Dick van Lent on the Challenges Behind Madame GU
Historical Dutch shipyard Feadship were responsible for one of the most exciting superyacht launched of 2013, the 99 metre Madame GU.
Four years in construction, the yacht, which was created by De Voogt Naval Architects, Feadship and Andrew Winch Designs, also represented one of the largest vessels ever built in Holland.
At the recent Superyachts.com Top 100 event in London, we sat down with Dick van Lent, CEO of Feadship, to hear more about the process of building Madame GU, plans for three more supersized yachts in 2015, and Feadship’s ongoing efforts in the field of innovation.
In the lavish confines of The May Fair hotel, we began by asking him about what the Madame GU project meant for Feadship.
“Well like with most of our boats every project brings challenges,” he said. “Certainly with that one we had a couple of challenges. It was spectacular in design so there were lots of design features to work out, structural wise we have seen a lot of requests working out in over demanding systems. So it had to be researched, it had to be developed, and we think that’s what we’re good at.
“It’s a challenge and you should appreciate the challenge and not say ‘well this boat is difficult, this boat is complicated’. That’s not in our vocabulary. We see them as challenges and we’re probably the most ultimate custom boat yard in the world, so that’s why people come to us. We like challenges, we like to do innovation and bring your product forward and try to stay ahead of everybody else.”
In 2015 Feadship will have three more yachts coming into the Top 100 largest yachts in the world. What can Mr Lent tell us about them?
“Most of our projects are very private,” he said. “You cannot say too much about the owners, or about the specific requirements, because it’s always within our theme of confidentiality. But what I can say is that it’s brought us again a step further and particularly with the 101 metre we’re building right now we’re over the 3,000 tons borderline.
“We have seen that we are the first one in this new category, so the authorities like to do this with a serious partner and because also they have to make sure they can implement their own rules and regulations in a way that works. So they love to do this with your designers, your naval architects, your managers, your technical people, to make sure that once they’re bringing it out to other yards it’s really going to work. And that is a challenge. but at the same time it’s very rewarding because. again, you’re the first in achieving this.
“I predict that we will always be busy,” explains Dick when asked about the future of the yachting industry. “The serious yachts have always been busy and come through crises. Twenty years ago in an interview I would say the seven established yards will remain. Probably now there’s ten yards and you see a lot of yards could not meet quality, could not meet fine tuning with owners, fine tuning the requests they had, and those are the ones who suffer, and we know a number of these yards have collapsed in recent years. So I think these established 10 yards will remain.
You can watch the full video interview with Dick van Lent above this article.