Luxurious Magazine’s Online Editor, Simon Wittenberg, travels to the Netherlands to the home of Heesen Yachts in Oss for a privileged view of the keel laying ceremony for Project Cosmos. It marked the official start of the construction of the shipyard’s largest superyacht to date at 80 metres.
The past couple of years have been good to Heesen Yachts. During this time, the shipyard, which employs 450 people and around 250 subcontractors, has sold nine yachts in the 47 to 80 metre range, and delivered seven in the 47 to 55-metre line-up. With another 12 on order, this means that the privately owned business is certainly flourishing in the face of political and economic uncertainty. Today, Heesen is no longer building any vessels below 50 metres in length, which is a far cry from 1978 when the largest yacht to emerge from Shed 1 was Amigo at just 20 metres. The US and Russia remain important markets for Heesen, but East Asia is still relatively insignificant in terms of customer demand, and its potential is yet to be truly realised.
Prominent boat shows, such as Monaco and Fort Lauderdale, are considered to be important for the business to attend as a shop window in order to display their latest designs and technology, but it’s not where the deals are ultimately signed. Putting pen to paper is primarily done through brokers around the world that have a strong network of contacts, and Heesen’s US operation has been responsible for the sale of six of the last ten yachts.
Heesen is pushing the boundaries once more with Project Cosmos. Back in 2016, I had the pleasure of sailing on the 70 metre Galactica Super Nova, which was, at that time, the largest yacht to have emerged from the Dutch shipyard. Three years later however, and the still-to-be-named “Project Cosmos”, which was first unveiled to the world in March 2018, will soon steal the former flagship’s limelight, as she will be the biggest ever yacht to have been built in Oss at a length of 80.07 metres. When the vessel hits the water in 2022, it will also be the world’s largest and fastest aluminium yacht with a conventional propulsion system, powered by four MTU 20 V 4000 diesel engines (producing the equivalent output of 19,000 hp), which will drive five-blade high skew propellers, each measuring 2.8 metres in diameter.
Heesen Yachts’ facility, which is made up of 14 individual sheds, spread across an area of 22,000 square metres, is capable of building vessels up to 83 metres in length. This is because the shipyard lies on the edge of a canal in Oss, which feeds into the River Meuse, a passage of water that provides the company with vital access to the North Sea. However, with this journey to the rest of the world comes constraints in the form of dykes and bridges. This, in turn, restricts the size of vessel that Heesen can build, whilst also introducing further design considerations. This is because, to keep the shape of the yacht proportional, the length ultimately determines the height, hence any vessels surpassing the 83 metre mark, that other shipyards have the capability of building, would not be able of reaching the coast.