On board the Vripack powerboat with a royal seal of approval

26 April 2021

Teaming owner-led innovation with Ibiza party vibes and a serious dose of adrenaline, the Waterdream California 52’ is a super cool manifestation of Vripack’s Dutch design.

A compact yacht with James Bond swagger. That’s what the Waterdream California 52’ is. Conceived by Waterdream’s founder Prince Bernhard van Oranje, brought to life by Dutch studio Vripack, the California 52’ represents Dutch design through and through.

Credit: Olga Dromas/Blueiprod

Both a practical boat for family weekends and a versatile one-man cruiser, the boat’s defining feature is its striking all-carbon central W steering console. It places the driver at the heart of the action – a deliberate decision born out of van Oranje’s own experiences and realised by Vripack’s inside-out approach. The aim was to design a boat that was as functional as it was beautiful. To compromise wasn’t an option.

“Without a doubt, the biggest innovation within the California 52’ is our human-centred design,” says Bart Bouwhuis, co-creative director at Vripack. “This ensured the design, build, development and communication on the project remained primarily focused on the ‘human’ aspect.”

The California 52’ made its international debut at the 2020 World Yacht Trophies in Cannes where it immediately proved its worth by scooping the Best Innovation Award. Built by hand at Van der Valk Shipyard in just five months, the boat oozes sex appeal. Its curvaceous exterior lines are complemented by a voluptuous interior – both designed by Vripack. There’s enough interior space to factor in full head volume and collapsible tables. The owner-centric helm features a bespoke 90cm carbon wheel and an easy-handling joystick. An epic sound system hints at Ibiza-style parties on the water. And a soft, foldable bimini echoes the elegance and speed of a Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder, van Oranje’s favorite car.

Credit: Olga Dromas/Blueiprod

It may be a lesson in minimalist expression to maximum effect, but the California 52’ means business on the performance front, too. Lightweight, strong, nippy and easily customizable, the boat's 'lowest in class’ weight to speed ratio makes it highly fuel efficient yet capable of 40 knots. What’s more, 80 per cent of all build materials are recyclable, including both the hull and superstructure which are built from 100% green aluminium. The boat firmly ticks the sustainability box.

Alongside racy aesthetics, both Vripack’s naval architectural expertise and advanced technology were used to optimise design and production. Extensive virtual reality tooling came into play in the development stage to make the build process more straightforward. The hull was optimized using Computational Fluid Dynamics resulting in a 30% reduction in seasickness and a 50% reduction in dynamic trim (greater comfort and visibility when underway). At just over 15 metres, it is the only boat of its size to include a stern garage large enough to carry a stand-up Jet Ski or tender.

The Waterdream California 52’ is more than a boat. It is van Oranje’s heartfelt vision artfully realized as part of Waterdream’s growing series. Not to mention a nod to innovative design, Dutch craftsmanship and sustainable yachting, neatly tied up with a party bow.