Mulder Shipyard hull eight of the ThirtySix yacht model

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Hull eight of the Thirtysix model
Credit: Mulder Shipyard

A journey through generations: the story of a family-owned shipyard that continues to grow

2 July 2024 • Written by Hannah Rankine for Mulder Shipyard

From humble beginnings in metalworks to building quality superyachts today, Nick Mulder, managing director of Mulder Shipyard, takes BOAT’s Hannah Rankine down memory lane to recount the story of the shipyard’s path to success.

From wooden sailboats to luxury cruisers

Nick’s grandfather, Dirk Mulder, founded the company in 1938 in a small metal shop in Voorschoten. “It’s a historic shipyard,” Nick says. The company's journey began with the construction of wooden, racing-class sailboats, later transitioning to motor yachts as its sole focus from 1965 onwards. In 1984, Nick’s father, Dick Mulder, assumed leadership of the business at just 22 years old. Under his stewardship, the shipyard expanded its repertoire, building increasingly larger full-custom yachts of up to 28 metres.

Dirk Mulder
Credit: Mulder Shipyard

Collaborating with Dutch designer Guido de Groot and leveraging his automotive expertise, Dick developed the Convertible, Wheelhouse and Flybridge motor yacht series. “The Convertible yachts were a bit sportier, the Wheelhouse yachts were more like gentlemen’s cruisers and the Flybridge yachts were for those who enjoy travelling the world with a crew,” Nick explains.

By 2010, amidst an industry trend towards larger vessels, Dick sought to engineer a vessel that combined size with personal manageability, birthing the Favorite 1500, a popular model in the Netherlands, with 23 hulls sold to date. “The Favorite 1500 is one of the yachts I am most proud of today,” Nick reflects.

Bigger and better

In 2010, a new chapter unfolded as a new state-of-the-art shipyard facility began construction, which opened its doors in 2013. “This gave us the possibility to build not only more yachts but bigger yachts,” Nick says. At the time, the yard secured the order for the 34-metre motor yacht Solis, a “well-known, full-custom yacht” commissioned by a Swiss family who maintains ownership to this day.

Mulder Shipyard refined its construction techniques, transitioning from steel to aluminium and soon began the creation of the 36-metre Delta One, commissioned by a Dutch client upon seeing the success of Solis. Delta One marked the inception of the ThirtySix series, the shipyard’s largest yachts to date, with the upcoming delivery of the seventh hull underscoring its popularity. “What I am most proud of is the reliability of these yachts. For example, 36-metre Solemates cruised from Europe to the US with no onboard issues,” Nick affirms.

Delta One
Credit: Mulder Shipyard

Building upon this triumph, the shipyard embarked on a daring endeavour, building its first yacht on speculation, 36-metre Calypso, a venture Nick characterises as “a risky step” and “a significant investment". Yet, once again, Mulder Shipyard validated its prowess, successfully selling the hull in 2018 to another Dutch client. Nick highlights the global appeal of Mulder’s fleet, with the Favorite series being popular among Dutch and Western European clients, while the ThirtySix series has resonated within the American market. “The ThirtySix models boast a shallow draught, impressive speed and exceptional range, making them ideal for those who relish cruising in that region,” Nick concludes.

Embracing change

In 2022, Mulder Shipyard embraced a strategic shift, prioritising increased production while upholding quality standards. “We don't like to engage in mass production, which is why we remain a smaller shipyard where we build five or six yachts per year,” Nick says. Central to this ethos is the cherished culture permeating the shipyard – a camaraderie among the team members evident in their harmonious work environment. “The culture here at the shipyard is one of our most important assets,” Nick notes. “People really enjoy working here and you can feel it when they are singing and whistling. It gives the sense that they're building the yacht together as a team, and you can feel that in the yacht once they’re built.” In a pivotal move, Mulder Shipyard acquired the yard Dutch Yacht Builders in 2022, enabling them to build hulls in-house. “This has given us so much more flexibility and control over our own agenda,” Nick adds.

Favorite 1700 Anniversary Edition
Credit: Mulder Shipyard

Simultaneously, 2022 marked a difficult transition as Nick assumed leadership of the business following the untimely passing of his father at the age of 60. Reflecting on his father’s enduring legacy, Nick recounts the invaluable expertise and knowledge that his father passed on to him. “He brought me into every meeting, whether it was with clients, building a yacht, diving into the engine room or building the new shipyard,” Nick reminisces. “I was literally next to him for 14 years and I learned so much during that period, which I am so thankful for.”

The completion of the 17.8-metre Summer, hull number 10 of the Favorite 1700, emerged as a poignant milestone - Nick’s inaugural project without his father’s guidance. “I honestly believe that there is no better quality in this size range worldwide,” Nick says. “So as this was built in our 85th year, we made this the anniversary edition.” Collaborating with interior designer Roelfien Vos, the model has become one of his favourite to date.

Elevating maintenance standards

The dawn of 2024 heralds an exciting new venture for Mulder Shipyard with the launch of its subsidiary, Mulder 360 Service BV, dedicated to the technical management of yachts. “We’re going to implement maintenance systems to cover the yacht's entire lifetime, including logbooks, and we're going to offer more support to the crew,” Nick explains. Serving as an invaluable “additional warranty”, Mulder Shipyard, as the original builder, possesses unparalleled technical insights and resources, including spare parts and established supplier networks, ensuring swift and comprehensive servicing. “We want to ensure that the yachts we are delivering stay in their ‘new’ condition,” Nick says. “Yachts have their standard five-year survey, but we feel that five years is quite a long time. We want every Mulder yacht to be serviced by a Mulder technician once a year – just like you would with your car.”

Credit: Mulder Shipyard

Bolstering this commitment, the recent acquisition of an adjacent building has expanded the shipyard's storage capacity, allowing it to offer swifter, more cost-effective and precise maintenance solutions.

What’s next for Mulder Shipyard?

Looking ahead, Nick touches on his ambitious plans for Mulder Shipyard. “In the short term, we are really focusing on providing outstanding services for our fleet and building that community with the crew and our clients,” he says. With an eye towards expansion into the US market, the shipyard recently unveiled Q43, the seventh hull in the ThirtySix series, catering to the tastes of American clientele.

For more information on Mulder Shipyard’s yacht building and service offering, contact the team today.

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