Hanuman in the British Virgin Islands | photo by Jeff Brown/Superyacht Media
The Huisman family’s shipbuilding tradition dates back to 1884 when Jan Jans Huisman obtained official recognition as a shipwright and set up his yard at Ronduite in Holland. Between 1910 and 1940 over 500 vessels were launched, including around 50 fishing boats and 100 or so small pleasure sail boats, along with several motor cruisers.
His son, the legendary Wolter Huisman (1931-2004) joined the company at the age of 13. He had some ambitious ideas, which he honed during his years serving in the Dutch navy. One of Wolter’s innovations was the introduction of construction in welded aluminium, with the later adoption of a special alloy called Alustar. In 1969 the yard moved to its current location at Vollenhove, on the banks of a canal where vessels with a draught of up to 3 metres could be launched. Running Tide, the first yacht built at Vollenhove, raced brilliantly until 1983. She returned to competition in 2004 as a vintage yacht, achieving equal success in many vintage regattas, winning the Malta-Syracuse 2004 and coming second in the Voiles du Vieux Port in Marseilles in 2009.
The yard has always called on the best designers and skippers, drawing on talent from around the world – and the company’s roster of clients has always included celebrity names like conductor Herbert von Karajan, who sailed in many races aboard Helisara, and the Rothschilds’ 26 metre Gitana VI. The early 1960s saw the launch of Huisman’s subsidiary Rondal, a combination of ‘Ronduite’, the place where it began its operations, and ‘aluminium’. In 1984 Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands granted Huisman the right to use the description ‘Royal’, reserved for companies that are especially important to the country.
Today, following launches of spectacular yachts like Athena and Twizzle, Royal Huisman occupies a special place among builders of sailing yachts, analogous to that of Feadship in the field of motor yacht builders.
Here we present eight very special yachts for sale from one of the world’s premier yards.
Athena | 2004 | 90m | $95 million
At 90m and the fourth largest sailing yacht in the world, Athena represents four years of teamwork, combining the unique talents of Pieter Beeldsnijder for exterior and interior design with the naval architectural skills of Gerard Dijkstra & Partners. With these two talented legends and the shipyards’ own group of dedicated craftspeople a ‘dream team’ was created and Athena will undoubtedly become part of yachting history.
For the interior Beeldsnijder selected a lightly stained mahogany to enrich an air of classic comfort. Appreciating that her sheer size could be overwhelming, Beeldsnijder cleverly divided accommodation and living areas into human size proportions thus creating a feeling of welcome and old world charm. Designing a reappearing scalloped corner detail Beeldsnijder fine-tuned these areas as he worked closely with Californian Rebecca Bradley, responsible for selecting soft furnishings and fabrics.
On deck her custom array of Rondal deck hardware is set against an expanse of varnished teak cabin tops and seating areas. Again Beeldsnijder elected to provide intimate proportions to these otherwise expansive areas while maintaining a high regard for Dijkstra’s requirements for sail plan, deck layout and classically inspired design influences.
The three-mast schooner rig by Rondal provides some 2,500 square metres of sail power and is complete with in-mast furling for the topsails and in-boom furling for the carbon fibre gaffs. Some 55 Rondal captive and drum winches allow lightning fast tacks under full sail whilst sails can be set and stowed at the press of a button or two.
Using ‘Alustar’ plate mast construction the tallest of her three masts fits snugly, at low tide, through Panama’s controlling bridge height of 62m. And to give a sense of scale to all this, a trip up one of her hydraulically operated crow’s nests gives the adventuresome a bird’s eye view over an expanse of teak decking as Athena displays herself – a resurrection of the golden age of sail.
Gerard Dijkstra comments: ‘Athena, Jim Clark’s latest Royal Huisman can sail and manoeuvre under sail in light airs. The detailed attention given to all aspects of this yacht’s construction is incredible – with her superb engineering, state-of-the-art sail-handling equipment and the highest quality finish of interior joinery, she combines the best in sail with the luxury and interior space only thought possible in motor yachts.’
Meteor | 2007 | 51.59m | €25 million
The 51.59 metre sailing yacht Meteor was launched in May 2007, to the delight of her owners who had set a demanding brief for the yard and for naval architects Dijkstra and Partners in collaboration with John G Alden.
During her maiden voyage, Meteor behaved outstandingly in the English Channel with winds averaging 35 to 40 knots and gusting up to 65 knots. At the 2007 Palma Superyacht Cup she was able to show her performance potential again. Her elegant flag-blue hull and white sail plan created a striking image as she sailed, close hauled, at an easy 15 knots.
For her design, the naval architects maintained the tradition of a full keel underbody to ensure a sea-kindly motion, complemented above the waterline by graceful sheer and a fine clipper bow and bowsprit. The tall schooner rig and sail plan are also traditional in appearance, but refer more to contemporary race technology with Rondal Carbon spars, carbon standing rigging by Southern Composites, high-performance sails from North Sails and a functional ergonomic deck layout.
The interior, created by John Munford, affords Meteor a gracious, comfortable ambiance. Swetania mahogany throughout the owners’ and guests’ accommodation provides a warm, nostalgic glow, complemented by elegant soft furnishings and a collection of artwork. In the main saloon, a beautifully crafted wood-fired fireplace is the centrepiece of the library. Aft of this area is the full-width master cabin and forward are two mirror-image guest cabins. Crew accommodation, also in fine finished mahogany, is generous with seven well-appointed cabins.
On deck, there are two beautifully varnished deckhouses finished in teak and connected by a large, twin-tabled cockpit. The main deckhouse provides a comfortable refuge with leather upholstered furniture arranged around a large table. In the aft port corner a cleverly concealed wet bar is situated, complete with sink, fridge and stowage.
