Dutch superyacht builders have taken home both the motoryacht and the sailing yacht of the year accolades from the World Superyacht Awards ceremony in Florence. The Feadship Savannah and the Vitters sloop Unfurled were joined on the winner’s podium by Claasen Shipyards (Atalante), Mulder Shipyard (Solis), Heesen Yachts (Sibelle), Holland Jachtbouw (Topaz) and another Feadship (Symphony) to confirm the industry-leading position of the yards gathered in the HISWA Holland Yachting Group association.
No less than 20 Dutch superyachts reached the finalist stage of these prestigious annual awards, including projects by Amels, Balk Shipyard, Oceanco and Van der Valk. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or in this case beholders in the form of the 22-strong jury of superyacht owners and leaders,” comments Bas Nederpelt, chairman of the HISWA Holland Yachting Group. “So too is an appreciation of excellence in design and construction. The fact that such a prominent group of our industry peers gave the yards the top two accolades and seven other Neptunes is the best possible recognition of Dutch superyacht sector’s quality and strength.”
“This award-winning performance also reinforces the importance of the equipment supply sector within the Netherlands,” adds Jeroen Sirag, export director of the HISWA Holland Yachting Group. “From air conditioning to lightsystems, from electrical engineering to hydraulics, our members serve as a textbook example of co-creation. The equipment they provide has played a vital role in the success of the winning Dutch superyachts and most winners from other countries which also benefit from the expertise of the supply companies in the HISWA Holland Yachting Group.”
Sailing yacht awards
The stunning 38.80m Claasen sloop Atalante was presented with the Neptune statue for the category ‘sailing yachts 30m to 39.9m’, with the World Superyacht Award judges describing her as “a delight for the eyes, with supremely elegant lines. Atalante is an excellent performer on the water and embodies a good internal layout with superb guest and crew spaces and a well laid out engine room.”
The next category in the sailing yacht sector was also won by a Dutch yard as the 46m sloop Unfurled from Vitters Shipyard was presented with the 40m and above award. Praised for being extremely well designed and built, the judges also applauded the way Unfurled ably fulfilled “the more specific racing and luxurious cruising roles of the other competitors as well as those of the cruising and occasional racing function that her owner had requested.”
In the same category, a Judges’ special award for design was given to the 42.60m Topaz, built by Holland Jachtbouw to the J-class rule. The jury described Topaz as “the most elegant yacht in this year’s Awards. Not only were the exterior lines beautiful, but her superb interior, designed in Art Deco fashion, made excellent use of the limited interior volume offered by J-class yachts.”
Later in the evening, Unfurled was also named Sailing Yacht of the Year. The judges stressed that this was “a difficult choice as both the contenders were exceptional yachts.” They explained that the final decision primarily came down to technology, with the jury being especially captivated by Unfurled’s custom-designed retractable propeller pods and power steering system.
This year’s World Superyacht Legacy Award went to a sailing yacht owner in the form of Dr Jim Clark, who has commissioned three phenomenal custom builds with Royal Huisman: the 47m sloop Hyperion, the 90m schooner Athena and the 42m super-J Hanuman. “Each project was bold, individual and exceptional; each charged with the same intensity of drive for innovation and challenge,” said Alice Huisman in presenting this special prize.
The Dutch also led the way at the World Superyacht Awards in the powerboat arena. The Neptune for ‘displacement motoryacht 30m to 41.99m’ was granted to the 34m Solis by Mulder Shipyard. The judges were drawn to her attractive and original exterior lines, and described Solis as “a true ‘pocket’ superyacht builton a human scale that satisfies the demanding aesthetic requirements of herowners and provides a high level of comfort and convenience.”
Fellow HISWA Holland Yachting Group member Heesen Yachts was equally delighted to win the ‘displacement motoryacht 47m and above’ category. The 49.90m Sibelle was praised for her avant-garde exterior lines, Fast Displacement Hull Form and bow-wrapping spray rails. “These facts combined with the high-quality construction throughout and well-reasoned deck and interior areas made Sibelle a worthy winner,” concluded the judges.
There were five “exceptional yachts” in the category for ‘displacement motoryacht from 1,300GT to 2,999GT’, according to the judges who nonetheless decided that “one stood out above the crowd.” The 83.50m Feadship Savannah “excelled in so many different areas that her selection as winner was almost unanimous.” The elegance and harmony of her exterior lines thrilled the judges, as did Savannah’s hybrid propulsion system and the layout of her exterior and interior areas.
Another Feadship took the award for ‘displacement motoryacht of 2,999GT and above’. The judges were clearly impressed with the “stunningly beautiful exterior lines” of the 101m Symphony. “This yacht is a remarkable story of design, craftsmanship and technological innovation that has been cleverly combined to totally satisfy the owner’s requirements.”
The last award to be granted was the Motor Yacht of the Year prize, which was won by the Feadship Savannah. “Not only is she an inspirationally elegant yacht, but the quality of design and construction – right down to the last detail – demonstrates the level of craftsmanship to which many aspire but few achieve,” explained the judges. “Savannah is an incredible yacht that excels in all aspects and is a worthy winner.”
Future award winners?
The superb results at the World Superyacht Awards come on the back of some very impressive figures recently released by SuperYacht Times magazine which confirm that the Dutch yards also have a very promising future in store.
Having made 22 deliveries in 2015, with an average value that is double that of the average build elsewhere in the world, the members of the HISWA Holland Yachting Group also received orders for another 24 superyachts last year, with an average length of 56 metres, an increase of 26.3% on the 2014 figures. The forecast for 2016 is 25 deliveries with a total length of 1425 metres.