.
As a rough guide to yard prices, Mystère would weigh in at around €19 million and the very high specification Ghost was around €14 million.
Based in Zwartsluis to the northeast of Amsterdam, the Vitters Shipyard began 15 years ago as a contract hull builder, but within 18 months from start up it began building its own projects for in-house finishing. The yard soon built up an enviable reputation for good-quality aluminium sailing yachts. However, as it doesn’t do its own fabrication anymore, it is as happy fitting out steel, aluminium or composite hulls. It will also entertain the odd motorcruiser or motoryacht. To date around 80 per cent of its activity has been sail related.
The yard currently employs around 60 people directly, but normally with subcontractors at least 100 people are working in the yard and sometimes up to 150. The yard’s policy is to outsource everything that it believes it can get done better by contractors. Its current practical capacity is said to be around 60m (197ft), although its newest shed is actually 70m (230ft) long. Its older hall is 55m (180ft) in length.
Vitters also now has interests beyond Holland. Two years ago it established Cyrus Yachts (formerly known as Lenny Yacht) in Antalya, Turkey. This fast-expanding operation, which currently employs 80 people or so directly at its FTZ (Free Trade Zone) site, has got going semi-custom building a 33.2m (109ft) semi-displacement flybridge motoryacht designed by Rene van der Velden and with naval architecture by Piet van Oossanen.
Thus far it has delivered just one boat, the first Cyrus 33 Angel of Joy, which completed in May ’06. However, hull numbers two and three are already in progress for delivery in late ‘06/early ’07 and spring ’07 respectively. The second one is sold and third is still available for purchase.
The build time for Angel of Joy was 18 months, but that should have been cut to 14 months when it comes to boat number three. While the first one has a René van der Velden interior too, mostly ‘anegrea’ veneers, note these are true semi custom models as regards interiors. The second will have a completely different scheme and essentially anything within reason is possible. Cyrus has its own joinery operation.
Certainly the specifications of these boats are pretty high. Hulls and superstructures feature epoxy-foam sandwich constructions. Male moulds are used and moulded structures are subsequently fared, although Vitters’ engineers are investigating switching to female tooling.
With the standard specification for the Cyrus 33 including twin Cat C32 V12s, the 33m model is selling for around €6.8 million, depending on technical options and interior designer choices. “The hope is to eventually work up demand and capacity to handle six boats a year, but we will be happy to deliver just two a year,” says Vitters’ managing director Louis Hamming. The Cyrus 33 will make its debut at Cannes ‘06 in September.
Work is already being done on developing other Cyrus models too. The plan is to add a 38m (125ft) and then perhaps a 43m (141ft), available either in composites or with a steel hull. Then there may even be a smaller 28m (92ft) model. A limited Cyrus dealer network is in the process of being put together; but it is said Europe will remain the principal focus, or at least for now.
Cyrus Yachts is the result of a 50:50 joint-venture deal between Vitters Shipyard and an undisclosed non-Turkish investor. Its general manager is Dutchman Fokke Jager.
Beyond considering the use of its Turkish division for some of Vitters own requirements, possibly supplying stainless steel work or perhaps even some joinery, there is even talk of composite hulls being laminated there and then sent to Holland for fit-out. Similar things have been done before. Remember that Vitters recently delivered Ghost, whose carbonfibre hull came from Green Marine in the UK.

For more, www.vitters.com.

© Phil Draper