A ‘historic’ example of Dutch craftmanship
The so called ‘Feadships’, built and designed by Dutch shipyard De Vries, are widely recognized as the worldwide best in luxury yachts. This month De Vries will finish a very special project: Feadship Sultana. Not a new yacht, but a unique renovation project. Under the guidance of Dutch expert Kees van den Hoek millions of euro’s and many thousands of working hours have been invested in a 5 year project to convert a 43 year old rusty skeleton into a unique mix of a classic looks and state of the art, high tech facilities. Van den Hoek: “The Sultana is a premier example of Dutch inventiveness and craftmanship.”
As many exclusive yachts of this size, Feadship Sultana can look back at a colourful history. Built in 1969 together with her sistership, it has had some extravagant owners and has crossed many seas. But the salty water took its toll and finally Sultana was doomed to end its life in an old shipyard at the Cote d’Azur.
A very wealthy young Russian, son of one of Russian president Putins private bankers, saw the 26 meters long Sultana. He fell in love with it’s stylish lines and decided to buy the ship to have it restored. But a year and a half later and 2,5 million euro’s less rich, he was still looking at a skeleton with just the original ‘Gardner’ engines left. The interior was completely removed and had been disposed of. The impatient Russian decided to end the restauration and bought a brand new ship a short time later.
For the second time the Sultana was set to end its life in rust until in 2007 the French based Dutch yacht-expert Kees van den Hoek was informed about it’s existence at a shipyard in Bealieu sur mer. Van den Hoek: “I talked about it with my business partner and the same day we went to the shipyard were the yacht was stored. We immediately saw it’s potential. We tracked down the Russian owner, made a a good offer and the Sultana was ours.”
It took Kees and his crew a few months to make the Sultana ready for travel. Covered in a thick layer of red primer, it set course to the Netherlands.
James Bond gadgets
At the De Vries shipyard, the Sultana finally returned at the place where it was built 43 years ago. And now, many tenthousands of craftmanships hours later, it is back in it’s old condition. However: ‘old condition’? Van den Hoek: “It still has it’s beautiful classic looks, but in fact the ship is completely new and adjusted to the requirements of today and even the future. It has gadgets installed that you would expect in a James Bond movie: tv screens hidden behind stylish mirrors, four luxury double cabins, wireless internet where you can also look into the depth of the ocean via underwatercamera’s in bow and stern, or follow it’s navigation details. The yacht has partly glass floors that give a look at the impressive engine compartment, it has an invisible retractable boarding ladder and so on. And with the modifications at the hull and the engines, the ship is not only much more stabile, but also 33% more fuel-economic.”
This July the Sultana is set for it’s maiden voyage, that will bring the ship to the Côte d’Azur. There the yacht and its crew can be rented for business or holiday.
Already the Sultana has it’s first bookings, which is quite remarkable. Van den Hoek: “The combination of state of the art facilities and classic looks, makes this a really special yacht. Not often you get a chance to enjoy history and high tech in one!”