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How Superyachts Travel Down Narrow Canals of the Netherlands

Marina Nazario | December 16, 2021

New Build Dutch Superyachts Squeeze Through Narrow Canals To Sea Trial.

If you’ve been to or live in Fort Lauderdale, you may be familiar with the 30 mile long New River that cuts through the downtown area. The Riverwalk that stretches from Sailboat Bend to the Stranahan House is a great spot for watching boats of all sizes travel up and down the waterway.

If you sit and watch the boats on the New River for long enough, you’ll see a little bit of chaos (for lack of a better word). There will be a 120-foot yacht being tugged through the waterway while navigating strong currents, rowdy pontoon party boats, rogue paddle boarders, tourist-filled water taxis, and – if you’re lucky – a tiki bar running on a 5mph Yamaha motor. Yeah, it’s wild.

But not as wild as navigating a 310-foot Feadship for four days down the narrow canals of The Netherlands. That’s a whole other story.

Dutch shipyards have a reputation in the yachting industry for building some of the biggest and most elegant yachts in the world. Heesen, Feadship, Amels, Hakvoort, and Van der Valk are among some of these prestigious shipyards. They represent excellence, luxury, and craftsmanship that stands out among the competition. But if you actually look at a map of where these shipyards are located in The Netherlands, you’ll see that some of the yards are inland and require a painstaking journey down narrow canals and out to sea.

Take Feadship, for example — its Royal Van Lent Shipyard is located on Kaag Island, a small village in South Holland. Yachts that are constructed at this shipyard make the multi-day cruise to the North Sea for sea trials and yacht delivery. The journey is no walk in the park. Earlier this year, CNN wrote a report about the 94-meter Project 817 being guided through narrow canals and bridges on its way to a sea trial. It was a sight to behold and, luckily, captured by photographer Tom van Oossanen (who also revealed photos of Jeff Bezos’s new yacht).

Project 817 was so big that some parts of the canal were only a few feet wider than the yacht, which spans 44.7 feet from port to starboard. Imagine, sitting at home in a small Dutch village and watching a building-sized boat float past at a snail’s pace. That would provide some entertainment for the day.

But these old Dutch shipyards know their limits. They’ve been building massive yachts for over 80 years. Each boat is designed to fit through the waterways, it’s just a matter of taking time (up to 4 days!) to transport it slowly and carefully against winds, currents, and bridge schedules. Confirmation pending, but we assume they don’t have to worry about pontoon party boats raging through the quiet Dutch canals. That might just be an American thing.

Back in Fort Lauderdale, Denison can help you find a Dutch superyacht for sale. One that probably made that same, painstaking journey down the narrow canals of The Netherlands to get to where it is today. Contact your Denison yacht broker to find your next Dutch-built yacht.

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