Since it was founded in 1952, family owned Jachtwerf Vennekens has specialised in the niche market of high quality, custom-built yachts. With a unique ability to meet almost every demand of the yachting arena from small sailboats to large ocean-going motor yachts in steel, aluminium, composite and wood, the organisation’s comprehensive portfolio is one of its greatest differentiators. Clients also benefit from the company’s proficiency in all types of new build, refit, conversion, restoration and tailored maintenance services that are designed to deliver the highest quality and longest life possible. Specialised in vessels up to 30 metres in length, Jachtwerf Vennekens offers a one-stop-shop facility from 2D drawings and 3D models at the design stage to classification and engineering calculations at implementation, custom made furniture and deck equipment for the more discerning customer and necessary after-sales inspections and anti-fouling services.
One of the most essential elements of this all-encompassing approach to the shipping
industry is that the customer is involved at every stage of construction and is a vital component of the design team. “Our specialisation in custom builds means that we usually deal with a more experienced kind of clientele who have had series production vessels in the past and now require a tailor-made solution to better fit their purpose,” Stefan Vennekens, managing director of Jachtwerf Vennekens explains. “Much like building a house, projects start with a blank sheet of paper and we therefore have to use our experience and knowhow to create something wonderful. One of the greatest contributors to our success comes from our family-orientated attitude, which means that all management, designers, builders and users are extremely passionate about our yachts.”
The intermittent use of external naval architects also brings a diversity and flexibility to the portfolio that peers find it hard to compete with, while having an in-house arts and crafts capability guarantees a unique finish. At present, Jachtwerf Vennekens’ expert workforce is occupied in a number of refit projects within the company’s new premier dry dock facilities installed in 2009, a classic example of which is the refit of a 1964 Feadship vessel. This 26-metre yacht, built by the famous Feadship yard is due to undergo a complete renovation to not only restore it to its former glory, but also to install the latest in technical equipment and creature comforts.
“Also under development is an eight metre hydrogen tender, which is part of a collaboration with a some of the world’s leading hydrogen experts. The vessel incorporates a great deal of local knowledge on hydrogen energy technology
from the Flanders region of Belgium and will feature a 6.2 litre hydrogen combustion engine, based on a petrol engine block. This will be the fastest marine vehicle powered on hydrogen available, and is a major accolade not only for Jachtwerf Vennekens, but the industry as a whole,” Stefan highlights.
In recognition of the fact that many clients find it a challenge to dream up an own-design yacht, the company has also developed a brand new vessel concept, alongside industry partner Emocean Yacht Design. Based on the organisation’s own experience of market requirements, this new model incorporates the common denominators of vessel design that most clients look for. By fixing a number of variables such as exterior shape style and some of the fundamental technical aspects, while enabling others to remain bespoke, Jachtwerf Vennekens is able to offer this vessel at a very competitive price, with great flexibility when it comes to outfit and equipment. So far the response on the market has been positive and the company is confident that the concept will appeal to a wide customer base.
Having invested substantially in its dock facilities only a year ago, the organisation is satisfied with its infrastructure and instead is looking to further develop its PLM (performance level modelling) strategy. Moving away from 3D models to 3D digital mock ups, the company hopes to have the ability to present a single data model incorporating all types of geometric information, material specifications and BoMs (bill of materials). As one of the first marine companies to implement CATIA (computer-aided three-dimensional interactive application), a solution originating from the aeronautical and automotive industries, Jachtwerf Vennekens aims to further optimise its design and production methods.
“Through this investment we hope to give our clients a better insight into what their vessel will look like, while reducing the margin for error and the time required for adjustments and measurements. We are also putting a great deal of effort into investigating alternative sources of energy to reduce the carbon footprint of our products not only while in operation, but during the construction phases as well,” Stefan notes.
Such a forward thinking attitude has aided the company in combating the after effects of the global recession. While the new build market has suffered, Jachtwerf Vennekens has sustained activity through its success in the refit and maintenance fields. “We have also recently started expanding our business to provide expertise and project management services to other yards and designers. We want to share our knowledge and engineering capabilities with our colleagues and predict that this will cement our position in the market for years to come,” Stefan concludes.