With a switch from Russian to American
Heinen & Hopman supplies air conditioning, heating, cooling and ventilation products to a wide range of superyacht builders around the world. One of them is Hakvoort Shipyards in Monnickendam, the Netherlands, a venerable maritime institution with a history spanning nearly a century of yachtbuilding. Having started out with traditional Dutch fishing boats, the yard evolved into a renowned builder of luxury yachts, becoming increasingly specialised along the way. We talked to managing director Klaas Hakvoort about the close partnership with Heinen & Hopman and one of the yard’s latest projects Just J's, the largest Hakvoort built to date.
“Hakvoort was founded by my great grandfather. He and his three brothers originally ran a boatyard on Urk, the former island that is my family’s ancestral home. At some point the income became insufficient for the four brothers’ needs, so two of them, including my great grandfather, bought another yard here in Monnickendam in 1919. Eventually, my great grandfather took over the yard by himself.”
Klaas explains developments within the yard with enthusiasm. “All the local fishermen in Monnickendam had traditional Dutch wooden botter boats which were built and maintained in our yard. After the war, we switched to making large steel fishing vessels for export. Then, in the late 1970s, the fishing industry in the Netherlands went into decline, and Hakvoort gradually stopped making fishing vessels. Within a few years the market had disappeared altogether. Always keen to explore new opportunities, the yard switched to building sports fisherman yachts. We received an increasing number of orders for larger and larger boats and, from the late 1980s, officially became a builder of luxury superyachts.”
“We have been working with Heinen & Hopman for 30 years, and have a contract with them for the HVAC systems on all of our boats. They do an amazing job, with teams of three or four working quietly alongside our own staff, and with minimal interference. They also test all systems at our site as well as in the final location before delivery. This is one of the main qualities of Heinen & Hopman: everything is arranged flawlessly from A to Z. And this is exactly what our customers expect. The Just J's project, for example, lasted three and a half years from the signature of the contract until delivery in February this year. The current American owners have been in the Caribbean since then, and are perfectly satisfied with their yacht.”
“Just J's is a 61-metre yacht we originally built for a Russian buyer. During the build, the project was sold to the current, American, owners. The interruption put us in a difficult situation, as we could not pay our suppliers. Heinen & Hopman, who had already largely completed the HVAC systems by then, did not hesitate to put the project on hold with us and paused the obligations related to the contract. We appreciated this flexibility greatly – many suppliers would not be so accommodating and would rigorously stick to the contract. But this is the value of a true partnership: our long cooperation with Heinen & Hopman had created trust and understanding for each other’s circumstances.”
Klaas Hakvoort | Managing director of Hakvoort Shipyard