18 January 2019
In the many times I have traveled southern France, I have often looked at classically lined sailing ships. They are so elegantly anchored in open water or in a beautiful harbour. Inspired by the beautiful yachts I saw, I started to search on Google, only to discover purchase and rental pricing that seriously scared me. They are fantastic ships, offered at fantastic high prices! In December 2016, I discovered hull-builder Bloemsma in the north of The Netherlands. They offered a hull they had already built three times for professional shipyards. It was at that moment I got excited about building a yacht of my own. The only thing was, I had never built a ship before.
And then I saw videos of a TC90 on Claasen Shipyard’s website. I thought to myself, "pfff, to build this would be incredible!" I can’t show the videos here, unfortunately, but you can have a look on Claasen Shipyard’s website here:
Since it was in December 2016, it was at that point that I was evaluating the end of the year and wondering what the new challenge for 2017 would be. I wanted to focus on something myself. I wanted less organising and more technical work, from designing to also working with my hands!
I never thought of building a ship, but it certainly would be a challenge! I had set a deadline for myself to say yes or no to this opportunity by the end January. Early January, I called the seller and asked if there was an opportunity to visit one of the three completed yachts. At the same time I started figuring out what the costs would be of building the ship from hull to perfection.
In Mallorca, I saw a beautiful ship and I found the ship’s young designer. With him, I discussed the idea of building a ship by a non-experienced builder, such as myself. He quickly became as enthusiastic as I was and wanted to be the project leader. While wandering through the ship, I was overwhelmed by its complexity but after about an hour, I started thinking to myself: why does it have to be this complicated? In principle, it is essentially the same as a Beneteau. Perhaps it is just a little more luxurious, but not exaggerating.
My cost estimate was still significantly lower than market prices of such a ship and I became increasingly enthusiastic.
In the mean time, many shipyards and freelance experts offered their advice. Soon, word went around among Dutch shipbuilders that we would complete such a large yacht entirely on our own. We received a lot of advice, but found that those opinions were often contradictory. We were also often warned for what we were getting ourselves into. But once we showed the degree of passion we held for this project, everyone agreed we were absolutely right to go for it.
Of course, it’s a nice yacht, and of course the entire system has to be well and correctly designed, but in the professional shipyards too, mistakes are made. Our budget estimate remained so low, that we think we can afford it to make many mistakes.
In the end of January 2017, the decision was made. We are going to do it! We planned to spend 3 to 4 years on finishing the ship. We found a place in Utrecht to set up our temporary hall, located at a nice place by the water so we can also have a beer in the evenings.
Before Bloemsma started building the hull, we made a number of changes to the design. The machine room had to be bigger and the interior had to be more spacious, all the small rooms to provide 12 to 16 sleeping places was not necessary. We discussed these changes with interior designer André Hoek, after which André drew the new interior. In March 2017, Bloemsma finished the shape of the hull.
The only thing left for Bloemsma was to coat the hull. That turned out to be more work than just sand blasting and coating spraying. How beautiful the aluminum casco looked, first it had to be plastered. And a lot! Also, the hull had to be insulated for heat and sound. After a few months, no aluminum was visible anymore.
In mid-July 2017 the hull has been transferred via a pontoon from Makkum to Utrecht and we started building the ship.
Have a look at the transportation of the hull.
About the author
My name is Alber. Next to my passion for tackling challenges that seem impossible at first, I am is a 56-year old sailing enthousiast from the North of The Netherlands, who gets excited by innovative gadgets.