Feadship is a cooperative venture between two shipyards Royal Van Lent Shipyard and Koninklijke De Vries Scheepsbouw.
Feadship can trace its roots back to 1849, when the Akerboom family bought a small shipyard off the coast of the Netherlands to build and repair boats. They joined with the Van Lent family in 1927, and then in 1949 they founded Feadship together with the De Vries, another family-based shipyard, to form Feadship. Feadship has four shipyards: Two owned by Koninklijke De Vries in Aalsmeer and Makkum. Two owned by Royal Van Lent in Amsterdam and one on the island of Kaag. Both share the design and engineering center, De Voogt Naval Architects.
After World War II the market for the previously successful industry was left in ruins. Even after four years of peace, there remained little money or inclination in Europe for ordering pleasure yachts. Encouraged by the Dutch government’s export incentives, Feadship (First Export Association of Dutch Shipbuilders), was founded by naval architect Henri de Voogt in 1949 as an export association with the intention of selling to American clients. Several shipyards were members in the beginning:
- Scheepswerf De Vlijt/Gebr. de Vries, Aalsmeer
- Jacht & Scheepswerf Van Lent, Kaag
- Naval architects H.W. de Voogt joined in 1950
- Scheepswerf E.G. van de Stadt, Zaandam, left Feadship in 1953
- Scheepswerven Nicolaas Witsen & Vis, Alkmaar, left Feadship in 1957
- Scheepswerf Het Fort/G. de Vries Lentsch, Nieuwendam, left Feadship in 1958
- Jachtwerf W.P.M. Akerboom, Lisse, left Feadship in 1968
Feadship was officially launched at the 1951 New York Boat Show of 1951, which showcased the use of steel, a yacht technology unused then in North America for yachts. With orders now flowing for both steel and aluminum, by the mid-1950s Feadship stopped building yachts in wood. This started a series of mergers, leading to just three yards within the agreement by 1966.
The 1960s as a whole witnessed steady growth – both in the organization’s reputation and the size of the vessels it built. 85–90 ft, 100–110 ft, 120 ft with fully raised wheelhouses, trans-Atlantic capabilities; various milestones in construction history were reached and surpassed. By the early 1970s however, Feadship’s popularity had greatly increased, with several yachts being launched each year (see list below).
As the American economy boomed, Henry Ford and Malcolm Forbes were but two of a host of famous folk to take advantage of Feadship’s custom-built yachts.
In 1977, a separate entity was established in the US in place of the customary representative agent. Don Kenniston was Feadship America’s first general manager, a position he held until 2008. The Americas office is now managed by Ted McCumber.
Van Lent Shipyard was awarded a royal charter in 2001 and sister company De Vries Scheepsbouw received hers in 2006, each upon their hundredth anniversary, and the companies changed their names to reflect this. LVMH acquired Royal Van Lent in 2008.
Information courtesy of Wikipedia.