YARD UPDATE '07: Royal Huisman

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Ethereal, Endeavour and other project progress… June 2007

Royal Huisman Shipyard (RHS) has four major new-builds sailing yachts in various project stages as of summer ‘07.
The most advanced of the three is Ethereal, the 58m (190ft) all-Alustar 472-ton pilothouse ketch. Her American commissioning owner Bill Joy, the venture capitalist and one-time chief scientist and founder of Sun Microsystems, is said to want a scaled-up version of the 43m (141ft) Juliet B, which launched from Royal Huisman Shipyard in ’92 and is owned by friends. So the auxiliary ketch Ethereal is benefitting from the same creative team — namely naval architecture and exterior styling by Ron Holland and Brazilian mahogany interior by Pieter Beeldsnijder. She will also benefit from an unusual amount of attention as regards her environmental impact. So energy efficient and clean is she likely to be that this one will end up being the ‘greenest’ sailing superyacht ever when she delivers in August ’08. Certainly many of the onboard systems will be experimental ‘firsts’. For instance, this one will be able to sail on battery power alone, with all technical and hotel systems active, for many hours.
Next to launch will be the 41.3m (135ft) Endeavour II, which is being built for Dr Jim Clark, who also owns RHS’s largest project to date, the 90m (295ft) three-masted Athena, which launched in ’04, and before that had the yard build the 47.4m (156ft) German Frers-designed Hyperion, which launched in ‘98. This latest Clark project will be essentially a re-creation of the famous 1930s J-Class racer Endeavour II, which famously lost the final J-Class America’s Cup of ’37 to Ranger, despite the fact that many involved in the event believed the loser was the faster boat. The story goes that the yacht and her crew were ill prepared for the contest following an arduous Atlantic crossing shortly before and poor sails.
The new Endeavour II is one of several new J-Class recreations. A couple of years ago saw a replica in design and name of her old rival Ranger take to the water and new versions of Rainbow and Yankee are also apparently in the pipeline. These, plus original rebuilt survivors such as Endeavour, Valsheda, Astra, Candida, Lulworth and Shamrock V, mean we’re entering a new era as regards this most romantic and evocative of yacht racing classes — the ultimate one-design fleet?
The Endeavour II interior is down to Pieter Beeldsnijder, who also handled the schemes for Clark’s Hyperion and Athena. October ’08 should see Endeavour II sea-trialed and handed over.

  2010 will see Twizzle launch... 

The third project is Twizzle, a 57.5m (189ft) modern flybridge ketch designed by Ed Dubois. The interior is the work of Redman Whitely Dixon’s Justin Redman and Emily Todhunter. Her spars will be carbonfibre and her rigging PBO. Her main mast, at just under 62m (203ft), will just clear the ‘Bridge of the Americas’ on the Panana Canal passage. One of her owners’ requirements for this yacht is for her to provide the amenity of a motoryacht, and they know what they are talking about having previously owned not only a 47m (154ft) Perini Navi but also the recently launched 55.5m (182ft) Feadship of the same name. Spring 2010 should see Twizzle launch.
RHS’s fourth project is a 43m (141ft) German Frers-designed deck-saloon sloop. But further details on that one for the moment at least are being kept under wraps.
This year saw RHS deliver just one project, the classically styled 51.59m (169ft) long-keeled gaff-rigged schooner Meteor.
Just as a reminder, last year saw RHS handover Gliss, the 32m (105ft) Philippe Briand-designed deck-saloon sloop and the 35.8m (117ft) 284-ton long-range aluminium motoryacht Arcadia.
A big plus for RHS in many of its clients eyes is its ‘all under one roof’ philosophy. For instance, spar and composite structure builder and hardware manufacturer Rondal is a daughter company. It occupies a new facility at the main yard and accounts for 65 or so of the yard’s total 230-strong workforce.

© Phil Draper