Elsewhere on deck, numerous classic styling references can be found including unusually wide centre teak deck planks, harmoniously designed deck hardware and winches. Even the gaff-rigged carbon masts and booms were finished to support the aesthetic integrity of Meteor, thanks to the expertise and ingenuity of the yard’s sister company Rondal.
Her broker, William Bishop, at Yachting Partners International, says, ‘Meteor arrived in Palma in early June and is available for sea trials. A St Barth’s Bucket winner, she also won an unprecedented three awards at the 2008 World Superyacht Awards.’
Cyclos III | 1990 | 42.35m | €3.5 million
Built in 1990, the 42.4 metre sailing yacht Cyclos III truly broke the mould of yacht building at the time.
Ron Holland, the exterior stylist, took up the challenge from the owner – an experienced yachtsman – to produce a yacht that was not only comfortable but sailed well. ‘I want a yacht that has spectacular sailing performance. Downwind sailing is boring – any yacht can do it. Sailing upwind is where the excitement truly lies,’ the owner said. Below deck, he wanted a chic contemporary interior that had a minimalist feel to it without the use of wood that was so common on yachts at that time.
Cyclos III is for sale at Yachting Partners International where William Bishop comments, ‘Cyclos III was undoubtedly the ground breaking yacht of her generation, and a ketch that truly set the benchmark in terms of performance and technology. She’s currently located at the Royal Huisman shipyard, where she is ready for a comprehensive refit and she represents a rare opportunity to secure a yacht of outstanding pedigree.’
Hanuman | 2009 | 42.1m | $18 million
Following the 42.1 metre Hyperion in 1999 and the classic 90 metre schooner Athena in 2004, the yachts’ owner reaffirmed his confidence in Royal Huisman engineering by placing a third, highly distinctive order with the yard, the 42.1 metre Hanuman, delivered in 2009
Naval architects Gerard Dijkstra & Partners oversaw the build of her hull in Alustar, with spars and rig in carbon composite to create an outstanding J Class yacht. To further this ambition, Royal Huisman worked with the independent Carew Group, master sailmakers North Sails and spar makers Rondal to create the optimum mast and sail configuration as, in effect, a single wing unit.
Below decks, by contrast, interior designer Pieter Beeldsnijder drew upon fine traditional materials such as hand-polished French walnut and period design references to create all the warmth and ambiance of a bygone era, sensitively fused with the high amenity standards of a modern superyacht.
In a review of Hanuman, Boat International said, ‘Hanuman is a masterful marriage of the best of the style and majesty of the 1930s J Class era with 21st century technology. The matte finished deck hardware resembles the galvanized metals of a bygone era, yet handles extreme loads with the push of a button.’
William Tai | 1997 | 40.68m | €9.99 million
Delivered in 1997 as Surama, the interior of William Tai is light with an open and modern styling incorporating the sweeping curves and bi-level sightlines we have come to expect from the drawing board of Andrew Winch.
Following a shakedown cruise to Norway in the early spring following her launch, this Ted Hood-designed 41 metre ketch encountered gale force winds on her approach to the Mediterranean before an extensive summer-long cruising programme.
A very happy owner reported excellent turns of speed and total satisfaction with a yacht that required his attending only six construction meetings. She returned to Holland for minor fine-tuning before setting out on a worldwide cruise, initially via Cuba, Florida, the Pacific and New Zealand.
Jonathan Syrett at Camper & Nicholsons International has William Tai for sale and says, ‘Upgraded extensively in 2009 and 2011 by the shipyard, she was conceived as a world cruiser and no expense or detail was spared in her creation. She offers an ideal layout with a centreboard allowing for shallow draught destinations and good performance in Superyacht Cup/Bucket type regattas. She boasts a huge owner’s cabin with private cockpit access.’
Camelot | 1985 | 37.5m | $1,795,000
Built in aluminium in 1985, the 37.5 metre motor yacht Camelot sleeps 10 guests in five en suite cabins including a main deck owner’s suite. Twin 1,050hp MTU engines give her a range of 2,150 nautical miles. Camelot underwent a $1.2 million refit in 2008/2009 which saw all her major equipment rebuilt.
Listed for sale at Bradford Marine Yacht Sales, her broker, Whit Kirtland says of Camelot, ‘This timeless design is a proven world cruiser, ready to take her new owner anywhere around the world in safety, style and comfort. A rare opportunity to obtain a proven world cruiser of this pedigree, at an outstanding value.’
Diamond For Ever | 1987 | 36.24m | €8 million
Diamond For Ever is a 36.24 metre cutter-rigged sailing yacht launched in 1987 to a design by Ron Holland. Jon Bannenberg was responsible for her exterior styling and interior design accommodating six guests in three cabins and berths for five crew. She was last refitted in 2002.
‘In the past 17 years,’ says her central agent, Herbert Dahm at dahm international, ‘Diamond For Ever has had only one owner, which has ensured her immaculate condition today, with periodic refits and technical upgrades. She is a proven seaworthy, safe and steady circumnavigator with ample open-air entertainment areas and luxurious accommodation.’
Cyclos II | 1984 | 28.33m | €1.95 million
Built in 1984 as a world cruiser to a design by Sparkman & Stephens, Cyclos II had an extensive refit in 2003. A refined interior by Pieter Beeldsnijder in blonde teak, high quality upholstery and fine fabrics accommodates up to six guests in three cabins.
With a range of 1,700 nautical miles at eight knots when under power, Cyclos II has proved her worth at cruising the world with minimal crew.
She is jointly listed for sale at Ocean Independence by Rainer Wilhelm and Marc Haendle who says, ‘Cyclos II offers unparalleled versatility being a real offshore world cruising yacht. Through Arctic waters or to Polynesia, she will always be a safe and ultra-reliable yacht which can be operated with a small crew in all kinds of conditions.’
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