Orders flood through the doors of one of the world's top yacht building yards


Some superyacht builders were almost tempted to hang up ‘Sold Out’ signs on their stands at the Dusseldorf Boat Show as the industry stepped up another gear and the demand for large sailing yachts continued to burgeon.

News of the most extraordinary run of business was being released on the Royal Huisman stand where details of three new sailing yacht projects were being confirmed, one of them a 57m flybridge ketch designed by the UK-based Dubois Naval Architects. After Athena and Ethereal (currently under construction) this is the third biggest yacht the yard has ever built and it is the first time Huisman have teamed up with Dubois for a super-sailing yacht.

Hot on the heels of the 57m came orders for two German Frers designed super-sailing yachts, one a sloop of about 47m, the other a 42m ketch. According to Mike Koppstein of Huisman the yard’s order book is full through to 2011 as work progresses on Jim Clark’s new J Class yacht Endeavour 11 (due to launch in the fall of 2008), Bill Joy’s 58m Ron Holland designed ketch, Ethereal, and the magnificent 51m gaff schooner Meteor due to be delivered to her owners in May in time for the Huisman Rendezvous and Superyacht Cup in Palma this June. A number of Huisman yachts will be there including the recently launched Philippe Briand designed Gliss (see picture).

Meteor will be one to watch this summer. Although her foresail is gaff rigged, the spar can be removed and a track which extends to the top of the mast can then accept a big roached, fully battened racing sail for competitive sailing.

And there’s something of a revolution taking place in onboard electrical power. The use of lithium ion batteries which have three times the capacity of conventional cells for the same weight are being used to power some yachts. Ethereal will be able to use her shaft generators as electric motors for motive power. The batteries will also allow her to run as a ‘quiet’ ship – ie no generators running – for 10 hours with all her systems on, including air con and full lighting. “In fact she can run in full party mode without a gen set while lying at anchor,” said Mike Koppstein.

Read more about it in the April issue of Yachting World, out early March – don’t miss it!