Balk Shipyard in the Netherlands

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Credit: GeBo Fotografie

Balk Shipyard celebrates 225 years of excellence in yacht building and refitting

7 November 2023 • Written by Hannah Rankine for Balk Shipyard

Nestled along the serene waters of the Netherlands, Balk Shipyard, a name synonymous with marine craftsmanship and precision, commemorates its remarkable 225-year journey in yacht construction and refitting. The shipyard spans eight generations and has evolved from building wooden fishing boats to becoming a world-renowned specialist in refitting yachts of up to 70 metres.

To mark Balk Shipyard’s 225th anniversary, BOAT International explores the shipyard’s past and celebrates some of its most impressive projects.

Credit: Balk Shipyard

A legacy of craftsmanship

Established in 1798, Balk Shipyard's enduring commitment to excellence has stood the test of time. Today, the shipyard stands as a testament to the dedication, passion and craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations. As a boutique shipyard, it has cultivated its expertise, offering an exclusive and tailor-made experience to each client. Currently, the shipyard boasts its third generation of dedicated employees, a testament to the family's strong legacy in the industry. With a team of 60 highly skilled individuals, Balk Shipyard continues to set the gold standard for shipbuilding and refitting. The yard’s state-of-the-art facilities include three impressive halls equipped with the latest technology and a unique lifting system capable of handling up to 1,000 tonnes.

Emerald: A classic transformed

Emerald before
Credit: Tom Van Oossanen
Emerald after
Credit: Guy Fleury

The Feadship motor yacht Emerald arrived at Balk Shipyard in 2021 measuring 48.6 metres. Following a 16-month extensive refit, Emerald was reborn as a 50.4-metre masterpiece. The project included a stern extension, a hull repaint in Orion Green to pay homage to her name, a reconfiguration of the sundeck and various technical upgrades. With the addition of two zero-speed quantum stabilisers, a redesigned mast and an updated antenna, Emerald combines classic Feadship elegance with a modern aesthetic.

Sandalphon: An unfinished project brought to life

Sandalphon before
Credit: Balk Shipyard
Sandalphon after
Credit: Sandalphon

Sandalphon, a 27-metre explorer yacht, arrived at Balk Shipyard unfinished after being just partly built in Brazil. During her two-year build journey at Balk Shipyard, she was stripped down to the core and underwent a remarkable transformation, including a three-metre extension across the foredeck, a lengthened swim platform and comprehensive overhauls of its twin 449hp Caterpillar C18 engines. Every aspect, from hydraulics and electrics to propulsion and sewage systems, was revamped, resulting in a completely reimagined yacht.

Mikhail S. Vorontsov: A sailing icon

Mikhail S. Vorontsov before
Credit: Balk Shipyard
Mikhail S. Vorontsov after
Credit: Balk Shipyard

Balk Shipyard's 64.5-metre sailing yacht Mikhail S. Vorontsov was a winner at the prestigious World Superyacht Awards in 2014. The three-masted schooner, boasting accommodation for up to 12 guests and 11 crew, is a masterpiece of classic design by Gerard Dijkstra & Partners with styling by Ken Freivokh. Mikhail S. Vorontsov’s wooden hull and superstructure, powered by twin MTU 8V 2000 M72 engines, are complemented by a hydraulic semi-automatic sail handling system for its eight roller-furled sails.

Bravado: A complete overhaul

Bravado before
Credit: Balk Shipyard
Bravado after
Credit: Balk Shipyard

Initially launched in 2004, the 44.9-metre Abeking and Rasmussen yacht Bravado underwent a transformation at Balk Shipyard. Originally arriving for a paint job and minor upgrades, it soon became evident that a more comprehensive overhaul was needed. Bravado emerged with a new exterior and hull paint job in tri-tone white, shark grey and majestic blue, giving it a contemporary and sophisticated look. The shipyard's focus on high-end details extended to a complete interior overhaul, including floors, ceilings, furniture and materials. The sundeck and main deck saloon were also made more practical and elegant with aluminium extensions.

Balk Shipyard's remarkable 225-year journey is a testament to its unwavering commitment to excellence and its ability to transform yachts into works of art. The shipyard's legacy remains steadfast, setting the bar high for the industry and promising a bright future for all who step aboard its meticulously crafted yachts.

To find out more information about Balk Shipyard’s superyacht refit services, contact the team today.

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