Van der Valk receives new order for a fully custom 34m explorer

Dutch builder Van der Valk has received a new order to build a fully custom 34-metre motoryacht. To optimise efficiency and meet a wide range of very specific requests from the clients, the yard has brought together a team of four leading players from the Dutch superyacht sector for the design, naval architecture and technical construction aspects. The highly sophisticated tri-deck explorer-type superyacht is slated for delivery in December 2021.

This all-new design and build has been ordered by repeat clients, who have been delighted with the quality of their previous motoryacht built by Van der Valk. They have returned to Van der Valk to leverage on the expertise acquired during this project and blend that with their enormous personal experience gained from building various motoryachts and owning many more.

The 34-metre all-aluminium project synergises and encapsulates the family’s thoughts on how an ideal motoryacht should look and feel. It also takes into account every stage of life, being completely wheelchair-friendly with an interior lift for easy between-deck access, while emphasising the family’s love of living close to the water. The hull features a wave piercing bow and a performance-enhancing Hull Vane appendage, while the superstructure includes giant windows for panoramic views wing stations for easy docking.

Superior accommodations for up to ten guests include a VIP stateroom on the bridge deck, a balcony and an aft terrace. The owner’s stateroom with office is located on the lower deck, which is also home to two double suites in the bow and a single suite. The main deck features a bright dining area bathed in natural light and a large open saloon. Ceilings will be noticeably high here and in all luxury areas – a specific requirement from the owners – while the floors are all completely level with no protrusions or steps.

Despite the care and attention paid to the interior, the focal point of both the design of the yacht and the social life of those onboard is the aft entertainment area. This large open space will have a genuine wow factor with its clean deck, dedicated zones for relaxation and dining, a bar and a swim platform.

To ensure these and other bespoke requirements are completely fulfilled, Van der Valk and the owner’s representative team from YachtCreators are working in close partnership with Guido de Groot Yacht Design, Ginton Naval Architects, Diana Yacht Design and Hull Vane BV. “One of the reasons behind the success of Van der Valk has been our ability to facilitate the hugely productive cooperation between designers, owners, suppliers and the yard,” says Head of Sales and Marketing Yoeri Bijker.

“Our slogan ‘together we are excellent’ is a reflection of the reality on the ground as we follow the Dutch tradition of flat hierarchies and uniting for the common good. By bringing in the best people for the job at hand we are assured of flexibility, specialisation and superior solutions for clients.”

Designer Guido de Groot describes the owner’s brief as both challenging and adventurous. “We had to start our design by taking into account the very specific interior requirements with respect to height and accessibility. Only once these parameters had been established on the GA could we embark on the exterior design, and the owners also had detailed aesthetic wishes here, too, including a high robust bow combined with soft curved lines. There really was no comparable reference point for an elegant explorer like this, which made this a very enjoyable project.”

Crucially, De Groot and his design team have also had to take into account the need for very clean looking exterior decks as well as the large aft deck, which in turn necessitated moving much of the superstructure volume forward, including the wheelhouse. “To ensure that the profile remained sleek and slim despite her height required adding a number of attractive design features,” he explains. “These include the transition of curved lines aft of the wheelhouse and the way the black line extends from the bow to the high dining room windows before dividing at the bulwark to head aft. We also created a darker ceiling where the TV domes and mast are located, and all these elements together make for a stylish overall look.”

A design like this where form primarily follows function requires a seamless collaboration between everyone involved, as Hans-Maarten Bais, creative director at DIANA Yacht Design, confirms. “Charged with the naval architecture brief, we have been working very closely with Guido and his team on major influencing factors such as the height. Together we’ve had considerable success in creating a construction that is sufficiently strong while reducing the distance between the ceiling and deck. As the experts at Ginton have taken care of the hull lines, the DIANA team has leveraged on our 50 years of experience to provide the engineering and construction drawings. We have also supported the plate cutters and hull builders at Van der Valk, who already have a wealth of technical knowledge.

“Partnerships such as these save time and costs because we can tackle new challenges as and when they arise, such as the addition of a large tender on the foredeck with a heavy crane. Other puzzles already solved include ensuring that water cannot seep into the interior through the flush, sill-free connections on the decks, and reducing the weight of the beams and girders to meet the desire for a sufficiently light draught to access the Bahamas.”

The hull developed by Ginton Naval Architects will also benefit from the desire of the owners to make no compromises in terms of hydrodynamic performance at both cruising and top speed. “It is unusual for an explorer-type vessel to have a Fast Displacement hull,” says Jaron Ginton. “As the LWL is so important at these speeds, we ‘cut the hull horizontally’ at a level around the waterline and scaled it in the length, creating a wave-piercing – not bulbous – bow and a longer submerged hull. Extensive research also concluded that we could save over 12.5% on fuel consumption at 11 knots by installing a Hull Vane appendage as well as reduce wake and pitch in head seas.”

For roll stabilisation, the yacht will benefit from two SeaKeeper gyro stabilisers and a Humphree electric fin stabilising system. This advanced solution will combine the superior effects of a gyro system at zero speed with that of a fin system in very rough seas and when broaching. Another special feature is the position of the rudders, as Ginton explains. “To allow more space for the Hull Vane, we placed the rudders outside the circles of the propellers. Such a configuration requires a special design as the rudders no longer benefit from the propeller slipstream and encounter a different water velocity on each side. Having already pioneered this set-up with Van der Valk on the 27-metre Anemeli several years ago we knew that it would work on this yacht with accurate positioning.”

The fourth co-creator invited by the yard to join the development team from the get-go was Hull Vane, the sole licensed producer of the submerged Hull Vane wing on the transom.

“Being involved at an early stage of this complex project enabled us to make many predictive calculations,” says sales director Bruno Bouckaert. “We worked carefully with the Ginton team on a truly integrated solution that has optimised the propulsion layout and design of the aft ship as well as defining the best possible hull shape.”

This new build will be the second Van der Valk yacht to feature a Hull Vane after the highly successful installation on the 32-metre Jangada last year. The appendage reduces resistance, improves performance and crucially for the owners of this latest project, offers major benefits in terms of lower engine noise and fuel consumption.

“Balancing the pitching motion makes for a more comfortable ride and the owners were also keen to find ways to minimise wave breaking behind the stern,” continues Bouckaert. “The Hull Vane reduces the gradient and flattens transom waves, making the fantastic aft deck on this yacht an even nicer place to sit. This will be an exceptionally quiet and highly efficient boat with the best possible seakeeping performance. It takes an innovative yard like Van der Valk and hugely experienced clients to create a custom superyacht of this quality.”