Iconic motor yacht builders Van Lent insist on putting a positive spin on the economy so they're building three 30 million euro yachts on spec...


I’m spending the week on a tour of Dutch yacht builders and although I’m normally only interested in sailing boats there’s been a chance to see what the country’s fabled motor yacht manufacturers are up to.

How about this for optimism – Van Lent, the Feadship yard which has been in existence for a 160 years and which last year sold a majority share holding to luxury goods icon LVMH, is building three 45metre yachts on spec with a price tag of 30 million euros apiece.

They introduced the F45 a couple of years ago as a kind of ‘budget’, off the shelf superyacht with cost savings driven by repeatability and doing away with consultants and interior designers. Dick Van Lent said that clients were so fed up being led around a plethora of yards being offered confusing levels of build quality that they threatened to walk away from yachting.

The F45 was designed to take the decision making out of the equation, reduce build time and get clients afloat quickly. They’ve sold three in two years but are now pressing ahead with a further three, even going as far as fitting them out in a variety of in house styles from Milano and Miami to Monaco and Nautical, the latter putting a traditional spin inside a very modern exterior. Will they sell? Feadship are confident. Quite a gamble in the current climate.

The illustration shows the extravagant back end of another yacht in build, a 68m giant with an infinity pool, waterfall and a helicopter deck. She’s launching next year and there’s another 77.7m metre hull about to arrive in a vacant build bay.

The press corps, numbering about 30, were then treated to a boat trip around Amsterdam’s commercial district. No ordinary trip because it was aboard Trident a 65.22m Van Lent special which was having the finishing touches put to her. We enjoyed drinks and dinner and were allowed the run of the yacht, some journos even taking the helm of the beast.

Those in the know suggested it was most unusual to be able to enjoy such freedom aboard an almost finished yacht – and there was no sign of an official crew, just the Feadship workforce. The reason? We we told her owner had already put her up for sale and that she was in the hands of Merle Wood and Edmiston. Price? Around 90 million euros. So it could be Trident or three F45s for the same money. Decisions.